Orrefors Palmqvist Skiers and Reindeer Mountain Design 1954, Engraved Swedish Glass Vase


Sven Palmqvist designed this clever, two-sided, mountain scene, with skiers going down one side and reindeer being herded up the other side. The Nordic motif is perfect for the new pedestal-style vase he designed at Orrefors. The small crystal vase is handblown, the figures are copper-wheel engraved, and the snow is likely sand-blasted.

This is a small vase, 3" x 3" x 5", and it weighs 0.6 pounds. The design code 3407 tells me it was designed in 1954, the date code E4 means that this particular piece was made in 1974, and the initials BE stand for Börje Eriksson, who did the engraving. (He worked at Orrefors from 1947-1996.) It has a few small scratches, as seen in the photos, but it's a great little vase.

The Orrefors story began in 1726, when an ironworks and smith was built near “the beautiful river that flows into Lake Orranäs” in the Swedish countryside. It was given the name Orrefors, which means “the Orre waterfall.” ("Orre" is the Swedish name for the black grouse, which is the bird seen on their iconic labels.) The foundry was converted to a glassworks in 1898, as the demand for iron decreased. By the mid-1920s, Orrefors was celebrated for the quality and beauty of its glass.

Orrefors employed master artists and craftsmen, some of whom worked their whole careers of 40, 50, or more years with the company. Sven Palmqvist (1906-1984) was born in the glass district of southern Sweden and started his career with Orrefors in 1928, where he remained until 1972. In those years, he designed hundreds of engraved glass motifs. According to his daughter, to whom I am connected through an online glass group, he had a particular fondness for portraying people and animals. Palmqvist is known not only for his graceful and functional designs, but he is also known for his innovative techniques in glass production.

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