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Posts from the ‘Bjorn Wiinblad’ Category

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

Bjorn Wiinblad – Part 3: Own Studio//Vaerksted

Bjorn Wiinblad Part 3: Own Studio work (Vaerksted).

Number 3 of a 3 part series summarising Wiinblad’s career as a ceramic designer.

I think some of the most impressive work by Wiinblad comes from his work in his own studio,  “Værksted”  which started in 1952 in Copenhagen. Generally they are “fajance” ware – eathernware pieces with a white base glaze on which a coloured design is hand painted. Wiinblad designed all of the pieces from his studio, and painted many of them himself – but had also help of up to 3 skilled painters to paint his designs onto the forms to keep up with the volume produced.

Bjorn Wiinlbad - Group of Studio Pieces

Bjorn Wiinlbad – Group of Studio Pieces

Wiinblad’s designs from his own “Vaerksted” often featured whimsical characters, sometimes in quite bizarre costumes and headgear – in the forms of lady-head vases, figurines, sculptures, candlesticks, and jars. Read more

Bjorn Wiinblad – Part 2: Rosenthal

Bjorn Wiinblad, Rosenthal.

Number 2 of a 3 part series summarising Wiinblad’s career as a ceramic designer.

Wiinblad began work with German Company Rosenthal around 1957 after being “discovered” by Philip Rosenthal who was looking for new designs for Rosenthal line. This collaboration with Rosenthal became one of the most important in his life and lasted over 50 years.

The work by Wiinblad at Rosenthal is often characterised by its colour saturated, almost psychedelic use of pattern and colour – often highlighted with the use of gold and silver.

I think some of the most spectacular series Wiinblad produced at Rosenthal were the 3 different series of Christmas plates, and out of these the “Gospel” plates, (1971-1982) are undoubtedly the most spectacular with their jewel like use of colour, highlighted with gold outlining.

Bjorn Wiinblad, Christmas Plate 1976

Bjorn Wiinblad, Christmas Plate 1976, Rosenthal

Bjorn Wiinblad, Christmas Plate 1977, Rosenthal

Bjorn Wiinblad, Christmas Plate 1977, Rosenthal

The following is a list of series Wiinblad designed for Rosenthal, from the German Wikipedia site for Wiinblad, which has the best entry I have found on Wikipedia for Wiinblad. The list is not complete, but It has some good timelines and milestones of Wiinblad’s career: Read more

Bjorn Wiinblad – Part 1: Nymolle

Bjorn Wiinblad at Nymolle.

Part 1 of a 3 part series of articles on 20th Century superstar designer, Bjorn Wiinblad (1918-2006)

Bjorn Wiinblad was a Danish painter, designer and ceramicist who worked in a wide variety of media including painting, set design, fabric design, and illustration. To most of us however he is known as one of the superstar ceramic designers of the 20th Century.

What attracts me to his work is Wiinblad’s skilful use of expressive line and colour, combined with the whimsical nature of his work which always makes you smile.  Wiinblad’s work is unlike any other. His style of expression is highly personal, and has a touch of the oriental and exotic about it.  It is hard to think of another illustrator or ceramic designer who comes close to Wiinblad in either quality, originality or output.

Early in his career Wiinblad worked mainly in graphics and illustration, but the turning point came when he got the opportunity to work more on his own ceramics in the studio of ceramicist Lars Syberg in Tastrup near Copenhagen. He held his first public exhibition in 1945 – the exhibition was quite a mixed bag of ceramics, portraits, and children’s books – including a complete illustrated edition of “Aladdin”.  This exhibition proved to be the jumping point for his career, as through it he became known to Jacob Bang who had just been promoted to the position of Art Director of Nymolle Pottery, and eventuated with Wiinblad starting work with Nymolle in 1946.


At Nymolle Wiinblad produced exquisite and highly detailed pen and ink drawings which were printed onto a wide range of pottery items – usually in just one colour – with Black, Red and Blue being the most commonly used.

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