Saturday, 4 June 2016

Swedish Adventure 2016 - Part 3

 24 April 2016
Apparently I slept though the longest loudest thunderstorm last night, and torrential rain, too!  It's all this fresh air.  And today, we are visiting Carl Larsson-Garden. That's not garden as we know it.  It means the Carl Larsson Estate. The painting below is not in the Sundborn House, but it was painted there.  This is Larson's oldest daughter painting her own room in her father's style.  It's called "Suzanne and Another" because of the workman outside.  If you are observant, you will wonder why it isn't called Suzanne and Two Others (look at the shoes at the other window), but there you are!  This was a room of her own at Sundborn, added on especially for her.

CARL LARSSON, "SUZANNE OCH EN ANN' ", 1901 It's in private hands and a few years ago it went for nearly half a million pounds at auction, so I am unlikely ever to see it in the life.  I love it though.

I bought two huge books about Larsson and his painting whilst here... and found out some interesting facts too.  But the one that struck me most was about German Soldiers in WW1.  When going off to war, they carried their Army instruction book so that they got things right.  They carried a bible, so that God was with them.  And many of them also took one of Larsson's books - "Home" - which is a book of paintings of this house and his family...... because home is was what they were fighting for.  Odd but true fact, this little book sold over half a million in Germany when first published.  A hell of a lot of books back then.

When we arrive at the village, we can't see the house, but we find a car park.  In it there is a coach and one car (ours), so it seems a quiet morning and we may get time to look at everything a bit longer.  Only a couple of signs to follow and eventually we find another car park (8 cars this time), and walk round the fence and in through the gate.  I'm here!  OH!  It's 10.00 am and the next tour is 11.00.  So I settle in for a look at everything in the shop, buy our tickets, and generally get excited.

Eventually our guide tells us it's time.  She's dressed in an overall like the girl in the painting above, but hers is grey and white stripe.  We walk round the side and in through that porch on the left and we're in!

No pictures can be taken inside the house, but that's OK, my brain is taking a dozen a second and we have a guide book in English to help us out as this particular tour is in Swedish.  She knows we are English so every so often she tells us something if we look puzzled and answers any questions we have.

The Verandah - Carl Larsson

 Here is the same door we entered by, but painted by himself.  We found out that the Larssons were forever changing the layout of the house by adding rooms on in an ad hoc fashion.  He started with a small studio here, but eventually added a much bigger one, with huge windows for lots more light.  Here it is below.  You can see a couple of paintings on the door there - he painted on all the doors, and lots of other bits of the house too.

After the house, we came out into the garden and although it was a damp grey day, we had a good look round.  Here's a little bridge over a cutting which allowed boats right up into the garden (presumably to be put away in winter?  Or perhaps to load a picnic?)

This is a wonderful little building that you might think was a folly.  But no - it was built simply to hide the well and the pump for safety.  This way it could be locked and the children would have no accidents falling down the well.

As you can see from the pictures, a little too early for much to be in flower, but they liked big colour;  the garden had peonies, iris, Siberian poppies amongst other plantings, and certainly this is still replicated now.  We see everything growing well, so it will be ablaze in another 3 - 6 weeks. Again the apple trees and the lilac.   We have a lovely lunch in the restaurant on site, and then back to the gift shop (well, I may never get there again!). In the village there is an old building which has recently opened with an exhibition about Larsson, including the fact that his father didn't like him as much as his brother,  Strindberg seemed to detest him because of all those "sunny pictures", and he was prone to depression in later life.  A good exhibition, in an interesting building.  All in all a lovely day so back to the little red house loaded with three very large books about him and his paintings, some postcards and bookmarks and in my head, lots of memories.