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Nils Thorsson - a master of stoneware glazes

Niels Thorsson (1898-1975), Swedish born, but moved to Copenhagen, when he was six years old. He started his career as a working boy at the faience factory Aluminia, which had merged with Royal Copenhagen. He got the chance to show his drawings to the artistic director of Aluminia, Christian Joachim. Thorsson was then hired as an apprentice artist. At the time he was 14 years, and he learned it all from scratch. He learned to turn pottery, to paint decorations, and to cast. This basic knowledge he larer used as an artist as well as  artistic director. After graduating as an artist apprentice in 1917, he was admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts, which he attended, while also working for Aluminia. He had two mentors, Christian Joachim and Patrick Norström - Scandinavia's grand old man of the 20th century pottery.. Nordstrøm taught him especially about the glaze, which later became the trademark of Thorsson. It is without a doubt Thorsson's experimentation with different glazes and the results, which gave him a prominent place in the Scandinavian pottery.


Nils Thorsson became Artistic Director at Aluminia in 1933. His fundamental knowledge of the entire production process had made earthenware production profitable, and artistically  it culminated in the early 1960s,  where the series "Tenera" and "Baca" were put into production. Two teams of artists stood behind the success (see more here Royal copenhagen).  In 1949 Thorsson  also became artistic director at the stoneware Department  of  Royal Copenhagen, but already at Aluminia ,he had started  the production of  a series similar to  stoneware "Jungle", which was exhibited in Paris in 1935.


In the 1950’s Thorsson began to develop glazes. He was inspired by especially Chinese, Japanese and Iranian pottery. This can be seen in Thorssons decorations as well as in his choice of glazes. Together with the technical leader he developed the glazes Clare de lune, Solifatara and Olivine, and it was especially the matte glazes giving the ceramic depth, which appealed to Thorsson .


Thorsson’s stoneware works are now much in demand and therefore pricy, while the large handpainted series Tenera and Baca of Royal Copenhagen/Aluminia have proven to be of interest to many collectors worldwide.

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