Carstens Ankara plate

This vintage ceramic platter presents a spectacular glaze variation, a masterful execution, a bold graphic statement and a classic mid-century design from Carstens Tönnieshof . This large plate was glazed in a matte terracotta color, then covered by a luscious, raku-like black glaze, except where the design had been masked off with wax resist. There is also a hint of turquoise just along the rim (photo 5). This design dates from 1967 and is a very rare color and design variation on Carsten’s Ankara decor, first designed by von Scholtis in 1964. It was part of their Luxus series of high end art pottery. The platter measures 12″ (30 cm) in diameter and 2″ (6 cm) high. It is marked “1075-31 / W. Germany” on the base.

This item is for sale. View it here.

Condition notes: This platter is in excellent condition, with no chips, cracks, scratches or repairs.

The Carstens family has a long history in ceramics in Germany, beginning as a ceramic supply company in 1878 in Elmshorn. By the 1930s it was one of the largest distributors of ceramic supplies in the nation. By the end of the decade, the company had factories in Rheinsberg, Creußen, Hirchau, Gräfenroda, Walhausen, Gerogenthal, Uffrecht (stoneware), and lastly Tönnieshof. But by the end of WWII, Carstens was shattered and the factories, mainly in the Russian eastern zone, were shuttered and lost.

Two brothers from the Carstens family, Christian and Ernst Carstens, began anew at the Tönnieshof facility in West Germany, named after a nearby farm near Fredelsloh. Taking the name Carstens Tönnieshof, the company soon was providing much needed domestic ware as Germany rebuilt.

By 1950, the company was again one of the premier ceramics companies. Signing licenses with companies in other countries, it expanded into Austria, Australia and South America. The high point for Carstens came during the decades of the 1950s through the 1970s. It became one of the premier European art pottery makers of the era; their best designs are among the best of mid-century ceramics. Trude Carstens (wife of Ernst) was the artistic director at Carstens until her death in 1965. Other famous designers included Heinz Siery, von Scholtis, Gerda Heuckeroth, A. Seide and Dieter Peter.

By 1977, poor business decisions and family infighting lead to bankruptcy. The workers of the factory struggled on until Carstens finally closed for good in 1984.