A burnished terra sigillata foal figurine produced by Wormser Terra Sigillata GmbH and likely designed by Kurt Langner.

WORMSER TERRA SIGILLATA GMBH began production in the late 1940s in the city of Worms, Germany, although the groundwork had been laid much earlier.   The Worms ceramicist Jean Kling (1878-1946) was so fascinated by Roman terra sigillata that he tried in several years of research and experimentation to produce a similar ceramic.  In 1937 he finally applied for a patent for a "process for the production of pottery with a velvet-like sheen with the appearance of Terra Sigillata". In order to get production going, he transferred the rights for commercial use to the city of Worms in 1941, which in return undertook to build a corresponding factory.  For the time being, however, this was prevented by the war, and Kling subsequently died in 1946, insuring that the method he developed in his lifetime could not get beyond the experimental stage.  in 1946, armed with Jean Kling's original patent, the city engaged the ceramicist Willi Jizba from the state technical school in Teplitz-Schönau as technical operations manager for the construction of the factory.  Ernst Baumrucker and Adolf Hausmann were added two years later as specialists in design and sgraffito decoration. The Terra Sigillata Manufacturing Company, which was affiliated with the City of Worms and headed by its director Dr. Friedrich M. Illert, began production in earnest in 1949. The following year, the company was taken over by Willil Jizba and transferred to private ownership under the name "Wormser Terra -Sigillata Manufaktur"

The production program initially comprised decorative ceramic objects which were based on Roman models.  Utility ceramics were added later and the range of decorative ceramics was expanded to include wall plates, wall masks and figurative objects.  Most of the early designs came from Adolf Hausmann, and later from Kurt Langner. Langner trained at the arts and crafts school and the technical college for ceramics in Eisenach, as well as studying sculpture at the art college in Weimar.  In addition, Willi Jizba managed to employee his former teacher, Prof. Hans Lifka, as a freelance designer. Hans Lifka was a student of Michael Polwony and held a professorship at the German State Institute for Ceramics and Related Applied Arts in Teplitz-Schönau from 1930 to 1945.

A special feature of the Wormser production range were the ornamental objects created from 1950 onwards with burnished surfaces and often beautiful sgraffito decors.  In 1952,  the workshop staged a joint exhibition at the Hannover Trade Fair along with the company Silberdistel, and led all of the other companies at the Fair.  As a result of this favorable reception and sales development, the company was able to expand considerably in 1955.  In contrast to the industry practice of regularly retiring shapes and decors, the models at the Wormser factory remained in the collection for quite a long time, and were sold through specialist retailers.

In 1980 the company was restructured under the successor of Willi Jizba, Volker Jizba. It was now called "Wormser Keramik GmbH". In 1989 the company headquarters was relocated to Oppenheim and the production of the company's own ceramics was stopped almost entirely.  Instead, tea sets and utensils were purchased as raw materials and production was limited to decorating them only.  Business activity shifted to the specialist trade in ceramics and tea services The production of the company's signature Terra Sigillata pottery had long since stopped due to a lack of demand.  Though greatly diminished from its former place in the market, the company does still exists today in Oppenheim, Germany..

TERRA SIGILLATA is a term that describes a certain kind of red-glazed, stamped pottery from the Roman Empire, which originated in Arezzo.  Usually roughly translated as 'sealed earth', the meaning of 'terra sigillata' is 'clay bearing little images' (Latin sigilla), not 'clay with a sealed (impervious) surface'. The archaeological term is applied, however, to plain-surfaced pots as well as those decorated with figures in relief. With the expansion of the Roman Empire, it was gradually produced throughout Italy and also in the provinces. You can find terra sigillata pottery everywhere the Romans left their mark.
Design Period 1950 to 1959
Production Period 1950 to 1959
Country of Manufacture Germany
Identifying Marks This piece has been attributed based on archival documentation, such as vintage catalogs, designer records, or other literature sources
Style Mid-Century, Vintage, Modernist
Detailed Condition Excellent — This vintage piece is in near original condition. It may show minimal traces of use and/or have slight restorations.
Product Code
Materials Ceramic
Color Brown, orange
Width 5.8 inch
Depth 3.0 inch
Height 8.8 inch
Quantity Available – 0