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Posts from the ‘Danish Factory Potteries’ Category

Marianne Starck “Negro” Series, Michael Andersen & Sons (Part 2), Variations

The “Negro Series” sometimes referred to as the “Tribal” series was designed by Marianne Starck in the 1950s for Michael Andersen & Sons on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. You can read more about it in Part 1 HERE. 

In addition to the strikingly bold, black and white designs there were some variations with this series. Because there doesn’t seem to be much documentation about this series of designs –  It is hard to know sometimes if pieces were designed as part of the Negro series, or simply colour variations added later due to its popularity.

Also you will find that many of the shapes and forms used on the Negro series, were used for other designs coming out of the pottery during these mid-century years.

Henrik in Denmark, who is a passionate collector of the work of Marianne Starck has provided a number of photographs of part of his large and growing collection of Starck’s work for Michael Andersen – and in particular the large number of series which she designed during the 1950s including the “Negro” series.

Henrik has collected many pieces and variations of her designs which are very hard to find, and his collection goes to show us how prolific and original Marianne Starck was as a designer, in addition to being a skilled ceramicist.

Firstly, here are some of the less commonly seen black and white “Negro” series designs: (click on small images to bring up scrolling gallery).

Now some of the variations:

From what I can see the “Negro” variation most often seen, is the one with black and white + red ochre:  The use of red ochre as an accent colour on these designs really makes them “pop”.


There is also another group which may or may not have beed designed as part of the original “Negro” series. It often has the same forms and designs often found on the Negro series, but has a black body with turquoise/green glaze. My favourite is the bold design bottom left.

Then there is another design, which also seems to be a variation of the Negro series motifs, featuring a black clay body, with red ochre+chrome green with no white. Read more


Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen “Gunhild” Plate Set, Nils Thorsson

I had part of a series of the Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen fajance plates pictured below some time ago, and eventually sold them on.

Years later as often happens, I have stumbled across their designer and name. I loved the orange brown autumn tones, and the beautifully hand painted motifs of fruits and flowers.

While looking through an auction catalogue at recently I stumbled upon a whole set of these fruit plates as it was originally configured, and a quick bit of research led to finding out more of their story.

The series name was apparently “Gunhild” and was designed by Nils Thorsson for Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen 1933, and in production until 1968 from what I have read.

They seem to hard to get hold of, but not that expensive if you do find them.

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia


Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia

Aluminia Gunhild Plate set Nils Thorsson, Aluminia – Photo DK

Aluminia Gunhild Plate, Nils Thorsson, Aluminia



Nils Thorsson Løvspring, Royal Copenhagen 1943

I bought the vase below at auction some time ago, not knowing anything about the design – but it just had that quality of something special.

With help of a reader in the U.K. who had the design in another shape, it was finally identified when she wrote to Royal Copenhagen who identified the design.

“Your vase is actually very rare. So rare that it is not mentioned in the book about “Aluminia” by E. Winge Flensborg, which has a list of the known items of a small series of vases from 1943/44, named “Løvspring”, by Nils Thorsson. Aluminia was the earthenware factory run together with The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory. Due to the situation under the war there was a shortage of raw materials and Thorsson sought to come up with alternative materials. This series is made from red clay. The items came with glazes in various colours: Yellow, brown, green and blue over a scrafitto-decoration.  It was a very short lived production.”

The piece is made from terracotta clay and the surface colour comes from what appears to be a clay slip brushed over the clay and then covered with a clear low fired (borax probably) glaze which is pitted with tiny air bubbles typical of low fired glazes using easily available inexpensive materials. The sgraffito design is really makes the piece. Like many early pieces of Nils Thorsson it is not signed, but stamped for 1944. The shape is number 2338 – (16x 12cm).

Since being identified, I have seen the design on odd occasions, but it remains an elusive design.

Royal Copenhagen, Nils Thorsson - Løvspring

Royal Copenhagen, Nils Thorsson – Løvspring

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