We recently posted a photograph of two lava glazed vases on our Flickr page which has proved very popular. So we thought that we’d write a few words and share a few more photos about West German ceramics from the 1950s to the 1970s.
After a period of time being generally ‘out of fashion’ these amazing ceramics are being appreciated once more for their style and eccentricity. They are now regularly seen gracing the pages of design and interior magazines. The range of colours, shapes, textures and sizes is mind-boggling!
Some pieces are hand-thrown, others are mass-produced, stock shapes. However, as with the Poole Delphis Pottery range, even these stock shapes can be transformed by the textures and the individual glazes in every colour imaginable. Pieces range in size from 3 inches to well over 20 inches tall for the larger floor vases.
Impressed ‘thumbnail’ detailing
Frothing lava glaze
No rules with colour combinations!
Typical base markings
A number of factories produced these characteristic ceramics – Baykeramik, Carstens, Dumler & Breiden, Jopeko, Roth, Ruscha and Scheurich to name but a few. Much has still to be learned about which company produced what. Some factories produced pieces with distinctive base markings such as the crossed swords of Dumler & Breiden, however the majority of pieces simply have serial number markings (often accompanied by ‘German’ or ‘W. Germany’). You may be lucky enough to find a piece with the original paper label, otherwise you’re in for a bit of detective work.
There hasn’t been a great deal published on West German ceramics from this period, however Fat Lava, by Mark Hill (from Amazon UK) is a good starting point – it outlines the main factories and is packed with good quality colour photos.
In fact, the book was written to accompany an exhibition of German pottery from this period held at King’s Lynn Arts Centre in 2006.
The pots work well displayed in groups of either similar or contrasting colours. The larger floor vases look great as stand-alone pieces.
Our particular favourites are the fiery oranges and reds, particularly ones with the bubbling lava glazes. We’ve built up quite a collection but good examples are getting harder to find and prices are rising steadily.
Trio of small, red and brown West German vases, 4-6 inches tall
Trio of incised vases – classic 1950s shapes
Blue vase with original Scheurich paper label
Huge floor vases
Fat lave glazes provide striking accent colours
We hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of our collection. Have a look at our West German Pottery Collectors group on Flickr to see some more examples from us and other members. If this post has inspired you to start your own collection, then happy hunting!