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When Crown Prince Gustaf returned from Versailles in 1771 to ascend the throne of Sweden, he was determined to give his country a leading place in Europe culturally as well as politically.
The style he fostered—Neoclassicism—was itself an international movement; there are echos in the interiors displayed here of the Louis XVI and Empire modes. Pieces of furniture may reflect French, English, or German influences, or be copied from objects discovered at Pompeii—but all are suffused by a distinctively Swedish freshness and the northern light.
From royal salons to modest spatter-painted Biedermeier halls, Hakan Groth and Fritz von der Schulenburg open the doors on an astonishing sequence of interiors; some, intensely private, are little known even in Sweden. The evocative photographs, all specially taken for this book, present in detail the decoration and furnishings of twenty houses and apartments. The text traces the evolution of the Neoclassical style in Sweden, placing it in its wider European context, and explores each of the buildings and its history. Plans, and original drawings by the architects and designers, complete the picture. These beautiful interiors are of unique value today not only as treasure houses of superb craftsmanship but also as a stimulus to contemporary decorators, and as a reminder that an international language can be spoken in a delightfully personal way.