Val St Lambert ‘Nestor Hamlet’ set of six hand cut crystal harlequin coloured wine hock glasses (1951-1962)
Val St Lambert (VSL) is a Belgian crystal glassware manufacturer, founded in 1826 and based in Seraing, Belgium. It has the Royal Warrant of King Albert II and is still in production today. VSL was founded in the abandoned Val-Sant-Lambert abbey (as the monks had been expelled as a result of the French Revolution) by a chemist, M.Kemlin and an engineer Auguste Lelievre , from the Voneche crystal works who converted the building into a glass works. They added new workshops and built houses (each one with a garden) for the Val St Lambert glassworkers. Val St Lambert has always made a wide range of glass and offers up to 5000 colour variations (more than any other crystal house), by the mid 1920’s VSL had four factories with some 4000 employees supervised by 20 departmental managers and 250 clerks.
By the first decade of the 20th century, VSL had become well-renowned for the production of its crystal. The onset of World War I in 1914 caused a halt in production, which did not resume until Armistice Day 1918. VSL regained its leading position despite losing two important markets: Germany and Russia. The end of the War inspired many of the young VSL designers to create bold crystal pieces of a clarity, brilliance, décor, finish and perfection not previously achieved. Among these designers were Joseph Simon (1874-1940) and Charles Graffart (1893-1967) who worked under the leadership of Léon Ledru, Head of VSL’s design Department. Generally, the new designs were characterised by floral motifs, and VSL had embarked on the progressive era known as Art Deco.