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Theresienthal - The crown of glass-making since 1836

Theresienthal
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Theresienthal - Royal crystal glass made in Bavaria

A piece of living history: the Bavarian crystal glass manufacturer Theresienthal practises glass craftsmanship to royal standards since 1836. The small manufactory deep in the Bavarian Forest creates modern interpretations of its historical glass collections and new designs with traditional flair, all by hand.

At the heart of Theresienthal are the glassworks’ passionate craftsmen. The small team consists of glassmakers, cutters, engravers, painters and other skilled tradesmen. Some of them have been working at Theresienthal for decades; some in the fourth or fifth generation.

A Bavarian interpretation of Bohemian crystal glass

In 1831, King Ludwig I of Bavaria asked the Bohemian glass merchant Franz Steigerwald to set up glassworks in Bavaria. Steigerwald followed the royal order and in 1836 opened his glassworks in a small valley near Zwiesel, the capital city of the German glass industry. He received permission to name both the glassworks and the valley after Queen Therese - Theresienthal.

The name Therese still carries great significance in Bavaria. King Ludwig I had married Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. Their wedding celebration on the Theresienwiese (“Therese’s meadow”) in Munich was so legendary that it developed into the Oktoberfest, the largest and most famous folk festival in the world.

With Bohemian know-how and royal privilege, Theresienthal's crystal glass conquered the German and European royal houses. In 1861, Michael von Poschinger took over the manufactory; his descendants would manage the glassworks until 1973.

New from Old – German Historicism

In the 1870s, King Ludwig II became a regular customer and furnished his beloved Linderhof Palace with glassware from Theresienthal. The Russian Tsar's court in St. Petersburg had to be supplied on foot to avoid breakage. Even Eugénie de Montijo, the last empress of the French, ordered a clock made of glass for her exile in England.

Theresienthal's recipe for success was Historicism, an art movement in the second half of the 19th century that is often overlooked today. Designers such as Henriette Steigerwald, Franz Keller-Leuzinger and Rudolf von Seitz created drinkware and vases that recombined historical forms and elements into completely new objects.

In Germany, the rummer, also called roemer or hock glass, was immensely popular; Theresienthal’s historicist rummer designs were both unprecedented yet reminiscent of medieval artifacts. Modern forms of tumblers and goblets were decorated with antique designs from the Venetian Renaissance and the Baroque. The eclectic mix of styles that defined historicism reverberates in Theresienthal's legacy to this day.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Theresienthal crystal glass became popular in the USA. People raved about the new Art Nouveau designs, which made Americans dream of romantic images from the Old World.

Many historic glass objects from Theresienthal can be found in castles and museums around Bavaria today. Glassware of all kinds is on display in the Theresienthal Museum Palace, the Museum of Bavarian Kings in Hohenschwangau, in Linderhof Palace, and Neuschwanstein Palace.

Passion for the craft - Theresienthal today

In 2001, the Theresienthal crystal glass manufactory had to close indefinitely. However, some of the former employees did not give up their glassworks. For years they maintained the equipment in the closed workshops to save it from decay.

Impressed by this commitment, the Eberhard von Kuenheim Foundation, a BMW AG foundation, began to organise sponsorships. In 2004, the Theresienthal charitable foundation was established and the glassmakers were able to resume operations at the glassworks. In 2006, Max Freiherr von Schnurbein took over the company with its roughly 20 employees.

Handmade Bavarian Baroque

The current collection is partly based on the successful designs of past decades and centuries. The influences range from the Biedermeier style of the founding years to Historicism, Art Nouveau and New Objectivity. Thus, crystal glass from Theresienthal is lived Bavarian history and tradition.

The Theresienthal crystal glass manufactory also designs new pieces with designers such as Kuball & Kempe, Jens Denecke, Matthias Gangkofner, Christian Haas, Gottfried Palatin and Hermann August Weizenegger. The motto: Bavarian Baroque instead of German Engineering.

All glassware, drinkware, vases and decorative objects are made exclusively by hand, from turning the wooden model to blowing the glass to cutting, engraving, painting and gilding. In this way, the crystal glass manufactory guarantees high quality "Made in Bavaria".

A collection over a hundred years in the making

Theresienthal's most popular drinkware collection is called Kilimandjaro. Idyllic nature scenes with African animals are engraved on artfully produced cased crystal glass tumblers. A wide range of colours, functional shapes and cosy nature motifs bring a touch of Biedermeier to the present day.

The collection Schliersee enchants with pastoral scenes from the Bavarian Alps. Schliersee is a popular recreation area 50 kilometres south of Munich; Theresienthal evokes the Alpine idyll on its cased crystal glass cups with engravings of indigenous wildlife such as chamois, capercaillies, eagles and deer.

The collection Planet Earth takes you on a journey from the deep sea to outer space. A mix of animal, plant and abstract motifs come together to a varied yet coherent collection. Its colours and engravings complement each other to create a seamless narrative.

The Newport collection is reminiscent of Theresienthal's successes in the USA. The Art Nouveau style barware collection was wildly popular among New Yorkers who travelled to Newport in Rhode Island to watch the start of international regattas.

The glass collection Juwel Gold celebrates the baroque and brings it into the new millennium with a clean and modern touch.

Are you looking for a specific collection by Theresienthal or limited editions? Contact us by e-mail at service@artedona.com or by telephone at +49 (89) 45 69 20 66, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 7 pm CET.

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