More Than Meets the Eye. "Castles and Manor Houses in Sweden" Revisited
2016 (English)In: Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-3609, E-ISSN 1651-2294, Vol. 85, no 1, 97-108 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
The landmark book series Slott och herresaten i Sverige (transl. Castles and Manor Houses in Sweden), published in 1966-1971 by Allhems forlag, is still today considered the most important art historical reference work on Swedish manor buildings and country houses. The 18 volumes seem to present a near complete picture of the nation's rich heritage of manor buildings, combining the comprehensive and topographically organized guide book with the thoroughness of the architectural monograph. This paper will address the more problematic aspects of the book series, its critical role in the writing of a Swedish architectural history and in shaping a national country house narrative. While each volume provides an authoritative and concise overview of the history, ownership and stylistic development of the most significant manor buildings in the province - their architecture, interiors, gardens and collections - the presentation with its general descriptions, formal analysis and neutral tone omits a more in-depth analysis of these complex environments as well as underlying social, political and economic aspects. The descriptions have, in a sense, been working against the depth of historical understanding and the identification of more complex networks. As a consequence, the Swedish manor house is presented as a continuous and self-contained "treasure house", with the critical perspectives and broader European context very seldom present in the characterizations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 85, no 1, 97-108 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296789DOI: 10.1080/00233609.2015.1090479ISI: 000373535500008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-296789DiVA: diva2:939903