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Classic, Influential Tableware Design

 

Meissen Blue Onion (“X” Backstamp) is rimmed, scallop-shaped white porcelain featuring the famed Meissen-blue color in an asymmetrical floral design on the center and rim. The “Blue Onion” (or “Zwiebelmuster”) pattern first appeared on tableware in Meissen, Germany around 1735. This popular motif likely derives from a similar Chinese pattern (the “onions” in the design are believed to be permutations of the pomegranates, peaches, and plums featured in the original design). The manufacture of fine porcelain in Meissen began in 1710. Meissen is located in Saxony, near Dresden, in one of the most culturally rich areas in all of Germany. So coveted was the reputation of Meissen porcelain that the French monarchy charged their Vincennes factory in Sevres with producing porcelain that would surpass the quality of Meissen. But that effort was doomed to failure with the Revolution of 1789. Today, Meissen is owned by the State of Saxony, and its crossed swords (or “X”) trademark is one of the oldest in existence.

Produced from 1939 to 1957, Danish Princess by Heisey features elegant plant and geometric designs cut on a squarish bowl with a flared top, a round foot, and an attached ribbed stem with delicate, raised accents near the foot and bowl. A. H. Heisey and Company was founded in 1896 in Newark, OH. By the late 1890s, Heisey’s colonial patterns featuring flute, scallop, and panel design elements were quite popular. Heisey began producing brightly colored glassware in the 1920s and 1930s in hues of emerald, ivorina verde (custard), opal, and canary, among others. After the Prohibition Act was repealed in 1930, Heisey released an extensive line of barware, which helped the company survive the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. The company’s sales remained high throughout World War II, and in 1940 the company released its most successful pattern, Orchid . It was around this time that Heisey began producing a line of popular glass figurines in addition to barware and stemware patterns. When elegant stemware became less favored by the American public in the years following World War II, Heisey struggled, and was eventually forced to close their factory in 1957. In 1958, Heisey sold all of its assets to the Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, OH. After Imperial Glass filed for bankruptcy in 1984, Heisey’s original molds were acquired by the Heisey Collectors of America. With its delicate design and masterful craftsmanship, Danish Princess by Heisey is an iconic pattern in crystal tableware.

Introduced in 1915, the Georg Jensen-Denmark Acorn pattern has become a sterling silver classic. It is an excellent example of applied art from the European Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s. Artists in this movement, as in the related Art Nouveau movement, placed little emphasis on neoclassical or "historical" styles and instead looked to the organic shapes of nature for inspiration. Georg Jensen, who had studied fine art, founded his silversmiths company in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1904. Jensen himself was recognized for his artistic designs. But he had the foresight to allow his designers (most of whom shared Jensen's conviction that the "ornament must never dominate") to follow their own creativity. Designers such as Johan Rohde, Harald Neilsen, Sigvard Bernadotte, Gunorph Albertus, and Henning Koppel created some of the most cutting edge silver designs of the twentieth century ( Acorn, Pyramid, Bernadotte, Cactus, and Caravelle, respectively), and their contributions became many of Jensen's most popular patterns. Jensen was particularly interested in supporting his designers, and making sure they received credit for their work. Johan Rohde's Acorn pattern is now an icon in the history of flatware design.

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