Berndt Friberg Marks and Dates

Sunday 18th June 2023 at 11:55

Berndt Friberg (1899-1981) is now regarded as one of Sweden's greatest ceramicists. His modern twist on classical Sung period ceramic shapes, perfectionist throwing skills, and sophisticated use of matt, haresfur glazes make his work some of the most collected ceramics of the mid-century period.

He started out his work at the age of 13  as a thrower in Hoganas. Several generations of his family had been ceramicists before him. He worked there until 1934 when he was hired as a thrower to work with Wilhelm Kåge at Gustavsberg. For the next few years he threw many of Kåge's pots in the Farsta and other ranges. It wasn't until 1938 that he got the opportunity to glaze pieces too and sign them in his own name.

There are a few known prototype pieces from the late 1930s. His work was first exhibited under his own name at an exhibition in Stockholm in 1941. These were successful and after the exhibition a range of hand thrown pieces were sold as by Friberg under the name Ankargods or anchorware in reference to the Gustavsberg anchor mark that was in use at that time.

These sold well and after 1948 that word was dropped and his name and a date letter code was added. He had his first solo exhibition in 1951 and it sold well and established his name thereafter as once of Sweden's greatest post-war ceramicists. He was making pieces up to 1979 shortly before his death in 1981.

The marks

The earliest piece we have come across bears the Gustavsberg Anchor mark and his initials. This is possibly an early prototype or a piece shown in the 1941 exhibition.

The second mark bears the word Ankargods. This was in use from some time after 1939 until 1944 when the word was dropped. It also has the anchor mark and stylised use of the initials BF.

The third mark in use from 1944-47 shows an impressed hand over the letter G to denote a handmade studio piece and an impressed set of initials

The final mark in use from 1948 onwards carries this studio hand mark, his name and a date letter code.


These are the year codes that were used:

R  1948

S  1949

T  1950

U  1951

V  1952

X  1953

Y  1954

Z  1955

Å  1956

Ä  1957

Ö  1958

a  1959

b  1960

c  1961

d  1962

e  1963

f  1964

G  1965

H  1966

I    1967

J   1968

K  1969

L   1970

M   1971

N   1972

O   1973

P   1974

1975-79 the year date was added instead of a letter.

You will sometimes also come across piece with a paper label with Friberg's name and the word selecta. While these were designed by him they were not made by him but were production pieces from the factory to meet some of the demand for this work. These should always be cheaper than the hand thrown and signed pieces.