ARE ALL BACA VASES CREATED EQUAL?
In the photographs above are two Royal Copenhagen vases from the Baca range of the 1960s and 1970s; the range was introduced by the then head of Art and Design Nils Thorsson who brought in a number of designers to help him. Among those recruited by him was Johanne Gerber the designer of the vase featured here.
Both of these vases were purchased by us in Denmark neither of them was described as anything other than a “Baca” vase, despite one of these being purchased from a dealer. That might give you a clue to the fact that the dealer who sold us the one that has something different about it should have noticed and drawn our attention to it, as they might have got a better price.
Question if they were sat on a shelf what is it that makes you wonder if one is a variation from the norm;
Answer: The vase in Picture 1 has a block of black in the middle of the neck that the vase in Picture 2 does not.
So not identical; that is not so strange as each vase is hand decorated and therefore they are never identical are they? Well no but generally the differences are in the hand of the decorator, the way they draw a curve or apply colour to an element of the design not an element added or taken away. Can we tell then which one is the variation from the norm, not from this angle we have to look at the base and take account of the second of these posts marks on Royal Copenhagen.
REVEALED – THE DIFFERENCE
Pictures 1 and 3 are of the same vase . The thing that strikes you first is that the vase in these pictures has no numbers on it. It has a factory mark and it has a date of production mark, in this case the “x”below the M in DENMARK denotes that this vase was made in 1966 at the Aluminia factory. It also has a designers mark for Johanne Gerber, but this appears to be hand applied rather than stamped as most production vases are. Missing are the design number, shape number, Baca mark (the circle with radiating lines) around the designers mark and decorators mark, have a look at Picture 4 to see what I mean.
SO WHAT DOES THIS LACK OF MARKS SUGGEST
Prior to a vase entering production a series of trials would be undertaken, these would include glaze trials as well as decoration colours etc. If you found one of these it would have something on the base indicated it was a trial and what was being trialled. This vase has none of these so it was not a trial in the normal sense ie checking that glazes and decoration worked on the shape. This probably means that it was a pre-production version which had a number of slight variations in the decoration and one of these variations would have to be picked prior to main production taking place. All of these pre-production variations would have been decorated by one person, in this case Johanne Gerber. Who had the final say on which got produced I do not know, but it is apparent that the variation shown on the vase in Picture 1 did not make it. It is the only one I have seen with this decoration around the neck.