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The story behind the Hans Christian Andersen tablecloth

Most of us know about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales – magical stories that continue to be relevant for adults and children alike. We are proud to have a Hans Christian Andersen tablecloth in our collection. It’s a tablecloth that has passed through many hands throughout the course of time. Our customers often ask us about the story behind the design and precisely this tablecloth has a fantastic story.


The 1920s

Knud V. Engelhardt commenced work on the design in 1928. Knud was also responsible for designing the Georg Jensen Damask logo. Unfortunately, the task proved more difficult than both Engelhardt and Henrik Georg Jensen imagined it would be. It took several years to design the various motifs and the tablecloth was never finished.  The collaboration between Henrik Georg Jensen and Knud V. Engelhardt ceased in 1929/30, after some vehement exchanges of correspondence concerning the production of furniture for the Jensen family home.

The 1950s

Inger M. Blegvad Klint worked on the design for several years and finished the classic motifs for the H. C. ANDERSEN TABLECLOTH in 1951. She drew her inspiration from both the fairy tales and her travels, where among other things, she was inspired by the various figurines and museums. The first version of the H. C. ANDERSEN damask tablecloth was launched in 1951 at a large textile trade fair in the town of Fredericia, where Queen Ingrid of Denmark was the first customer to buy the tablecloth for 30 people.

The 1990s

Times changed and the tablecloth was removed from the collection in 1963. The original drawings for the designs were framed and have adorned the walls in Kolding ever since. The idea for relaunching the tablecloth emerged in 1990/91, when Georg Jensen Damask was preparing the retrospective exhibitions of weaving at the Trapholt Art Museum in Kolding and the Danish Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen respectively. New technology and a desire for a more contemporary pattern of expression meant that Bent Georg Jensen could rework the motifs into an entirely new entity, as well being able to design a supplementary motif; “The Little Mermaid”. The damask tablecloth was relaunched in 1995 and is now a classic in our collection.

The design

The fairy tale motifs illustrate “The Swineherd”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Clumsy Hans”, “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Princess on the Pea” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”. Other illustrations include the big dog from the “The Tinderbox” and the great General from “The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep”. The motifs are supplemented by reprints of Hans Christian Andersen’s paper cuts of the “Sandman”, the “Dancer”, the “Castle and the little Troll with outstretched arms” and finally, Bent Georg Jensen’s motif of “The Little Mermaid”. The entire design is consolidated by a parade of tin soldiers, one of which is “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, who has been placed randomly in the row, standing on one leg.
Psst…The tablecloth is often used for family birthday parties. Here you can see how to lay the tablecloth for a child’s birthday party.

If you are interested in the tablecloth, you can find it here:

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN tablecloth in the colour Gardenia
Napkins in the colour Gardenia

About Damask

Georg Jensen Damask is a culture bearer within Danish design tradition as well as the history of craft. Our history is built on proud weaving traditions since 1756, but members of the family behind Georg Jensen Damask have been weavers all the way back to the 1500s.  The weaving is based on a classic design with a focus on functionality and quality both back then and today.

Throughout times we have worked together with some of the most acknowledged weavers, designers and architects, for example Arne Jacobsen, Cecilie Manz, Andreas Engesvik, Margrethe Odgaard and Nanna Ditzel. Furthermore, we have been involved in several projects with the Royal Danish Court and we are proud to call ourselves Purveyor to Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark.

Customer service

If you have any questions concerning an order, please contact us