A beautiful luminous cylinder vase with a rare embossed geometric decor covered in a glossy turquoise green crackle glaze designed in the 1960s by Ursula Beyrau for Gräflich Ortenburg.

GRÄFLICH ORTENBURG was founded in 1946 by Hungarian count Alram Graf zu Ortenburg (1925 - 2007) on his family's estate in Tambach, Germany. Several clay pits had been developed on the property in 1939, and upon inheriting it, the Count decided to open a ceramics workshop in a side wing of his castle, Schloß Tambach. Initial production focused on ornately painted vases, bowls, and wall plates, all decorated by hand in an affiliated studio. As the decades progressed, more and more exciting Modernist designs—especially out of Italy—caught the Ortenburg's eye, and he re-aligned the studio's aesthetic to take advantage of this new post-War trend.

In 1949 the workshops in Gräflich began producing coffee and tea services. For cost reasons, only very few pieces were hand-painted at this point. International designers such as Tunisian sculptor Sebastiano Buscetta and American stylist Irene Pasinski were hired; their modern contributions to the product lines helped the company rise to international success.

From 1962 to 1967 Ursula Beyrau worked as a form and decor designer in the GRÄFLICH ORTENBURG stoneware factory.  Much of this later production was known for its heavy, rounded, Bauhaus-inspired shapes made of dark red clay. The period's glazes were luxurious—thick and glassy. These innovations achieved great popularity as the post-war German art pottery industry burgeoned, but In 1968, due to flagging sales, the Count closed down the ceramics studio and (as he was a sportsman) converted his estate into a game reserve. It survives to this day as a wildlife park.

URSULA BEYRAU (b.1931) passed her apprenticeship examination in pottery in 1951 after training with Paul Dresler and Margarete Pilger in the Grootenburg pottery workshop.  From 1954 to 1956, she studied with Otto Lindig in Hamburg, and then spent a year studying in Paris and the South of France.  In 1959 she worked for A. Schweizer in Steffisburg,  and then as a form and decor designer at Kermos-Keramik in Sulgen from 1960 to 1962.  Until 1967 she worked as a form and decor designer in the Gräflich Ortenburg stoneware factory in Tambach.  In 1969 she went to Lower Rhenish, where she worked as an architectural ceramics designer in Emmerich-Vrasselt, and then in her own ceramic studio in Emmerich since 1982.  In addition to ceramic decorative and utility objects, her work also includes ceramic wall reliefs of various formats with glazes that she developed herself.

Design Period 1960 to 1969
Production Period Unknown
Identifying Marks This piece has been attributed based on archival documentation, such as vintage catalogs, designer records, or other literature sources
Style Vintage, Mid-Century, Minimalist, Modernist
Detailed Condition Good — This vintage item remains fully functional, but it shows sign of age through scuffs, dings, faded finishes, minimal upholstery defects, or visible repairs.
Restoration and Damage Details Light wear consistent with age and use, 2 flat chips on the bottom of the foot ring
Product Code
Materials Ceramic
Color Turquoise, brown
Width 2.5 inch
Depth 2.5 inch
Height 7.3 inch


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