Sant och falskt om Gripsholmstavlorna

  • Herman Bengtsson Upplandsmuseet, Uppsala


Title: True and false about the 16th-century painted wall hangings from Gripsholm Castle
The iconography of the lost 16th-century painted wall hangings from Gripsholm Castle, Sweden, has been subject to discussion for more than 300 years. When the decorated textiles were rediscovered in the early 18th century, they were presumed to illustrate the deposition of the Swedish King Erik XIV in 1568. For this reason, the badly damaged decorations were copied in five still extant watercolours, and the original paintings were discarded. Swedish art-historians have generally argued that the wall hangings were displayed in the Hall of State at Gripsholm Castle. The iconographic programme has been interpreted in various ways. Some scholars have argued that they depicted King Gustav Vasa (1523–60) or his son Erik XIV (1560–68), while others stated that they illustrated the history of Virginia by the Roman author Livy. In Iconographisk Post, 1–2, 2019, I drew attention to a series of previously overlooked 18th-century documents referring to the wall hangings. Judging from these texts, the watercolours were intended as models for engravings illustrating a historical survey on King Gustav Vasa and his sons. During the research for suitable pictorial material in the early 18th century, the Gripsholm paintings were rediscovered and erroneously connected with King Erik XIV. Another aspect of the 2019 article was to highlight the importance of the 16th-century royal inventories as relevant sources in this context. With reference to these documents, it was suggested that the wall hangings may have depicted the story of Lucretia, but that further research was needed. In the present paper, I attempt to clarify some misunderstandings in relation to a comment published in Iconographisk Post, 3–4, 2019.

How to Cite
BENGTSSON, Herman. Sant och falskt om Gripsholmstavlorna. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 3-4, p. 97-125, dec. 2020. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 apr. 2021.