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Posts tagged ‘Baca’

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen 1965-1988

Ellen Malmer ( b1942 – ) is another of the great designers and artists who worked for Royal Copenhagen at the height of its popularity in the mid to late twentieth century. She was part of the group working with Nils Thorsson producing the now iconic Baca and Tenera series for Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen.

She trained at the Design School in Copenhagen and started with Royal Copenhagen as a designer in 1965 working there until 1988, primarily with Fajance ware. After leaving Royal Copenhagen she has worked in her own right as an Artist in the fields of textiles and collage/painting.

Each Designer who worked with fajance ware at Royal Copenhagen became known for their unique style of design, decoration, use of colour, and motifs – and the work of Ellen Malmer is no exception.

We often see only the most popular Baca and Tenera designs these days by Ellen due to their higher production, but they represent only a small range of her designs. I have tried to capture a wide cross section of her designs in the images below.

I really like the graphic and textural qualities of her designs, along with her subtle use of tone and colour. If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Nucella design dinnerware in blue. The shapes for this series were designed by Inge-Lise Kofoed and Leif Lautrup-Larsen, and the Pattern design by Ellen Malmer in 1966.

Royal Copenhagen, Ellen Malmer Pattern 962

Royal Copenhagen, Ellen Malmer Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 962

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 617

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen Pattern 617

Ellen Malmer Vase Pattern 661, Royal Copenhagen

Ellen Malmer Vase Pattern 661, Royal Copenhagen. Image via Pinterest.

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen, Pattern 657

Ellen Malmer, Royal Copenhagen, Pattern 657, Image via Pinterest.

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 635 - Design Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 635 – Design Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 953 Ellen Malmer

Royal Copenhagen Pattern 953 Ellen Malmer

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Royal Copenhagen, Baca & Tenera Series

Royal Copenhagen. The Baca and Tenera Series

Both the  Tenera and Baca series from Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen were hugely popular in their time, and their popularity continues to this day on the resale market.

In a previous article about Nils Thorsson I listed the ranges he designed which includes the beautiful “Tenera” and “Baca” series in the 1960’s while Artistic Director of Royal Copenhagen-Aluminia. Tenera was the first of these 2 started c1958, followed by Baca c1964. Both series ran for many years.

Thorsson designed most of the shapes for this range, and the group of Artists and Designers under him each designed their own patterns and motifs. Ellen Malmer designed 14 of the forms and some were designed by the other artists.

This group of Artists and Designers consisted primarily of: Berte Jessen, Marianne Johnson, Ellen Malmer, Kari Christensen, Beth Breyen and Grete Helland-Hansen, Johannes Gerber, Anne Marie Trolle and Ivan Weiss

The Baca series consists of approximately 94 shapes or forms, with around 105 different designs or patterns. A glazing technique was developed by Nils so that each piece turned out slightly differently, giving them a hand-crafted appearance due to the nature of the glaze.

It is said that the name BACA comes from the Latin word for “ring” (i.e. circle) and the signature of each artist is on the backstamp of each piece inside a circle. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just by the pattern if a piece is from the Baca or Tenera series, so an easy way to remember is that if the cypher is inside a circle it is from Baca.

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series

Ellen Malmer Vase, Royal Copenhagen Baca Series – Backstamp showing Ellen’s cypher inside the circle, the pattern number (top line), shape number (bottom line) Royal Copenhagen backstamp, The Juliane Mark (3 waves) and the painters initial “A”.

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Baca Series Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710

Nils Thorsson , Royal Copenhagen Vase, Pattern 710 on shape 3455, with the backstamp showing Nils cypher inside the circle, the Royal Copenhagen mark, the Juliane Mark, painters initial (t) and an original shop label.

The pieces from both the Baca and Tenera series are marked with 2 sets of numbers on the backstamp The number on the top line is the design or pattern number, and the bottom number is the form or shape number.

There will also be the logo for Aluminia or Royal Copenhagen with the 3 Waves, and the painters initials. Read more

Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Nils Johan Thorvald Thorsson (1898 – 1975)

Ceramic artist and designer for Royal Copenhagen – Aluminia.

Nils joined Royal Copenhagen as an apprentice in 1912, and graduated from the royal Danish Academy in 1917. He went on to become Royal Copenhagen’s most prolific designer. He was Artistic director at Royal Copenhagen from 1949 while also artistic director of Aluminia also from 1928-1969.

(Aluminia pottery works was established in Copenhagen in 1863. In 1882, the owners of Aluminia purchased Royal Copenhagen factory. The factories were operated independently under their respective trade names until 1969, when the use of the Aluminia name was ended)

Nils designed at least 5 of  best known production ranges for Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen – Solberg (1930’s), Marselis (1950’s) Tenera (1960’s), Baca (1960’s), Diana (1970’s)

Nils Thorsson, Marselis Series Vase - Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen

Nils Thorsson, Marselis Series Vase – Aluminia/Royal Copenhagen

Nils Thorsson, Solberg Series Vase

Nils Thorsson, Solberg Series Vase, Royal Copenhagen//Aluminia

Nils Thorsson Diana Series Vase, Royal Copenhagen

Nils Thorsson Diana Series Vase, Royal Copenhagen

He also produced many exquisite art pieces in high fired glazes that are lesser known and hard to find. For the Baca and Tenera series he designed the forms (shapes) – and other members of his team designed the patterns. The patterns which he designed will have his cypher on the base.

Nils Thorsson Cypher (bottom)

Nils Thorsson Cypher (bottom in circle)

Baca Pattern 708, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 708, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 723, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 723, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 721, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 721, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 734, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 734, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 720, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 720, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Thorsson, Baca Pattern 719, Royal Copenhagen

Thorsson, Baca Pattern 719, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 719, On Square Bowl, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Baca Pattern 719, On Square Bowl, Nils Thorsson, Royal Copenhagen

Nils also designed the Morgenfrue and Oranja (Tureby) dinnerware series amongst others.

Oranja/Tureby Tureen, Design Nils Thorsson, Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen

Oranja Tureen, Design Nils Thorsson, Aluminia//Royal Copenhagen

Morgenfrue Cup/Saucer Aluminia, Nils Thorsson

Morgenfrue Cup/Saucer Aluminia, Nils Thorsson

Nils body of work is so large that it is hard to capture a picture of it as a whole, as of course it changed during his lifetime spent at Royal Copenhagen. However his form and pattern designs from the 1950s – 1970’s, especially from the BACA and TENERA ranges, were and remain some of Royal Copenhagen’s most popular works coveted as being prime examples of mid-century and Danish modernism. Read more