Being married to an antique dealer is always full of surprises and last week was no exception! Lennox appeared struggling through the door of our showrooms with the most amazing diorama constructed of cork and incorporated in the original gilt decorated frame.
The picture of a landscape depicts a grand building by the side of a lake.
Two notes that accompany the picture provide further information. A hand-written paper label affixed to the rear of the picture frame explains: ‘This remarkable specimen was bought in Brighton January 1918 . . . it was in a cork frame and evidently at least 60 years old. On the frame was the name of this picture as below . . . CRIPSHOLM’.
The second note, a small and worn card tucked into the front of the picture frame, says ‘GRIPSHOLM Chateau Royale Suide, sur une des êles du lac Maclar’. The reason for the annotation in French is not known.
Part of the Swedish royal family’s heritage, Gripsholm Castle is located on the shores of Lake Mälaren, approximately 70 km west of Stockholm, by the small town of Mariefred in Södermanland. The castle was built for King Gustav Vasa in 1537.
The picture is constructed mainly from cork sheet, with details of the lake and sky being represented in watercolour on paper. The whole work is housed in a heavy gilt frame measuring 78cm x 100cm.
It was in the possession of a family in Brighton whose relations ran a cork importing and manufacturing business in the east end of London during the nineteenth century.
Web reference: http://www.royalcourt.se/royalcourt/royalpalaces/gripsholmcastle/thepalacepark.4.396160511584257f2180004320.html
Diorama's were very popular in the 19th century until around 1880. Most commonly seen are models of sailing vessels displayed in glass cabinets. Diorama's were also used as mobile theatres.
This one is a very fine example and particularly large in size. We will be exhibiting it on our stand at the BADA Antiques and Fine Art Fair at the Duke of Yorks Square.