20 May 2009

It's my birthday soon, you know...

Fortunately, it's very easy to find presents for me. I wish for nothing more than this portrait this year:
1784, Oil on canvas by Carl Fredrik von Breda.

The sitter is Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta, duchess of Södermanland and later queen of Sweden. I was thrilled to see this portrait, because you always get the same two portraits of her in books et al:

Usually this (by Roslin, where she's wearing her wedding gown, which is currently at display at the Versailles exhibition)

and sometimes this (also by von Breda).

Hedvig Elisabet Charlotta was married to Carl, duke of Södermanland and brother of king Gustaf III, in 1774 when she was but 15 years old.
Carl wasn't exactly thrilled about the marriage but the king and his queen Sofia Magdalena had failed to produce any offspring at all so it was crucial that someone in the royal family carried on with the business.

Ironically, Charlotta's and Carl's marriage was fruitless until 1797 when Charlotta bore a stillborn daughter. One year later she gave birth to a son who died after only a week.

Carl wasn't quite the most faithful of husbands, which his wife knew well enough (as did everyone...) but she would stoically tolerate and/or ignore his affairs (and would at a time dryly confess that his temper was more agreeable when he was happy with one of his mistresses).
Hedvig Charlotta has made herself immortal by her journals which she wrote during the greater part of her life. They are written in the form of monthly bulletins and contain inside information on most important events that took place in the circles of the court and thereabout, as well as the fair dose of lighter gossip.
The 'diaries', as they're usually depicted, were written in French (and a very poor such, or so I've heard...) but were translated into Swedish and published in the early 1900's and is a veritable goldmine for historians and dilettants alike!

Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta died in 1818, only months after her husband, and had stated in her will that the journals were not to be read until 50 years after her passing.

Anyway, if you find the above portrait to expensive for a gift for little me, there are lots of other yummy 18th c portraits up for auction at Uppsala Auktionskammare next month. Any of them will do, really!

Thanks in advance!


  1. Maybe you can buy a reproduction miniature?

    Happy Birthday!

  2. What? You mean I can't have the original?!? *cries* Oh well, I downloaded, for free, a high-res image from the auctioneer's website ;)

  3. I understands why you wants it, because it's really pretty and colourful.
    But I've never realized how big HEC's nose was! Is it just Mr von Breda or what? I wish we had a death mask of her, but I don't think that anyone exists...

  4. I don't know either if a such exists, but if it did, it would probably not be fair to her since the nose usually looks much bigger in an aged persons face than it did when its owner was in his/her prime :P

  5. No doubt such an aficionado as your estimable self is already aware of The Three Graces, but here is the site just in case:


    They deal in genuine antique jewelry gleaned from estate sales & such, with commensurate pricing unfortunately. The range is all the way from medieval times to about the 1950s, with the bulk of pieces dating from late 18th to early 20th centuries. Gorgeous detailed photos from all angles let one see construction details, and item descriptions often describe trends & events that influenced the design.

    Worth a stroll through, certainly.

    ~ An Unmarriageable Hoyden

  6. Ah, yes, I have indeed been to that site, but not of lately so thanks for the reminder! (I wouldn't mind something from there for my 28th b-day either, dear husband, should you perchance read this...)

  7. Hobbies plays a key role for the people who really came to the earth for this purpose, one or the other day people around the world would be discussing about the people who have collected Many World Coins,monuments, old stamps, old notes who will be positioned in the world of Guinness records.

  8. Hello Madame! I see you have a very nice blog. Very interesting =)

  9. Thank you Anabel. I'll try to be more frequent with the updates though.