The Haresfur Collection – Glass from Finland 1935-1985

An Exhibition at AAFE November 2022

Leading Scandinavian design specialists, Haresfur, based near Leicester, have spent the past three years sourcing and acquiring pieces of Finnish glass, mostly from the Nordic countries, to put together a high quality exhibition of around 50 pieces of art glass. They will be offering these pieces for sale at AAFE this November. This is the largest collection of glass from Finland assembled in the UK for many years and will be well worth seeing.

Gunnel Nyman glass from the 1940s for Nuutajärvi-Notsjö

There is a distinctiveness to this collection: simplicity and purity of design that marks out glass from Finland at this time. Single colours, controlled use of bubbles, and sculptural forms can all be seen to characterize the style of Finnish glass during the mid-century period.

Tapio Wirkkala Glass from the 1940s and 50s for iittala

The Finns were quite distinctive in their style. With an embrace of the functional simplicity of modernism they sought to present new approaches to glass in beautiful ways. Sometimes inspired by nature, with its winter landscapes of ice and snow, these designs take on a distinctive national character. For others designers it was the developments in modernist art with its bold use of shape, colour and abstraction that was their inspiration.

Timo Sarpaneva Three Orkidea glass vases from 1954 for iittala

One of the main reasons for the amount of innovation was that glass designers in Finland were often encouraged to submit designs for exhibition and the best were awarded prizes and thereby gained recognition for their work.

Kaj Franck glass vases from the 1960s for Nuutajärvi-Notsjö

As well as featuring pre-war items by designers like Goran Hongell, the collection majors on work produced by top designers in the period from around 1945-1970 when the Finns were world leaders in glass design. Pieces by leading designers like Gunnel Nyman, Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva and Nanny Still are all well represented in this collection. It features some of their famous designs as well as rarities and more unusual pieces.

Nanny Still Paraati “UFO” glass vase from the 1960s for Riihimäen Lasi Oy

Finland, more than any other country was at the cutting edge of design in glass during the mid-century period. The Finns were the pioneers of sleek, beautiful modernism but were not afraid to experiment and produce more unusual and quirky items. Other countries like Sweden and Italy produced great glass designs in this period too but the Finns are unmatched for their embrace of a novelty and the development of a distinctly modern style that has done so much to establish the new and progressive look of the mid-century period.

Erkkitapio Siiroinen heavy cut crystal bowl, 1970s, Riihimäen Lasi Oy

These pieces can be seen and purchased at their stand B35 as well as from their website They have also produced a fully colour illustrated, limited edition catalogue of the exhibition which will be for sale at their stand.