Theresia Hvorslev

 A Passion for Nordic Nature

by B. Lennart Persson & Svein G. Josefsen


Swedish grace, beautiful fragile glass, natural simplicity, and clean Scandinavian lines are some of the trademarks of Swedish modernism. Although the breadth of Swedish silver is not very well known outside of Scandinavia there are a few silversmiths who have gained international recognition,  the most well-known from the 1950s forward are Sigurd Persson and Torun Bülow-Hübe.

Theresia Hvorslev's strong direct language of  form is at its best a counterpart to the thoughtful, cool, elegant designs of Torun Bulow-Hube. Her jewelry points outward with sparks of vitality, and at the same time, her graceful flowing lines remind us of Sigurd Persson.

Pendant in sterling silver for Alton, ca. 1970,
with wing shaped elements put together as a three-dimensional flower, measuring an impressive 4 1/2 inches.

Born in 1935, Theresia Hvorslev was one of a group of talented students of the well known goldsmith Sven-Arne Gillgren, who was chief designer at the Swedish company GAB (G Dahlgren & Co.).  After graduating from Konstfackskolan (University College of Arts & Crafts and Design) in Stockholm, she apprenticed at Georg Jensen in Copenhagen and at Bernadotte & Bjørn, the design studio of Sigvard Bernadotte and the Danish architect, Acton Bjørn.
After obtaining a flying start as a silversmith by winning  several important awards, she became recognized as one of the most expressive and influential contemporary Swedish jewelers.

In addition to several museums in Scandinavia, her work is represented in the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York. She also holds three Diamonds International Awards.

Bracelet in sterling silver, for Alton, ca. 1971, with large facetted rock crystal.

After working in Germany and Denmark from 1955-1960, Theresia returned to Sweden and her home town Lidkøping, where, in 1964, she started her own workshop. In the early 1960s she also began her highly prized work as a designer with the companies Alton and Mema. Her early designs are characterized by plain reflective surfaces and wing shaped forms which express the character of the metal.

Necklace, bracelet and ring in cast sterling silver
 with a finishing layer of pure silver, for Mema, ca. 1972.

In the 1970s, her style evolved from finely measured, strict lines into voluptuous shapes and vivid manifestations. Although revealed in various different shapes, Theresia says that the common thread through all of her work is her love for Nordic nature.
Also typical of Scandinavian design is allowing the material to represent a character in its own right, instead of acting only as an agent for the shape made by the artist.

Among Thersia's later projects are small silver sculptures made for the Swedish royal family, as well as a large sculpture in steel placed in her home town Lidkøping. Her most widely used design is a set of cutlery made for the SAS (Scandinavian Airline System) and used by them for over thirty years.

Throughout the years Theresia Hvorslev has exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Zürich, London, and Paris.

Pendant in sterling silver, for Alton,
ca.  1973.

Pendant in sterling silver for Mema,
ca. 1972
 with neckring,
ca. 1974.

Pendant is marked: Theresia (in script), 925S Sterling, Mema,( manufacturer) Linkoping (city), crown in heart mark for Sweden and X9 for 1972.

Neckring is marked the same as the pendnat excpet the year mark is Z9 (for 1974)


Article and photographs by B. Lennart Persson & Svein G. Josefsen

Web design by Marbeth Schon
photograph of pendant with neckring courtesy of Fran Schreiber
© text and photo: egc online publications and Modern Silver Magazine, 2005

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