Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875
Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, consisting of 156 stories across nine volumes, have been translated into more than 125 languages and have inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films. Some of his most popular works include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Red Shoes", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Match Girl", and "Thumbelina".
Born in Odense, Denmark, Andersen attended grammar school in Slagelse. He would later reflect that his years at this school were the darkest and most bitter years of his life. At one point, he lived at his schoolmaster's home. There he was abused and was told that it was done in order "to improve his character". He later said that the faculty had discouraged him from writing, which then resulted in depression for young Hans Christian.
The tale of The Ugly Duckling, published in November, 1843 is the story of a plain-looking little bird, born in a barnyard. He is ridiculed, teased and picked on for being ugly. Even his family wished that “the farm cat would get him” and that “he had never been born”. He finally decides to run away, and at the risk of being killed, approaches a flock of swans, where, to his amazement, he realizes his true identity.
One of the most important messages from the story reads: “It doesn't matter about being born in a duckyard, as long as you are hatched from a swan's egg”. The story of reflection and self-realization is timeless, and resonates with all who have, at some point, but especially in childhood, felt alone, misunderstood, unloved, unimportant, undesirable, too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too ugly or unwanted in any number of ways, who learn and realize their true identity. It speaks to the inner greatness within each of us; to the Divine in every soul.
The Hans Christian Andersen Limited Edition Collection is the 38th in the David Oscarson™ series of Limited Edition writing instruments. Available as either Fountain Pen or Roller ball, the collection continues in the spirit of artistic mastery and the tradition of Old World craftsmanship by combining the centuries-old technique of Guilloché with the art and expertise of Hard Enamel.
Using a mortar and pestle, a composition of glass, water and metal oxides is ground for hours by hand. When settled, the water is removed, leaving the fine paste that is the basis for hard enamel. A quill is then used to apply each coat of the mixture to the surface of the solid Sterling Silver, ensuring that the entire guilloché area is completely covered in enamel.
The components are then fired in a furnace at temperatures exceeding 1,000° F, fusing the enamel to the metal and forming a layer of glass.
After cooling, the pieces are manually ground with a diamond file, restoring their proper shape and surface. This tedious process is repeated at length until the level of enamel reaches the depth required to cover the peaks and fill the valleys of each intricate guilloché pattern. When the final stages of firing are completed, the pieces are polished and buffed, revealing the velvet finish of translucent hard enamel.
Production of translucent hard enamel demands the highest levels of patience, experience and skill. A five-year apprenticeship is required to ensure that the highest levels of quality will be met in each individual Collection piece.
The Ugly Duckling collection will be produced in five color variations, each limited to an aggregate production of 70 pieces, one for each year of H.C. Andersen’s illustrious life. The collection stands as a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen’s understanding of intolerance, persecution, courage, endurance, perseverance, and self-realization and illumination.
Beginning at the bottom of the pen barrel, engraved in high and low relief, are a hatching egg and shell fragments, featured in either white or opalescent hot enamel. Just above, three ducklings and footprints are engraved in low relief as the clear water meets the duckyard. Also present is the signet (baby swan), featured in mid relief (still in the duckyard, but engraved at a visibly higher level than the ducklings). The signet and the ducklings are all intentionally positioned underneath the enamel in the duckyard area as they represent the dark memories of the beautiful swan’s early life; still visible, but only within the confines of the distant past.
Outlined in high relief, the magnificent mature Swan is featured in guilloche and hot enamel. His reflection is mirrored below, on the pen barrel, over the rippled water pattern. The pen clip features a cracking egg and adorning the top of the crown is the renowned signature of H.C. Andersen.