Orrefors Palmqvist Abstract Line Art Ship, Rare 1957 Engraved Lead Crystal Vase, Perfect Gift


The masterful Swedish glass artist, Sven Palmqvist, designed this modern, line-art ship for Orrefors Glassworks in 1955. The crystal vase was handblown, and it was engraved using the traditional copper-wheel technique. The number 3559 on the base is the style number, and that one was designed in 1955. The date code C5 corresponds to 1957, which was the date that this vase was made. The initials are for the engraver, and I have not identified him yet. The vase is about 8 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter at its widest point, and it weighs about 2 pounds.

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, like Sven Palmqvist, many 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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