9 Jul 2010

Summertime fun: A trip to Gripsholm

Me and my darling spouse made a day-trip to the little town by the Mälaren lake, Mariefred, last Wednesday.

While the town itself is charming, filled with tiny doll-sized houses and situated so beautifully by the lake...
...the Thing To See is the Gripsholm palace.

The palace not only houses the National Portrait Collection which features portraits from the 16th century to our days, but also many examples on architecture and interiors from decades past (and of course all those little quirky things one loves about old castles: small staircases leading to no-one-knows, dusky dungeons and creaking floorboards...)

Photography was not allowed, and I was too chicken to take stealth-shots (without flash, of course) because of the many guards...

That means that the gift shop got me to buy a number of post cards, at least!

Forgive my old, faithful scanner his faults:

Prince Fredrik Adolf, Duke of Ostrogothia, painted by Roslin in 1770

Courtisane, a dog. David Klöcker Ehrenstral's atelier, second half 17th century

Carl Fredrik von Breda, self-portrait

The hen-picture, with queen Lovisa Ulrika's ladies-in-waiting. Mid-18th century, possibly by Johan Pasch (if you really must compare women to poultry, I suppose this is the most stylish way of doing so...)

Princess Sofia Albertina's rooms.

The green salon. See why I wanted to take pictures so badly?!?

Duke Carl's chamber. Mostly original 16th century.

One of the really unique sights: King Gustaf III's theatre. Tiny, but fully working with machinery and all!

This charming fella's name is Adolf Ludvig Stierneld but I knew nothing about him when I bought the card. Now I know that he was the person who started to organize the portrait collection at the palace, which would have suited his history sense well. He collected historical documents and was considered something of an authority and expert in his own time. Today, however, many of his so-called "historical documents" have been exposed as blatant forgeries made by himself, often to make his ancestors look more important.


I have visited Gripsholm many times since my childhood but it's like a new experience every time, because you always discover something you didn't see before. There are so many rooms, so unique in their own way, and so many fantastic portraits... And if that's not anough for you, then there's always...


Before we left for Stockholm, we visited the town's small but charming museum which showed the home of a well-to-do family in the late 19th century.

I could take pictures, and we can haz costumes:

...and creepy dolls.

After a cup of coffee and home-baked pastries in the museum's lovely garden, we boarded the 107-year old steamship Mariefred and had a very pleasant journey home!


  1. Very cool! I liked the creepy dolls!

    Amy B

    PS: Come and check out my blog, too!

  2. Darn you Swedes and your lovely interiors - somehow those rooms manage all that baroque and rococo excess and decoration while still being airy and bright and looking like comfortable spaces! I don't even like yellow that much, but Princess Sofia Albertina's room is absolutely gorgeous - I want to live there!

    Looks like a lovely trip, except for the creepy dolls [shudder!].

  3. Just lovely! I wish we had anything pre 1850's in the Northwest. Sigh... we must be content with our younger houses.

  4. Looks like a very lovely time, thanks for posting all of the postcards! That little spaniel is so adorable, it reminds me of my Cavalier King Charles, "Reinette".

  5. What a lovely trip. I especially like Duke Carl's chamber. And what can one say about the ladies in waiting, chicken painting. It is too werid! Do you know any history behind the painting? I'm intrigued to say the least.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. Jag vill också besöka Gripsholm! Men du verkar ha haft kul i alla fall och det är trevligt.

    Drottning Sophia Magdalenas förmak (den gröna salongen) har inte speciellt tilltalande tapeter (från 1840-talet) måste jag säga. (Vad kan det vara för stil? Sen Karl Johansstil? Biedermeier? Jag vet inte...) Likadana - fast i den mer smickrande färgen blå - finns på Karl XIV Johans slott Rosendal.

    Sophia Albertinas sängkammare är förstås mycket ljuvlig! (Vill du se en riktigt stor bild av detta rum så ska du besöka Nationalmuseums hemsida och gå in på Om oss->För press och media->Pressbilder->Gripsholms slott och Statens Porträttsamling. Där kan du se rummet i mer detalj, om du inte redan memorerat det förstås.)

    Vet du vad jag har hört? När man restaurerade Gustaf III:s Haga, så lär man ha gjort de blå sängkammartapeterna (och de identiska i det blå förmaket) i samma bleka nyans som de gula i prinsessans sängkammare. Dock har man senare tagit bort listerna i sovgemaket på Gripsholm och då framträdde en ljusskyddad, mörkare nyans. Dessutom hittade man en mycket färggrann savonneriematta - som på Gustaf III:s tid prytt hans sovrumsgolv - och dess blå färg är betydligt mörkare än den på tapeterna. Man vill ju gärna tro att man låtit matcha tapeter och matta åtminstone en liten smula bättre.

  7. WOW! I want to go here!!! I love the portrait of the hens, how totally BIZARRE

  8. Aimée: I will, glad you liked the dolls!

    Clare: Oh, I wish I could've taken pictures because there were other rooms much more simple and artless (servants' quarters and so) yet so elegant and beautiful in their simplicity.

    Lauren: You know, I'm not a royalist in heart, but one of the advantages with monarchy is that places like these are being looked after and kept open to the public :)

    Olympe: You're welcome! I thought it was a spaniel - seems I was right! I'm not good at dog breeds...

    Finegan Antiques: There is indeed a story to that portrait, I believe it deserves a post of its own in a near future...

    Augusta: Åh vad påläst du är! Jag gick helt utan vising eller guidebok denna gång, för att bara "supa in"...

    Am. Duchess: I know, that portrait is worth a visit alone!

  9. Jag går alltid utan guide (är nog lite rädd för dem...), om man får. I Haga paviljongen är det dock ett måste.