Orrefors Palmqvist Horse, 1968 Swedish 5" Lead Crystal Vase, Copper-Wheel Engraved


Sven Palmqvist designed this image of a horse high stepping, with a slight smile on its face. This is a nice size vase for display, 6" x 3" x 5", and solid, weighing 3.5 pounds. It is in nearly flawless condition - quite uncommon for a piece more than fifty years old. The style code 3939 tells me this piece was designed in the mid 1960s and the date code, D7, means this particular piece was made in 1968. The engraver's initial, O, belongs to Ove Bjerding, whose career at Orrefors (1928-1970) nearly mirrored Palmqvist's.

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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