Friday, June 29, 2012

Swedish Palaces

Drottingholm Palace - the summer residence

Drottningholm Palace. Photo: Norberg Design AB/Dick Norberg.

Interior Drottningholm Palace. Photo: The Royal Court/Alexis Daflos.
Throughout the years Drottningholm Palace has changed and the royal personages who lived here have left their mark on the palace's interiors – influenced by changes in style and fashion trends.

Hedvig Eleonora, Lovisa Ulrika and Gustav III have all contributed markedly to the interior decoration of the reception halls.
Hedvig Eleonora's state bedchamber was the heart of the state reception suite in the 1600s and was created by the country's foremost artists and craftsmen.
You will also find a series of rooms decorated for Gustav III during the 1700s, amongst others the Chinese Salon featuring the popular trend of that period – chinoiserie.
The reception halls are open year round for visitors. Also available are guided tours for individuals, guided tours for groups, theme visits as well as guided tours for children.

 Photo: The Royal Court
Since the reign of Johan III's there has been a palace garden at Drottningholm.
At that time it was primarily a utility garden and was situated approximately where the parking area, east of the theatre, is located today.
The park and gardens at Drottningholm have been developed in three stages, inspired by three main styles.
Photo: The Royal Court

Queen Hedvig Eleonora

The oldest garden was planted at the end of the 1600s upon the initiative of Queen Hedvig Eleonora.
The work was headed by the palace architects Tessin – father and son. This part of the garden is known as the baroque garden and is situated directly adjacent to the palace, enclosed by four lime-tree lined avenues.

The architects were inspired by newly planted palace gardens in France at the time, where the ideal was strict, ordered and symmetrical.
The baroque garden lay in disrepair during the 1800s but was restored in the 1950–60s by Gustaf VI Adolf.
Photo: The Royal Court

The parterre de broderi

Closest to the palace lies the parterre de broderi, which originally had an intricate embroidery pattern of box-wood hedges and coloured gravel.
Today, these have been replaced by a large lawn with box-wood hedges on the outer edges as well as a band of crushed brick and black hyperite.
Photo: The Royal Court

Adriaen de Vries

At the centre stands the Hercules fountain – bronze figures created by the sculptor Adriaen de Vries.
All the bronze sculptures located in the park are created by de Vries and came to Sweden as booty after wars in Prague 1648 and Fredriksborg 1659.

After a walled terrace comes the parterre d´eau with ten jets of water and lawns enclosed by box-wood hedges.
Photo: The Royal Court

Seven cascades

A cascade construction made of seven cascades on each side of the centre avenue make up the background of the parterres – a liberal free interpretation of the original Tessin cascades, which were torn down a the beginning of the 1800s .
Beyond the cascades lie four hedge groves and the crown fountain. Today the groves remain as they were formed during the 1700s.
The southwest grove contains a theatre of leaves, with hedges forming the walls and stage.
Photo: The Royal Court

Muncken's hill

Between the groves and Muncken's hill at the bottom of the baroque garden lie the high-grown remains of the star hedge formation, made up of pruned hedges.

The parterres situated at the palace´s water front are a reconstruction of those from 1723.
Photo: The Royal Court

A more "natural" park

In the middle of the 1700s a garden was built around the Chinese Pavilion. At this time, the strict, symmetrical garden ideal began to be abandoned for a more natural park.
Queen Lovisa Ulrika was inspired by this new line of thought and commissioned the Chinese Pavilion's architect, Carl Fredrik Adelkrantz, to plant chestnut tree-lined avenues around the Chinese Pavilion so visitors could view the landscape.
The groves to the east of the Chinese Pavilion were planted as bowers for carefree open air rendezvous.

Exotic birds

Large aviaries were built for exotic birds. One remains – however it has undergone significant alterations and differs greatly from its original form.  
A menagerie was built beyond the groves, however all that is left today is a pond.
Behind the pavilion itself lies a tree grove containing a mix of Swedish trees, giving a “wild" impression and providing a frame of nature romanticism to the Chinese Pavilion.

King Gustav III

When Gustav III took over Drottningholm in 1777, he wished to make room for the new park ideal from England – the natural landscape park or English garden.
Fredrik Magnus Piper, who studied these gardens first hand in England, was commissioned in 1780 to create such a garden to the north of the baroque garden.
This garden is made up of two ponds with canals, islets and beautiful bridges, expansive lawns as well as tree-lined avenues and tree groves. Walkways wind themselves all around the park.

The English garden

Viewing paths stretch through the English garden and partly through the baroque garden providing beautiful viewpoints and landscape vistas.
Only a few of all the romantic buildings that were planned for the English garden were completed – for instance the neo-Gothic style tower.
Photo: The Royal Court
Copies of ancient marble statues are found at a number of locations in the park. The originals were purchased by Gustav III during his journey to Italy in 1783-84.
The intention was to provide beautiful surprises amongst the foliage or a visual endpoint from a distance.


South of the baroque garden towards Lake Mälaren lies Kungsängen and a small canal system, developed in the 1800s. Oscar II and his family planted their oak tree here on October 30, 1881.
The tradition was continued by Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973 and by Carl XVI Gustaf in 1996.

The Stockholm Palace

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