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Royal Copenhagen Christmas PlatesAuthor: Annie Lee Myers
( Article orginally published December 1959 )
Each Christmas season two Danish Christmas plates are published, one by Bing and Grondahl, whose first Christmas plate appeared in 1895, the other by the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory, whose series began in 1908 with an issue of 2165 copies. In both series, cobalt blue underglaze decoration on hard porcelain is employed, and the designs, of Christmas significance, include Danish scenes as well as sacred motifs. All Christmas plates are in the 7-inch size with the exception of the Royal Copenhagen issues for 1908, 1909, and 1910 which were six inches, and the Bing and Grondahl double-sized plates published every five years when the commemorative date, 1895, appears with fifth year dates, as 1950, 1955, etc.
The designs for the Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates have always been chosen through competition. Originally suggestions for designs were submitted only by the underglaze painters; now all employees of the factory are eligible to compete. The border was included in the design until 1941, when a standard border was agreed upon.
Among Royal Copenhagen's foremost painters who have contributed Christmas plate designs have been Arnold Krog (1856-1931), originator of the underglaze decoration process used in these naturalistic paintings, Oluf Jensen, noted for his landscapes, Benjamin Olsen, for seascapes. The following complete list of Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates gives the year of issue, the design used, and the name of the artist.
1908-Madonna with Child, Chr. Thomsen- 1909-Danish Landscape, St. Ussing. 1910-The Wise Men, Chr. Thomsen. 1911-Danish Landscape, Oluf Jensen. 1912-Old Couple by Christmas Tree, Chr. Thoznsen. 1913-Spire of Frederik Church, A. Boesen. 1914-Sparrows in Tree at Church of the Holy Spirit, A. Bocsen. 1915-winter Landscape, A. Krog. 1916-Angel with Shepherds, R. Bo.-her,. 1917-Tower of Our Saviour's Church, Copenhagen, Oluf Jensen. 1918 -The Shepherds, Oluf Jensen. 1919-In the Park, Oluf Jensen.
1920-Maria with the Child, G. Rode. 1921-The Square in Aabenraa, Oluf Jenseu. 1922-Three Singing Angels, Mrs. Selscheu-Olsen. 1923-Winter Landscape, Oluf Jensen. 1924-The Christmas Star over the Sea, Benjamin Olsen. 1925Street in Christianshacn, Oluf Jensen. 1926-View of Christianshavn Canal, R. Bocher. 1927-The Ship's Boy as Helmsman, Christmas Eve, Benjamin Olsen. 1928-The Vicar and Family on Way to Church, G. Rode. 1929-Grundtvig Church, Oluf Jensen.
1930-Fishing Boats Returning to Harbor, Benjamin Olsen. 1931-Mother with Child, G. Rode. 1932-Statue of Frederik VI, Frederiksborg Park, Oluf Jensen. 1933-Ferry Crossing the Great Belt, Benjamin Olsen. 1934-"The Hermitage" Castle, Oluf Jensen. 1935-Fishing Boat near Kronborg Castle, Benjamin Olsen. 1936 -- Roskilde Cathedral, R. Bocher. 1937-Christmas Shoppers, Nits Thorsson. 1938-Round Church nr. Osterlars on Bornhelm, Herne Nielsen. 1939-Exploration Ship in Polar Pack of} Greenland, Sw. Nic. Nielsen.
1940-The Good Shepherd, Kai Lange. 1941-Danish Village Church, Th. Kjolner. 1942-Bell Tower of Church in West Jutland, Nils Thorsson. 1943-Flight of the Holy Family, Nils Thorssou. 1944Danish Winter Scene, Viggo Olsen. 1945 -Angel Rejoices at Christmas Rose, R. Bocher. 1946-Zealand Village Church, Nils Thorsson. 1947-Shepherd and Flock, Kai Lange. 1948--Church in Nodebo, Th. Kjolncr. 1949-Our Lady's Cathedral in Copenhagen, Hans H. Hansen.
1950-Boeslunde Church, Zealand, Viggo Olsen. 1951-Angel Brings Light, R. Bocher. 1952- Deer at Christmastime. Kai Lange. 1953-Frederiksborg Castle, Th. Kjolner. 1954-Anmlienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Kai Lange. 1955-Fano Girl Feeding Birds, Kai Lange. 1956-Rosenborg Castle, Kai Lange. 1957-The Good Shepherd, Hans H. Hansen. 1958 -Sunshine over Greenland, Hans H. Hansen.