A Beautiful Pair of c.1800 Swedish Glass Flasks ‘Brännvinsflaskor ‘ Gilt Decorated for Gustav III c.1771-92

Origin: Swedish
Period: Gustav IV Adolph/ Charles XIII
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1800-40
Width: 3.25”
Height:  7.7” (each)

The pair of Swedish hand blown bottle flasks of rectangular form with rounded tops, engraved and gilded with crowned Gustav III monogram cyphers and stylised foliage to all sides, surviving from early nineteenth century Sweden.

The flasks are in very good condition. There is some expected wear to the gilt decoration but much of it remains, whilst structurally the bottles are both very sound with no major cracks or chips aside from one or two small inclusions and two very small internal cracks to one neck. They would benefit from an internal clean.

These ‘brännvinsflaskor’ would have had cork stoppers, which explains why they are absent, and they would have been for holding schnapps, vodka or brandy. The bottles were blown in shape, and sometimes placed in the casket intended for different types of spiced spirits. They have been particularly popular in Sweden and first emerged in the 1770s when Gustav II banned private distillation for a period. Many liquor bottles from Sweden have a royal monogram, especially for Gustav III as these examples do and they were produced well into the 1900s. In the 1930s a company called ‘Hovmantory Glasbruk’ made commemorative reproductions of these flasks with accompanying glasses but the quality of the decoration is far more clumsy on later mass produced examples.

Gustav III was assassinated (shot in the back when he was on a masked ball at the opera, 16 March 1792) and subsequently died in Stockholm Palace, 29 March 1792, aged 46.

Beautiful pieces of Swedish glass, and desirable in a pair.