Antiques Column with Michael Dowse
The Holmegaard Glassworks, over the years, has produced some very collectable pieces of beautiful and inventive glass. It was established in 1825 in Denmark by Countess Henriette Danneskiold-Samsøe.
Her husband Count Christian had initially sought permission from the King in 1823 to set up the Glassworks but unfortunately died before the decision to allow such a venture was granted. What a courageous woman the Countess was to carry on regardless.
Originally the Glassworks only produced green bottles but production quickly thrived and advanced and by the 1830s they were making clear and pressed glass bottles as well as tableware. Much of the Holmegaard’s early work is of little note, but the factory became a shining star in the 20th century. This transformation has much to do with the designers employed by the Glassworks including Jacob E Bang in the 1920s and later his son, Michael (how could he fail with such a name) in the 1980s as well as the great Per Lütken who was considered a pioneer designer and huge asset to Holmegaard Glass.
Per Lütken was a perfectionist and well known for making high demands on his glass blowers, never settling for second best. He began working for the company in 1941 and the quality of his designs became a benchmark for Holmegaard, securing their position as a leading Glassworks. His early work in the 1940s and 50s focused on organic forms sometimes referred to as the plasticity of glass. The vases took inspiration from shapes like teardrops and flower buds and the majority of pieces were made in subtle colours like grey and pale blue known as smoke and aqua. Later in the 1960s and 70s, he favoured the more robust, geometric designs, famously introducing the thicker, outward rims in his glasses in ranges such as No.5 from 1970 and Ship’s Glass from 1971. Per Lütken worked for Holmegaard until his death in 1998. Many of these designs can be purchased in the saleroom today for under one hundred pounds.