Tea service (Vasegaard)

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The tea service designed by Gertrud Vasegaard in 1956 was inspired by Chinese ceramics, most evident in its cups without handles. Produced by Bing & Grøndahl, it was included in the 2006 Danish Culture Canon as a masterpiece of Danish design.[1]


It was while Vasegaard was working at Bing & Grøndahl that she developed an interest in Chinese ceramics. Combining her knowledge of traditional Danish designs with those of China, she created a cup without a handle and a teapot with a flat, inwardly-curved lid and cane handle, both inspired by Chinese models. She also produced a tea caddy, uncommon in Denmark but part of the Chinese tradition, and a milk jug, based on English requirements.[2]

The tea set consists of eight pieces. Although each is individually designed (a round cup, a hexagonal teapot, a square caddy and an octagonal cake dish), they are all obviously parts of the same set. The little spots are caused by iron particles in the clay, usually removed with a magnet. Vasegaard thought they gave the porcelain a more distinctive look and persuaded Bing & Grøndahl to leave them in. The combination of simple forms with rather heavier materials and slightly textured surfaces was a compromise between production requirements and a more natural finish.[3] Indeed, not only was the tea service widely distributed, it was also a source of inspiration for younger designers.[2]


  1. ^ "Testel, 1956, Gertrud Vasegaard (f. 1913)", in Kulturkontacten 20, 2006. (Danish) Retrieved 12 February 2013. Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b "Gertrud Vasegaards testel 1956", Kanon for design og kunsthåndværk. Skolejenesten. (Danish) Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  3. ^ Raizman, David (2003). History of Modern Design: Graphics and Products Since the Industrial Revolution. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 263–. ISBN 978-1-85669-348-6. 

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