[No: XCI| By Viveka Hansen]
In this fifth study from one of my earlier projects – about an 18th century Inventory from Christinehof manor house in southernmost Sweden – fabrics covering candelabras, chandeliers and mirrors will be in focus. In the large Hall on the second floor for instance, ’12 English cut mirror sconces with single candle holders and gilded frames with multum covers’ were listed. Such imported goods of English or French origin were mentioned at several occasions, giving evidence for the aristocratic family’s high standard of living and possibility to own desired luxury wares for their home interior. It was not only such woollen cloth that protected the valuable pieces, as yellow damask and linen qualities were also mentioned in the inventory from 1758.The large Hall on the second floor could not only be illuminated by the twelve mirror sconces mentioned in the introduction, as it additionally was listed ‘1 large carved gilded candelabra lined with yellow damask fabric, and a covering of the whole candelabra with a yellow linen cover.’ To line or decorate a candelabra with cloth of various sorts, seems according to today’s health and safety an exceptional fire hazard, but this was in no way unique for this wealthy household. Åkerö manor house situated somewhat north of the capital – owned by Count Carl Gustaf Tessin – was where a similar Inventory was made-up in 1757. In one dining hall were for example listed: ‘…in the ceiling hung two crystal chandeliers of Bohemian origin, which ropes were lined with red taffeta. In the summer, covered with a fabric of the same quality.’
The interior of Christinehof manor house also included two gilded mirrors of English make, one mentioned as ‘with its cover over’. Other models (5) were described ‘as large and high mirrors with multum covers’, made of more than one piece of glass. A few of these expensive mirror glasses were designed with ornamentally carved and gilded mirror frames. However, manufacturing of mirrors and the regular trade did not only include imported goods, the extensive Stockholm market gives example of these matters. Among others Olof Westerberg was a master in his guild since 1740 and the Frenchman Jean Caspar Callion also worked as a mirror maker in the Swedish capital. Only on one street alone – Västerlånggatan – three mirror shops existed after 1750 and furthermore several furniture shops sold mirrors.
It could also be assumed that some of the mirrors with woollen covers, originated from one or both of these two professionals as the mirror manufacturers were mentioned in several letters from the son Carl Gustaf to his father Carl Fredrik Piper. The son who lived in Stockholm, assisted the father with orders of such goods whilst he stayed at Christinehof or one of the family’s other manor houses outside the capital. Judging by the correspondence, various difficulties seem to have been quite common when large sized mirrors were produced, so the wealthy costumer in the 1760s needed patience for such purchases. It may also be noted that a complex network of family members’ correspondence, various inventory lists, recipes and accounts reveal rich details of 18th century everyday life as well as luxury consumerism, such as these mirrors – all linked to the urban, rural and domestic sphere alike.
The manor house also included a variation of smaller mirrors and more simple light sources – like candle holders of wood or metal that could be moved from one room to another – but with no particular connection to textile materials.
Quotes translated from Swedish to English.
To be continued…
Previous post in this series:
– Wardrobes and Storage of Clothes – At a Manor House in 1758.
– Hansen, Viveka, Inventariüm uppå meübler och allehanda hüüsgeråd sid Christinehofs Herregård upprättade åhr 1758, 2004. (pp. 15-17 & 38-57. A large number of primary and secondary sources were studied for this book. For full Bibliography; please see this book.) The book is available here.
– Hansen, Viveka, Katalog över Högestads & Christinehofs Fideikommiss, Historiska Arkiv (Piperska Handlingar No. 3), London & Christinehof 2016. (English Summary & Captions)
– Historical Archive of Högestad and Christinehof, (Piper Family Archive, no D/Ia & J/10 137).
– Selling, Gösta, Svenska Herrgårdshem under 1700-talet, Stockholm 1937 [quote p. 126].
– Stavenow-Hidemark, Elisabet, 1700-tals Textil – 18th Century Textile, Stockholm 1990 [More samples of molton qualities/Anders Berch Collection, pp. 107-109].
– The National Trust, Manual of Housekeeping – The care of collections in historic houses open to the public, Oxford 2006.
PLEASE REFERENCE AS FOLLOWS:
– Hansen, Viveka, ‘Candelabras, Chandeliers & Mirrors with Textile Covers – At a Manor House in 1758’, TEXTILIS (November 26, 2017); https://textilis.net/ (Accessed: Day/Month/Year)