Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Some recent articles on the Bernadottes

The November issue of Antikvärlden (no 11-2009) takes a look at the design work of three Bernadotte princes – Eugen, Sigvard and Carl Philip. Prince Eugen is best remembered as a painter, but he also tried his hand at design. His octagonal flower pots (pictured right) are his best-known design works as they are still sold at Waldemarsudde, his former home which is now a museum. Other items designed by Prince Eugen are also on display there and in the homes of his brothers’ descendants I have seen some beautiful pieces of silver made after his designs.
The article by Märta Holkers focuses on silver in particular. Prince Carl Philip, who is educated a designer from Rhode Island School of Design in the USA and from Forsbergs skola in Stockholm, made his design debut in March this year with a set of cutlery called CPB 2091. Silver was also a material which appealed to Carl Philip’s great-uncle and Eugen’s great-nephew Sigvard Bernadotte, who, after losing his royal status by marrying a commoner, made a name for himself as an industrial designer. Holkers points out that Sigvard was the first Bernadotte who was able to make a living from his artistic talents. The article also draws the lines back to the artistically gifted children of King Oscar I – King Carl XV, Prince Gustaf and Princess Eugénie.
In the latest issue of Queen (no 7-2009) Roger Lundgren writes about the life of Princess Sibylla, summarising his 2007 biography of King Carl Gustaf’s mother. The magazine also includes some extracts from his interviews with Queen Margrethe and other Danish royals for his upcoming book on Queen Ingrid on the occasion of her centenary next March. In the same issue we learn that the magazine’s readers have voted for Skokloster for the title “Sweden’s most beautiful palace”, pushing Drottningholm Palace into second place and Elghammar Manor into third (of the ten candidates I think I would have given my vote to the latter).
Some weeks ago Svensk Damtidning (no 41-2009) had an article on Swedish royal jewellery, interviewing court jeweller Christian Bolin. With his sister Anita he runs the firm W. A. Bolin, which since its foundation in 1791 has been court jeweller to three Swedish kings and five Russian emperors, making it the oldest family-owned jeweller still in existence. As court jeweller Bolin is in charge of both the Crown Regalia and the jewellery belonging to the Swedish royal family. Much of it is actually owned by family foundations, which Christian Bolin explains by the fact that the pieces of jewellery brought to Sweden by Queen Josephina were so exquisite that one realised Sweden would never be able to replace them. He mentions the so-called “Leuchtenberg sapphires” as one of the most valuable parures because of the high quality of its stones – if one of the sapphires is lost today it will be nearly impossible to replace it with a stone of the same colour and quality.

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