Orrefors Palmqvist 1940 Design of Beautiful Woman, Swedish Lead Crystal Vase, Copper-Wheel Engraved


Sven Palmqvist designed this large crystal vase, and it appears in Catalog 15 from 1941. It is handblown and copper-wheel engraved. Its style shows a Art Deco influence, with clean lines and a strong, angular human form. The warm brown glass of the pedestal anchors both the vase and the woman.

This is a very large vase, 5.5" across and 10.75" tall, and it's heavy, weighing more than 6 pounds. There are a few extremely thin scratches on the piece that are hardly noticeable. The design code 2338 tells me it was designed in 1940, and the date code A7 means that this particular piece was made in 1941.

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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