John Selbing, artist and long-time Orrefors photographer, designed this tender image of a woman, perhaps the Madonna, holding a dove of peace, depicted on this vintage crystal vase. The codes engraved on the bottom of this piece tell it was made in 1946, although the image (2579) was designed in 1941. It's a large piece, measuring about 6" x 2.5" x 8"H and weighing 3.5 pounds. The vase is unusual; it has planed sides and corners, so there are 6 straight and 2 curved edges at the rim. The bottom inch of the vase has 4 more planed surfaces on each of the front and back faces, so the base has 14 edges. It shows the tell-tale signs of a long life, well-loved: many a fine scratch, but nary a nick!
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.
John Selbing worked for Orrefors for his whole career, from 1927 to 1973. He is responsible for many of the photographs you see in the books and catalogs of wonderful Orrefors glass.
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