Ulla Hjorth (b. 1945), the daughter of Eric Hjorth (who in turn was great grandson of founder Lauritz Hjorth 1834-1912) started at Hjorth Pottery on Bornholm, Denmark, in 1962 and worked there until its closure in 1992. Along with her sister Marie Hjorth, they were the last operators of the Hjorth Pottery from 1982 until its closure and then development into a museum in 1992-1995.
Ulla’s work is beautifully functional and elegant at the same time. I especially love her lidded forms. The decoration she chooses compliments, and is united with the form, and is not merely “surface decoration”. The decoration often consists of a combination of simple geometric forms with beautifully brushed line-work, on top of a simple stoneware glaze.
Her pottery as far as I am aware is all stoneware, with simple timeless glazes.
When doing a bit of research for this entry I noticed that the Bornholms Musuem has an updated entry on Hjorth Pottery entitled “The Women at Hjorth’s Factory”.
In the section on potter Ulla Hjorth it says:
Ulla was educated at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen in 1969 and is very much into the functional. The factory’s tradition was combined with new impressions from the School of Arts and Crafts. Ulla Hjorth works with stoneware and mainly manufactures utility items in simple, classic shapes and glazes. Her work has been characterized as utility ceramics with qualities beyond the purely practical. “I emphasize that a teapot must be functional and that it is united with the shape” she said.
See previous articles on L Hjroth pottery in the navigation table to the right of the page.
Ulla Hjorth Denmark – Photo Ray Garrod
Ulla Hjorth Denmark – Photo Ray Garrod
Ulla Hjorth Denmark – UH signature, along with LHjorth. Photo Ray Garrod
Ulla Hjorth – Photo via BonrholmsMusuem.dk
L Hjorth Denmark Urn
This beautiful handmade stoneware vase is from L. Hjorth, Bornholm, Denmark. I love the colour and texture of the glaze, in addition to the form and level of craftsmanship the piece displays.
The glaze indicates a studio piece from the 1960’s or 1970’s with its blue mottled appearance. It was a glaze which was very popular in this era with many manufacturers and potters.
The urn is stamped only with the L.Hjorth stamp, and does not have the reindeer mark – the lack of which would normally indicate that this was produced pre 1927 – but there are exceptions to this rule, and you can find pieces made in the 1960s and 1970s which have no reindeer stamp.
Looking through the old Hjorth catalogues online however, I think I have found the series this piece was copied from in the 1916 catalogue, the title of which translates as “copies of Bornholm excavations”. Copies from which era I’m not sure, as Bornholm has been occupied since pre-historic times by several races/tribes of peoples. The form of this piece has a very Roman Empire look to it though.
Apparently the original pieces made in 1916 as copies of the Bornholm excavations had little in the way of glaze or decoration either – and were a reddish brown, or natural clay colour.
Whatever the story – A fascinating link to history through a beautifully made piece of early 20th Century pottery. The beauty of Danish pottery never ceases to astound me.
There is so much more to Hjorth Pottery than the commonly seen Art Nouveau style terracotta coloured pottery.
Many artists, potters and designers have been associated with the factory, creating a huge diversity of styles.
One of the most influential ceramicists at Hjorth was Gertrud Kudielka was born in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). She was a visiting artist 1930-1931, 1934-1936 and 1938-1939. After WWII she fled her homeland and moved to Denmark where she became a citizen in 1957.
Some other important Hjorth artists are:
Holger Drachmann (painter/poet 1846-1908)
Kristian Zahrtmann (painter 1888-1968)
Gertrud Kudielka (1896-1984)
Adam Fischer (1888-1968)(sculptor)
Lisbeth Munch-Petersen (1909-1997)
Ursula Munch-Petersen (1937-)
Jane Reumert (1942-2016
Ulla Gahrn (1937 – )
Eva Sjögren (1925 – )
But there were many more including visiting artists and ceramicists.
Hjorth Bowl – Design by Gertrud Kudielka – typical of her decorative patterns with a folk look to the design.
Hjorth Bowl – Design by Gertrud Kudielka