Orrefors Man Scattering Seed, Palmqvist 1939, Large Swedish Vase 9.25" Lead Crystal, Copper-Wheel Engraved

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Sven Palmqvist designed this image of a man, scattering seed from a sash, with birds arriving to feed. The large crystal vase is handblown and copper-wheel engraved. Its style shows the influence of the Art Deco movement, with its clean lines and strong, angular human form.

This is a large vase, 6.25" x 4.25" x 9.25", and heavy, weighing 6 pounds. There are some extremely thin scratches on the back of the piece that are hardly noticeable. I tried to make them look as bad as I could in the fifth photo, but honestly, they do not interfere with viewing the great image. The design code 2076 tells me it was designed in 1939, and the date code a5 means that this particular piece was also made in 1939. The initials ÅR refer to the engraver, likely Åke R. Karlsson.

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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