Wilhelm Kralik Sohn | Prague Art & Design
Wilhelm Kralik Sohn

Wilhelm Kralik Sohn

 

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Wilhelm Kralik Sohn

The Lenor glassworks were established by Jan Meyer in 1834 as one of the last ones in the Czech Šumava region. Jan Meyer was the owner of the glassworks in Vimperk whose capacity proved insufficient in the course of time, and there thus was no other way than to build a new factory.

Later, the management of the newly founded glassworks was taken over by Wilhelm Kralik and, after his death, Wilhelm’s sons who nevertheless did not agree on its further orientation, and the company was thus divided. The brothers Heindrich and Jan established a new firm, naming it Wilhelm Kralik Sohn and dating its foundation to 1830, i.e. the period when Wilhelm Kralik entered Jan Meyer’s company.

In the beginning, the glassworks and its new owners were heavily affected by the troubles caused by the lack of experience of the two brothers. In 1882, the situation resulted in the departure of Jan Kralik. Heinrich was thus offered the rich business experience and knowledge by his cousin, Wilhelm Mathias Kralik who was the head of the Nový Svět glassworks at that time. He arrived to Šumava with many of his collaborators from Harrachov. The new business director dramatically changed the production range of the glassworks, which hitherto mainly focused on sheet glass: the main orientation was producing the fashionable smelt-decorated glass with naturalist motifs, thus meeting the demand of European customers. This guaranteed the sales in many European countries.

The Lenora decorated glass was initially very close to the Harrachov examples mainly by its subdued and dark shades of olive green, brown and topaz. These patterns usually were naturalist decorations in the form of foliage and flowers and small insects, but also snakes and lizards. The Lenor glassworks, however, found its unique artistic expression over the time, based on specific décors as flat pressed flowers with striking color contrasts and symmetrical arrangements. Lenora moreover produced a wide scale of smelt-decorated vases and jardinières, decorative table objects in the form of flowers and petal-shaped lampshades. The glassworks experienced its highest prime during the 1890s, and many characteristic patterns and décors of the smelted-decorated glass were produced as long as until the 1920s, some of them even during the 1940s. After the Second World War which heavily affected the glassworks, the company was nationalized and became part of the enterprise Bohemian Crystal Glassworks [Sklárny Český křišťál].