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Posts from the ‘Bjorn Wiinblad’ Category

Bjorn Wiinblad, Nymolle Calendar Plaques

This story is a charming personal interpretation, from a Danish perspective, about the Bjorn Wiinblad series of calendar plaques for Nymolle. It was orignally published on the original iteration of this site “Retro Pottery Net” in 2011. It is told by Karen from Denmark, who was of great assistance to me when I first started this blog/website way back in 2009, especially with translations, and the work of Bjorn Wiinblad which she admires and collects. 

Text Copyright: Karen Andersen, Denmark. Photographs Copyright Ray Garrod.

The month plaques are a series of twelve plaques that Bjørn Wiinblad designed sometime in the nineteen- fifties or sixties. The drawings tell us about the Danish weather and traditions in the twelve months of the year, but they are also a continuous story about a couple who fall in love and have a baby. Each plaque has a title written on the back, which will give you a hint on how the story progresses. These month plaques were sold from Danish stores for a period of about thirty years, so they are not that rare, but have continued  to be popular to this day. Each plaque has its own priceless charm and beauty which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

When I was a child, we had around six of the plaques hanging in our kitchen, since my mother thought that twelve plaques were too much on a single wall. I quickly discovered that they were just part of a story, so whenever I visited friends who had all the plaques, I scrutinized them with great interest, as I was trying to put the whole story together.

In my teenage years I began to wonder in which age the story takes place, but they dress so differently on the plaques that it is impossible. I guess it just takes place in Bjørn Wiinbad’s enchanted romantic world, with a different dress code and better weather than in everyday Denmark.

Today I have all the month plaques plus a few extra hanging in my own kitchen, so now I am able to share the whole story.

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

January – Contact

This is where the couple first meet. The young man is ice skating which is quite normal at this time of year. But the young lady is in some sort of ice sled that I have never seen in my time and age. It looks like a picture from around 1900 – but surely, a romantic scene for a first encounter. A quite morbid detail however, is all the fur with stuffed animal faces – two hats, a scarf and a muff.

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

February – Masquerade

Our couple have dressed up in February. Masquerades are not that common, so I guess this refers to “Fastelavn”. That is a Danish tradition where mainly the children dress up and “beat the cat off the barrel” – a medieval tradition that resembles the Mexican Piñata.


Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

March – Victory

Still partying indoors I guess, since there are certainly no roses outside at this time of the year. The cupids suggest that this is where our young man wins the lady’s heart – and maybe some more….so let me just say that a baby is born nine months later.

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

April – Conflict

This is the only plaque where it rains – should this have been a realistic story, there ought to have been rain on at least two or three other plaques. My guess is that in April she finds out she is pregnant and he gets cold feet. The rain in April is certainly realistic, but so are their clothes. Gone are the flowers in their hair and the long dresses, they look just like an everyday young couple waiting at a bus stop. They are both holding out their hands to feel if the rain stops, so I guess there is hope for the future.

Bjorn Wiinblad Calendar Plaque

May – Harmony

Back together again – and the weather is how we always dream it should be in May. So they have gotten used to the idea of being parents it seems. Notice how Wiinblad has tried to incorporate the little holes at the top of the plaques in the motives. It works on this plaque, but on the April plaque the hole is too low be at the top of the umbrella. This annoyed me quite a bit when I was a child, but now I find it rather charming. Read more

Rosenthal/Bjorn Wiinblad, The Magic Flute

Bjorn Wiinblad “The Magic Flute”, Rosenthal Studio Line.

Further back on this site I have an introduction to Bjorn Wiinblad’s designs for the Rosenthal “Studio Line”. This article features one of his more spectacular designs for Rosenthal – “The Magic Flute” or “Zauberflöte”.

Each piece of this design depicts a different scene from Mozart’s opera, and texts of libretto of the opera are written onto the bottom of many of the pieces in this series, including on the saucers of the cups.

Many of the forms in the series are instantly recognisable as Wiinblad in design, especially when looking at the exotic domed or minaret shape of many of the lids on teapots, bowls etc, and on closer inspection of the detail in the charming embossed illustrations.

The setting is one of the most technically sophisticated and expensive services ever produced by Rosenthal – and is still in production. The design comes in pure white as well as the gold, and gold/white. The first 5 images are of pieces I found at auction a few years ago, and the others from around the web.

You can see more of the amazing pieces of this series, and more of the story of the design on the Rosenthal website HERE where the extract below  is from:

It was necessary to create space through extremely wide plate rims for these scenes. On this stage of porcelain Wiinblad tells the story of the opera in a relief with detailed figures and ornamentation. Time and again one finds something new in these scenes. The rims had to be as wide as never before on plates. In order to prevent them flopping down during firing, a special firing technique had to be developed. The service “Zauberflöte” possesses something so special that it is not apparent at first glance: a decoration on the underside of the porcelain! Even in the white range, all pieces carry on the underside the text of the opera libretto of the scene depicted in the relevant porcelain relief. Written in Björn Wiinblad´s ornamental handwriting and decorated with gold. A further feature of this service: the relief surfaces are not glazed but smoothed and polished after the second firing in a highly elaborate procedure. This produces the delicate, matt effect of the relief forming a most attractive contrast to the glazed surfaces.

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad Coffee Cup

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad – Saucer Top View

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad – This image shows the amazing lustre achieved on the gold glaze.

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad – Backstamp

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad

Rosenthal Magic Flute, Bjorn Wiinblad – Teapot, Image via

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Bjorn Wiinblad Christmas Plates

There are three different series of Bjørn Wiinblad Christmas plates, all produced by Rosenthal. The series described here are the porcelain Christmas Gospel plates from 1971-82.

At the same time, a series of glass plates in bluish colors with similar motifs was released. From 1983 to 1994 a series of Christmas carol illustrations also ran. All three series each lasted twelve years – twelve seems to have been a sort of magic number for Wiinblad plates.

The Christmas Gospel plates are held in strong colors and gold, and are quite oriental in their look. The prices for them differ a lot on eBay and other net auctions. But they have maintained a reasonable price range over the years, unlike the classic Danish blue Christmas plates from this period, which have decreased tremendously.

The first plate from 1971 is much rarer than the following, so it normally costs about four times as much as the later plates. The plates from 1972-74 are also quite rare and mostly cost twice as much as the plates from the mid-seventies. And finally, the last three plates from the eighties are slightly more expensive than the previous. So, my collection is from 1974 to 1982 minus the -81 plate, which I still hope to find for reasonable money.

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal - Christmas 1971

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal – Christmas Gospel Plate 1971

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal - Christmas Gospel Plate 1972

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal – Christmas Gospel Plate 1972

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal - Christmas Gospel Plate 1973

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal – Christmas Gospel Plate 1973

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal - Christmas Gospel Plate 1974

Bjorn Wiinblad/Rosenthal – Christmas Gospel Plate 1974

All the plates are labeled “Weihnachtsteller” on the back, and below that they have a German text telling what they depict. The sequence of the scenes is a bit random, which is rather disappointing when you think of the perfectly disposed story on Wiinblad’s old Nymølle month plates.

It has puzzled me why Wiinblad has chosen these particular motives and sequences. First we have Mary with child and the Epiphany on four different plates – almost a separate series before the others. Then we have the Annunciation – which is how it all started as far as I know. Read more