In April I wrote that I hoped to visit Drottningholm Palace whilst I was in Sweden. Well, it was a flying visit but my mission was accomplished! I saw both the Chinese Pavilion and the Court Theatre. I hope to return to Stockholm and review them at a more leisurely pace. However, I was thrilled by the bits that I did get to see and very thankful that my generous host took the trouble to drive me there. The Chinese Pavilion served as a retreat for the 18th century King and Queen of Sweden. It is only a 15 minute stroll from the main palace and is a small complex of buildings built and decorated in the Chinoiserie style.
To find similar designs in stencil form type 'Greek Key' into the search box on our web site; also see stencil F25 Coach-line Corner, IN30 Chinese Railings, 45 Brighton Pavilion and much of our Chinese Style collection. The colours on the exterior of the buildings are a dusky rose hue alongside a buttery shade of ochre. The roof and the iron work are the colour of jade.
The planting featured the same colours.
I had never seen such eery, tortured looking trees and found them fascinating, does any one know details of this technique? If you do please let me know.
One of the roles of the pleasure palace was to 'amuse, astonish and delight' the owners and their guests. The doors would be opened to the awaiting guests ...probably with more than a little theatricality so that the audience would be surprised and awed by the beauty of each room as they travelled their way through the building being astonished, delighted and amused as each vista was revealed to them.
From the central hallway on the lower floor of the pavilion one can travel the blue or the green corridor; I placed them together on my picture.
Both these passages used to be ornate, whether they will be again I do not know but at the moment they offer a contrast for the splendour of the rooms at either end of the pavilion; one room is green and the other is blue... both are delightful.
On the day that I visited Drottningholm the sky was dull and overcast so I was not seeing the ornamentation at its best.
The attendant in the green room described how the gold highlights on the paintwork shimmer in sunshine and how the light reflects from the various surfaces and makes the room sparkle.
His enthusiasm for the decoration matched my own, it may even have surpassed it. He was brilliant, all the guides were. I am disappointed that my photos are not as sharp as I would have liked, I think the faults were a combination of over excitement, being in a hurry and possibly still having my macro lense on. Anyway, I hope you get a flavour of the place from the pictures. Not all the rooms featured painted Chinoiserie; some were home to collections of orientally inspired furniture and porcelain,
others featured silks on the walls or early hand painted wallpaper.
One of the buildings housed a confidential room. This was a dining room where the table and cabinets could be lowered to servants in a room below; they would be emptied of used plates and debris then restocked with food and returned to the dining room by strong men and pulleys. This is a room where secrets could be discussed and not overheard by the staff.
Can you see the areas of floor that were lowered? I wonder if the diner's legs were left dangling over the abyss when the floor and table disappeared. The decoration in this room is simple and austere compared to the rest of the place. The walls are painted with a two colour marble effect and I love the shade of blue paint on the chairs. I was not able to visit this room so I am grateful that the Drottningholm team keep their windows clean enough to photograph through them!
I have a couple of Chinoiserie stencils that are not on our website that I will show you soon. It will be a special offer for our blog readers and social media followers. The stencils can give the effect of the panels in the blue and green rooms, also coming soon will be a short report on my visit to the Court Theatre at Drottningholm and a couple of other decorative wonders to see in Sweden.