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Early 19th century Swedish Röllakan tapestries | From a Private Collection

A group of early 19th century Swedish tapestry hangings from a Private Collection were offered in the auction of Fine Interiors | 19 November 2019


The history of this particular type of tapestry can be traced to Skåne, Sweden’s southernmost county. Until 1658 the area belonged to Denmark and Flemish weavers brought their tapestry weaving skills to the region. After Sweden successfully claimed ownership of Skåne the profile of the area plunged, and at the same time the Flemish weavers who had traditionally woven chair and bench covers saw demand for their products fall as leather, silk and velvet became fashionable. As the weavers inevitably became redundant they retreated to the Swedish countryside, where successive generations of peasant women took up and perpetuated their traditional weaving craft.


The creation of smaller flat woven textiles in Skåne took off significantly in the era from the late 18th century and into the 19th century. As with the group here, these pieces featured very lively floral and animal imagery, as well as biblical scenes and when adopted and copied by consecutive weavers would become recognised motifs. Such tapestries would invariably be created for and would make up a girl’s dowry. Whereas tapestries professionally produced by factories such as Gobelin feature shading, depth and perspective in their designs, these hangings are bright and bold in colour with charming, highly stylised images.


This collection of tapestry hangings was previously in the collection of Baron and Baroness Nils Gabriel Djarklou of Sörby. Born in 1827 in the early 17th century mansion at Sörby, Baron Djarklou would later be known as the ‘Grand Old Man of Närke’. The Baron played a key role in the project to lower the level of Lake Hjälmaren, Sweden’s fourth largest lake located in the south central province of Närke. The scheme ran for nine years from 1878 and freed up land for agricultural purposes as well as reducing the risk of floods in the area.

Showing on the previous page: Early 19th century Swedish Röllakan tapestry hanging, of reindeers with birds within two medallions, with heart, chicken and geometric borders, 102cm wide, 48cm high; sold for £813
N.B. All sold for prices include buyer’s premium at 25%


Early 19th century Swedish Röllakan tapestry hanging, with two wreaths enclosing wolves and houses with flowerhead and leaf borders, 98cm wide, 46cm high

Sold for £500

Early 19th century Swedish Röllakan tapestry hanging, with two wreaths enclosing the visitation of the Archangel Gabriel with Mary, with winged amorini above and floral and leaf borders, 101cm wide, 51cm high

Sold for £1,125

Early 19th century pair of Swedish Röllakan tapestry hangings, in various colours, with sections of geometric patterns and lozenges and hearts, each 138cm wide, 53cm high

Sold for £475