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Latvian Australian Folk Pottery

I have come across these folk style items of pottery here in Adelaide for decades.

Something about them captivates my interest. They appear to be made mid 20th Century, and have similar forms and patterns. Their maker continues to be a mystery however. 

They all appear to be by the same potter and I am pretty confident that the potter was Latvian or Baltic going by the designs and motifs, and from seeing other almost identical Latvian pieces on sites such as “The Baltic Shop”.

All pieces bear the same cypher/signature which you can see in the last image. They are all stoneware fired pieces, with glazes often used by Australian potters in the 1950s-1970s. 

General consensus now by collectors and from feedback over the years, is that they were made here in Australia/Adelaide by a Latvian potter, post WW2 – partly because it seems odd to find a whole group of pottery by the same potter imported all the way from Latvia, and partly due to the frequency with which the pieces appear in auctions and estate sales. 

There were so many Latvian and East European Artists & Potters who came to live in Australia after WW2, some of who became well known and documented, but many others yet still to be “discovered”. The output of this potter seems to have been quite large, so hopefully one day his or her identity comes to light. 

Australian Latvian Folk Pottery - Photo Ray Garrod

Australian Latvian Folk Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

Australian Latvian Folk Pottery - Photo Ray Garrod

Australian Latvian Folk Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

Mystery Cypher of Australian Latvian Folk Pottery - Photo Ray Garrod

Australian Latvian Folk Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

If the potter was Latvian they were most probably from the Latgale region of eastern Latvia where there is a large studio pottery industry. There are many different styles of pottery within the region – including lustre ware, blackened pottery, unglazed pottery, and pieces like the ones I have here.  The YouTube below of the potters from the Latgale region is well worth a watch (apart from the voice over!). 

Here are some of the comments I have had regarding this pottery when this article was posted on the original incarnation of this blog:

“It is likely to be UL as W is not used in Latvian words. Though it could be a W name borrowed from another ethnicity/language, it’s pretty unlikely. There are not that many Latvian names which start with U either! Uldis and Ugis are two male names and Una is a female name”

“There are one big family of Latgale potters in Latvia Ushpelis (original Ušpelis) possible transcription Uspelis or Uspels”

“My parents had a Latvian gift shop in Melbourne on 5th floor of 306 Lt. Collins Street between 1954 – ca. 1984. We sold Latvian pottery. Most by a Mrs (Natalie?) Neiburgs The first photo on this page is like a small vase I have”

 

 

 

 

Max Thorsbro Pedersen – Dybbøl Pottery Denmark

I found the interesting little piece of pottery in the first 3 images some time ago, and only just recently stumbled on its maker. Originally I read it as “Dybdahl” but of course it is not even in their style. It is a piece by Max Thorsbro Pedersen from Denmark c1950s from his Dybbøl Pottery in South Jutland Denmark. 

I found a little about Max from the Danish website for Broager.dk – a community website for Broager.dk, designed for the use of the citizens of the city and region around Broager. The website has some history of the Ceramics and Art of the area, including how Max Throsbro Pedersen fits in to the story. 

After the closure of the Broager Railway in 1932, the station building in Broager has been used for various purposes, most recently as a station inn. In 1937, manufacturer C H Clausen opened a pottery workshop, Broager Keramik, in the station building with Ingemann Nielsen as potter. In 1945, the pottery passed to Max Thorsbro Pedersen, who employed three journeymen, three apprentices and three ladies, who mainly decorated the pottery.

Broager Keramik produced small and large vases, Aladdin lamps, milk jugs, maternity pots, dishes and dolls’ frames and ashtrays.There is still a lot of ceramics from Broager Keramik, especially in Broagerland, where Broager Church’s twin spiers are stamped on the back of the goods.

In 1959, Broager Keramik closed and Max Thorsbro Pedersen opened a small pottery workshop in Dybbøl

It is unclear how long the pottery run by Max Pedersen in Dybbol operated until….if anyone knows contact me and I can fill in the gaps. I would also be interested to see more of his work – there doesn’t seem to be much of it around online. 

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo Ray Garrod

I also found these interesting pieces on Etsy: 

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo via Etsy store “LikeADanish”

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo via Etsy store “LikeADanish”

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery – Photo via Etsy store “LikeADanish”

…AND this fantastic large piece I noticed on 1stDibs. 

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery

Max Thorsbro Pedersen- Dybbøl Pottery- Photo via 1st Dibs

Hutschenreuther Hartkeramik Dinnerware

This very seventies looking design is from German maker Hutschenreuther.

The pieces in this dinner set are a high fired stoneware.  The glaze is a glossy orange glaze on a brown clay. Where thinner the glaze allows the brown clay body to show through (e.g. the ridges and corners), but also on the outside of each piece often the orange glaze has brown undertones on smaller pieces. The glaze also has a lovely subtle orange peel type texture in parts.

It was part of the “Hartkeramik” series from Hutschenreuther head designer Renée Neue in the 1970s. Neue is well known for his use of bright bold colours, striking vases, and the bold dinnerware designs for the company during this period. 

The forms in this series bear some stylistic similarity to the well known Thomas Germany, “Scandic Shadow” series of tableware designs by Scandinavian ceramic designer Hertha Bengtson, and is typical of the design from this era. 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Teapot from Hutschenreuther, Germany:  Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series

 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Tea Cup/Saucer from Hutschenreuther, Germany.  Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series.

 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Lidded Casserole from Hutschenreuther, Germany.  Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series.

 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Soup Cup, Hutschenreuther, Germany.  Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series

 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Hutschenreuther, Germany. Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series.

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Milk Jug and Sugar Bowl, Hutschenreuther, Germany.  Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series.

The backstamp on this series features the Hutschenreuther Lion logo and the Hartkeramik stamp. 

Hutschenreuther, Germany Hartkeramik Dinnerware

Backstamp on Hutschenreuther, Germany – Hartkeramik Dinnerware Series.

Below, one of the bolder colour combinations on dinnerware from the same period by Renée Neue for Hutschenreuther which he is probably better known for, than for the use of a single colour on his ceramic designs. 

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