Why did it all start at 1650?

by Liza Laserow

Queen Kristina who ruled Sweden between 1632 and 1654. Daughter of King  Gustav II Adolf and  Queen Maria Eleonora av Brandenburg.

Drottningholm Castle. Built during 1662–1750 by the three famous architects  Nicodemus Tessin d.ä (the older),  Nicodemus Tessin d.y (the younger). and Carl Hårleman. 1777 the Swedish government bought the castle and owns it to this day where the royal family lives.

The Château de Versailles.  Started as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it to have the court and government of France moved to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there added their own parts to it up until the French Revolution 1789.

The swedish furniture history takes off around 1650. Why is that?

The Baroque period was developed in Italy during the 1500’s with voluptuous curves, highfaluting and overdone shapes and forms, and reached its peak 1620-30. The furniture now started to become important and the goal was to create an homogeneous looking interior and the style spread to the rest of Europe.1648 Sweden ,after 30 years of war, entered a time of peace. It was now a super power so the grand Baroque look suited Sweden’s highly important position. Queen Kristina and Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie ruled the country and made the art and culture flourish.  Furniture were imported to the castles and manor houses that got luxurious interiors where gilt wood became the highest fashion. Foreign artists and architects were invited to help with the new trend that was already in full bloom in the rest of Europe: Baroque. Famous buildings such as the Royal castle in Stockholm, Drottningholm was built, during this period.

During this period of time countries like Holland and Germany were the inspiration thanks to the trade made over seas. Dutch artists traveled to Sweden and Swedish students from nobel families went to study at the University in Leiden, Germany. 1672 France invaded Flanders and Holland and as a result the Dutch culture was now replaced by the an extravagant version brought to life by Louise XIV –  Le Roi Soleil or the Sun King. The Baroque style from france was a more classic style than the Italian. Louis XIV who identified himself with the god Apollo treated life as a theater while the furniture became tools for his set design.  Via a close relationship with France Sweden could closely follow the developing style. While the French version of Baroque became the nobel way to decorate the middle class’s interiors had a simpler and darker look inspired by England and Holland. Towards the end of the Baroque period Sweden’s wealth started to impoverish thanks to the unsuccessful wars of Karl XII and led to that the growth of the grand style had to be toned down. Thats why the style of middles class got a dominating role in the following period.


The mystic Queen Kristina

Important furniture during the Baroque period