Skip to content

Posts from the ‘European Makers’ Category

Eva Zeisel “Ceylon”

It is not well known that Eva Zeisel (1906- 2011) – more known now as an iconic America designer, in her youth was an important emerging designer in West Germany.

The very striking design in this post by Eva is called “Ceylon” and was design by her at Schramberger, and later developed further at Carstens. It appears to be now very rare.

Eva Zeisel was born Eva Stricker into a Jewish family in Budapest, where she studied painting at the Royal Academy of Art from 1923 -24 and sold some of her pottery designs at open air markets.

Around 1925 she was employed by Schramberger Majolikafabrik as in the Black Forest, as their chief designer. Here she produced over 200 designs, many of which weren’t well documented. Many of them though stayed in production long after she left Schramberger. Some of them have been reissued by MoMA in New York, the Brooklyn Museum and others.

In 1930, she moved to Berlin, where she worked  briefly for Carstens Lübeck, then for about 18 months at Carstens-Hirschau and also as an independent designer.

Eva designed several coffee and tea sets including this Ceylon for Carstens-Hirschau.

The tea service “Ceylon” was released in 1933, and produced until about 1935 with at least 4 documented patterns. The design for “Ceylon” was obviously designed earlier by Eva though, as there are a number of pieces you can find with the Schramberger Ceylon stamp like the one in this post.

I love the sugar bowl in the first image below – it looks like something of a cross between Bauhaus, Cubism and Futurism.

The influential Bauhaus and the emerging Modernist movement must have been quite an influence on Eva at the time. You will notice some subtle differences between the larger plate design (above) and the smaller plate design (below).  I would love to see what the cups and tea/coffee pots from this service looked like – but havent been able to locate any images.

Carstens-Hirschau closed production in 1956, while the Schramberg facilities closed in the late 1980s.

Some of information above has been sourced from the informative Spritzdekor website here: 

Eva Zeisel "Ceylon", Schramberger

Eva Zeisel “Ceylon”, Schramberger

Eva Zeisel "Ceylon", Schramberger

Eva Zeisel “Ceylon”, Schramberger

Read more


Auction Watch 2018.2 – Dorothy Hafner’s “Flash”

The amazing dinner setting in this post just popped up in my email and took my breath away. It is part of a large “Design from the 20th Century” auction at starting on May 6th.

It is of course the now iconic Rosenthal design “Flash”.

“Flash” was designed by Dorothy Hafner for Rosenthal in 1982 (released 1984) and quickly became an 80’s iconic design…and seems to be currently attracting a whole new audience.

Dorothy Hafner is an American painter and sculptor who started her career in ceramics in 1973 after training as a painter and sculptor.  She designed a number of dinnerware designs for Rosenthal including “Tango”, “New Wave”, “Suomi Day and Night”  as well as the stunning “Chevron” design for Tiffany.

The influences cited on Dorothy’s website are:

“The poetry of the sea, the marvel of outer space and scientific imagery, and the love of music and dance are the inspirational springboards from which from Hafner has worked for over 30 years”

Like all dinnerware services, the visual power and presence of a service when seen together like this is so much more impressive, and gives us an insight into the design process and creativity of its creator.

The estimated price for this dinner set is EUR 1300. It will be interesting to watch what it sells for.

Rosenthal "Flash" Dorothy Hafner

Rosenthal “Flash” Dorothy Hafner. Photo

Rosenthal "Flash" Dorothy Hafner

Rosenthal “Flash” Dorothy Hafner. Photo

Read more

Tilgman’s Sweden

Tilgman’s Sweden

Tilgman’s ceramics was a pottery just outside the city of Gothenburg Sweden, operating from c1948-1975.  In its heyday it employed about 80 staff.

It was started by Paul Harald Tilgmann (1904-1974) and in its early years was known for animal figurines, but today it is the style developed by artistic director at Tilgmans, Marian Zawadzki (1912-1978), which has come to define the “look” of Tilgman’s output. Most of this work is from the 1950s, and appears soon after Marian started with Tilgman’s in 1953 as a Polish refugee.

Marian developed a technique using a sgrafitto – of carving fine lines into the background of a design through a light coloured glaze, down to a dark grey clay slip. This created a unique textured ground which has become a style associated with Tilgman’s. The decorative elements also appear to outlined with a carved line, and then hand painted with overglazes. Birds, Fish, Flowers, Butterflies and other animals were a common theme.

This style and technique proved to be so popular it was also used by other Swedish potteries for a time – including Alingsås Ceramics and Nila Ceramics (in the town of Alingsas)

Tilgmans Sweden Bowl

Tilgmans Sweden Bowl, via PotsAndLamps Etsy

Tilgmans Sweden Bowl

Tilgmans Sweden Bowl photo via BotanyBoutique Etsy

Tilgmans Sweden

Tilgmans Sweden – Photo via 20thCenturyStudio Etsy

Tilgmans Sweden Bow

Tilgmans Sweden Bowl Photo via FrostyVintage Etsy

Tilgmans Lamp Base

Tilgmans Lamp Base photo via Timeless Ceramics eBay

At the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, the pottery style produced at Tilgman’s was a darker and more rustic style, popular at the time in Scandinavia. The 1960s works by Marian Zawadzki from Tilgmans in this era often have bold, abstract designs – and although very different from his earlier, more delicate work, are equally as striking.  Read more

Braemore Carstens

Braemore Carstens

Some die hard fans of West German Pottery will know that the Carstens brand was produced under license in Australia during mid 1960s by Braemore Australia…but it is not a very well known fact…and it can lead to confusion when identifying West German pottery sometimes.

Judith from the Australian Pottery 1960s to date blog has a comprehensive post full of useful information about the history of Australian pottery Braemore and its relationship with Carstens, and also with the company Haeger.

Braemore Pottery was opened in 1939 and ran until around 1985 producing pottery under its own label plus the Braemore Carstens label from the 1960s.

One of the most coveted Carstens designs was – Ankara. Designed in 1964 by Von Scholtis it was produced in both Germany and Australia – and is now a very sought after Carsten’s design.

German versions of the Ankara design were made using a reddish-brown clay, but a white clay was used in Australian production.

Braemore Carstens pieces are marked with an embossed B-C and the model number as in the image below.

Braemore Carstens Ankara Design

Braemore Carstens Ankara Design

Braemore Carstens Ankara Design

Braemore Carstens Stamp

Braemore Carstens Ankara Stamp

Below are some other fantastic designs I have had from the Braemore-Carstens label: Read more

Royal Tettau Ria

Royal Tettau Ria Design

Royal Tettau is a German/Bavarian Porcelain manufacturer with a long history starting in 1794. I found quite a concise and comprehensive history about it HERE, with all the backstamps!

This very stylish design by Royal Tettau dates to between 1954 to 1968 and from what I can see, the forms of this series are called “Ria”, and the pattern is  “no. 1347, grauer Rand” (Grey Border), although these 2 terms are often transposed online and you can often find it simply called “Ria” and in Germany “Ria, 1347 Grauer Rand”

The lovely line pattern reminds me of Jessie Tait’s Midwinter “Sienna” design. The shapes are very elegant, stylish and speak of the 1950’s.

Royal Tettau Ria 1347

Royal Tettau Ria 1347

Royal Tettau Ria 1347

Royal Tettau Ria 1347 via “FromTheSeller” Etsy

Read more

Rorstrand Sweden “Amanda”, Christina Campbell

Rorstrand “Amanda” – Designer, Christina Campbell.

Christina Campbell , (b1940) Sweden is a Swedish graphic artist and printmaker. She studied both as a Graphic Designer, and Ceramicist (Konstindustololan avd. Ceramics Gothenburg 1961 – 1965 (now HDK), Grafikskolan Forum Malmö 1968 – 1972). 

She worked for Rörstrand Swedn 1966-1972, where she created the designs: Amanda, Agda, Pyret, Tobias, Klunk, Glunt, Augusta, Mamsell, Laban and Karolina.

I have only recently discovered “Amanda”. The design was in production at Rorstrand from 1968-77.

It is on the same forms as many other designs during this era, and I really like the way Christina uses blue and brown hues together in this design. I also really like the graphic elements on “Amanda” – and how the pattern suits the forms so well. Equally I love the graphic boldness of “Tobias” by Christina.

Since her time at Rorstrand, Christina has mainly devoted herself to graphics and etching. Her work is well represented in Museums and Galleries in Sweden and Denmark, and she has held over 50 exhibitions since the 1970s. You can visit her current website HERE


Rorstrand "Amanda" Creamer & Sugar Bowl

Rorstrand “Amanda” Creamer & Sugar Bowl

Rorstrand "Amanda" Bowl

Rorstrand “Amanda” Bowl

Rorstrand "Amanda" Casserole

Rorstrand “Amanda” Casserole

Rorstrand "Amanda" Casserole

Rorstrand “Amanda” Casserole, Top View

Rorstrand "Amanda" Backstamp

Rorstrand “Amanda” Backstamp

The designs by Christina,  apart from “Amanda” seem to be hard to get hold of, but I did spot 3 of them on Etsy Read more

Hertha Bengtson – Scandic Shadow, Thomas Germany

Hertha Bengtson, b 1917 – d1993 , was a Swedish ceramicist and designer. She worked for Hackefors porcelain factory , Rörstrand Porcelain Factory (23 years) , Höganäs AB Ceramics and Strömbergshyttan Glassworks .

During the years 1969-1981 she worked in Germany designing for Thomas (part of the Rosenthal Group). Her most famous designs are those from her years at Rorstrand, but there are also many outstanding but lesser known designs from her time at Thomas – including this fabulous lime green variation of the “Scandic Shadow” series, usually referred to as simply “Scandic” – of which there are a large number of colour and design variations.

Her other important design at Thomas was the restaurant ware design TH300, and for Rosenthal (the parent company of Thomas) she design “Caldo Freddo” – a beautifully patterned design.

Scandic Shadow Green is a bold colour combination of an intense lime green, with deep blue rims – and it all works so well together on the fantastic forms of domed lids, and bulbous bodies.

Thomas Germany, Scandic Shadow Green, Tea Cup

Thomas Germany, Scandic Shadow Green, Tea Cup

Thomas Germany, Scandic Shadow Green, Eared Soup Bowl & Plate

Thomas Germany, Scandic Shadow Green, Eared Soup Bowl & Plate

Read more

Upsala Ekeby Kosmos – Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby Kosmos – Berit Ternell

The Kosmos series was designed by Berit Ternell, for Upsala Ekeby-Gefle (Sweden) and produced between 1966 – 1977.

I love the shapes, and the glaze colour of a deep transparent blue with the brown clay showing through on the ridges.

Kosmos came in 2 colour décors – this blue/brown and a green/brown which is much less common.

The following background on Berit Ternell I’ve managed to glean from the Swedish Wikipedia and the Upsala Ekeby Museum site .

Berit Ternell began an apprenticeship at the age of 15 as an apprentice in ceramic design at Stenebyskolan, continuing education she had received at the Society for Industrial school in Gothenburg . She was an intern at Upsala-Ekeby Ltd. and also worked abroad during the 1950s including some time at TG Green in the UK. She was also employed at Bofajans before she worked for a long period be 1957 – 1971 at Gävle Porslinsfabrik where she was chief designer. After working at Gävle, Berit taught at the Industrial Art School (HDK) in Gothenburg for over 20 years. She was also affiliated with the Rorstrand and Reijmyre glassworks. During the 1960s. Berit received a number of scholarships and awards for her designs, including an international award for KOSMOS in Holland in 1967.

Upsala Ekeby - Kosmos Teapot, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby – Kosmos Teapot, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby - Kosmos Cup/Saucer, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby – Kosmos Cup/Saucer, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby - Kosmos Milk Jug, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby – Kosmos Milk Jug, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby - Kosmos Plate, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby – Kosmos Plate, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby - Kosmos Backstamp, Berit Ternell

Upsala Ekeby – Kosmos Backstamp, Berit Ternell

I have been unable to find an image of the green “Kosmos”, however the same forms of Kosmos were also used on a design called “Cuba” during the same production period. The glaze is a matt speckled  brown – very similar in tones and variations to Arabia Finland “Ruska”. Read more