Norse Pottery

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Established in 1903 in Edgerton, Wisconsin, the company was soon bought out, and moved to, Rockford, Illinois, along with its two chief designers, Thorwald P. A. Samson and Louis Ipson. Samson and Ipson, working under the new owner Arthur Washburn Wheelock, were the ones who designed and decorated the historic, Norse-inspired wares. The pieces were shown at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, and were quite a contrast to other art pottery with its red body painted over with oil colors. It was noted that the work had a Greek style finished, and it garnered some attention there. The Norse Pottery Company, however, had a short span as production ceased in 1913.


Norse ware is not only distinct in its singular design, dark oil coloring, and dull metallic glaze. The pottery was designed as a translation of bronze relics, found in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden during the early 20th century. Inspired by the ancient art, Samson and Ipson designed the pieces to have verdigris-like highlights in the corners, crevices, and sunken lines of the etchings. Each piece was designed like the historic, archeological find as they included a written account with each original. The pottery ranged from vases to candlesticks, and from bowls to ash trays, with every piece marked with the Norse impression on the bottom. There are no recorded signed pieces as only the company’s impression has been noted as a marking, which is of a large “N” with a horizontal “orse” inside. 

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