Thursday 30 June 2011

Lars Sjoberg, hero of Swedish Heritage Conservation ... Restorer of the Gustavian Style.

Gustav III of Sweden

In 1771, the future Gustav III returned to his native Sweden from the French court of Versailles to ascend the throne as king after his father’s sudden death. The young monarch had been profoundly inspired by French Neoclassical architecture and decorative arts. Later trips to France and Italy gave further impetus to Gustav’s passion for the classical. During his reign (1772-1792), Sweden rose to a level of architectural and cultural sophistication never known before. The king transformed this once removed European country into the “Paris of the North,” setting a standard of style for most levels of Swedish society that continued well into the 19th century.

Early Gustavian decoration was clearly inspired by the French Neo-classical movement but the late Gustavian style was more closely identified with Italy after engravings inspired by the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum began to circulate in Sweden following the return of Swedish court architects and artisans such as Rehn, Adelcrantz and the Masreliez brothers. Following these foreign impulses the Swedes created a more restrained or austere style of decoration more suitable for Sweden than the over embellished Baroque and Rococo styles.

‘I feel very strongly that it is ultimately damaging to our humanity if we surround ourselves with things that are not worth maintaining and restoring. It must affect our psyches to know that we live in an ephemeral world, bequeathing little of value to the coming generations.’

My goals have always been to salvage and reveal hidden qualities wherever possible. I feel that if we bulldoze or strip away the past we are depriving the next generation of an essential part of their cultural heritage.’
Lars Sjoberg

Lars Sjöberg is an art historian and curator of the National Museum of Stockholm.
He is a well-known author of beautiful published books about Swedish furniture.
He is mentionned in a lot of international magazines.
In the 1990's he designed a Swedish furniture line for Ikea.
Lars Sjöberg owns 6 beautiful houses in Sweden.

Lars Sjoberg is one of Sweden's national treasures. He is as widely known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Sweden's historic houses as he is for his passionate concern to preserve them. Presented here are the eight houses (and one church) that he has acquired over forty years, many of which he bought in order to save them from being demolished. They range from a miniature Baroque manor house to an imposing Italianate Neoclassical villa, from a late 17th-century aristocratic mansion to the two-room dwellings of early 19th-century smelting workers. Each house tells a story giving an insight into why it was built and how it changed with succeeding generations. Each has been lovingly photographed by Ingalill Snitt. Text and pictures combine to show how the appealing style that has come to be recognized as quintessentially Swedish developed from its roots in the late 17th century to flower in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Here are the pale wood floors and muslin curtains, the elegant Gustavian furniture, the gleaming gilded mirrors, the charming painted wall decorations and the simple sprigged or striped fabrics, used in entirely authentic interiors. An art historian and a museum curator, Sjoberg is also a superb self-taught craftsman who believes ardently in the value of learning from the past to preserve the future. His principles are borne out by the meticulous way in which he has restored and conserved his houses. His first and most complex undertaking was the manor of Regnaholm. Built in the 1770s, redecorated in the early years of the 19th century and unoccupied for about forty years when he took it on in 1966, it allowed him to experiment with interior decoration and refurnishing. He has built on this knowledge over the decades, reproducing furniture, having fabrics rewoven and reprinted and lighting and even porcelain copied. This book is a ravishingly beautiful, deeply personal summary of everything Lars Sjoberg has learnt in his years of working and living with classic Swedish interiors.

Table of Contents
Foreword by Ingalill Snitt A Plea for the Past Salaholm Sorby Odenslunda Regnaholm The Brukskontoret at Leufsta Bruk Ekensberg The Hyttan at Dylta Bruk Bratteberg The EFS Church at Bollsta Bruk Index Acknowledgements

About the Author
Lars Sjoberg had a 36-year career at the National Museum in Sweden, and for many of those years he was Senior Curator in the Department of the Royal Castles Collections. During that time he worked on the exhibitions Empire Style, Thought and Form in Rococo and The Sun and the Polar Star (Stockholm and Paris). Since 1990 he has been a consultant on reproduction 18th-century furniture for the National Board of Antiquities and IKEA. He is the author of over fifteen books, including The Swedish Room. Ingalill Snitt specializes in architecture and interior design photography, and also directs television commercials. Her books of photography include Splendore di Sicilia, Swedish -- Light, Shape, Architecture, Living in Norway and two with Lars Sjoberg: The Swedish Room and The Swedish House. Her work is regularly featured in magazines including Elle, Marie Claire, Architectural Digest and The World of Interiors.

Other books by other authors ...

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