This small wooden elephant was designed in 1953 by the influential Danish toy designer Kay Bojesen (1886-1958). He was apprenticed to Georg Jensen, the well-known silver designer. However, it was Bojesen's timber toys, which he began designing in 1922 for his son, which were to bring him international acclaim. Bojesen was the first to apply the Danish arts and crafts style to toys.
Despite being developed in the 1950s, the design of this small wooden toy is timeless. It represents the best of classic Danish design through its clean and simple lines, minimalist decoration and bold colours. Bojesen designed wooden figures, animals, trains, cars, and a farm. This occurred decades after other toy manufacturers had moved away from wood and were working in tin and plastic, using techniques such as die-casting and injection moulding.
Bojesen is said to have been an inspiration to other major Danish designers including Piet Hein, Magnus Steffensen and Ole Wansher. His designs became very popular in the 1950s and 1960s and were extensively copied around the world. They were well liked by kindergarten teachers, parents and children for their durability and the way they encouraged creativity and imagination.
Information supplied by Gustav Rithmester, Denmark.
Curator, Transport & Toys