Considering the national election turmoil that’s going on in the USA this week, I’d like to transport myself to a more peaceful place: Prince Eugene’s blue-and-white dining room in his beloved lakeside home in Stockholm, Waldemarsudde.
It looks inviting, don’t you think? Come on in and have a seat at the table. Here, between about 1900 and his death in 1947, the Prince entertained his friends, fellow artists, writers, and the odd anarchist.
Eugene’s state-of-the-art kitchen, all shining white tiles, is now a little cafe. Photos of the Prince decorate the walls.
Eugene was a handsome fellow, and must have been a charming companion. He fulfilled royal duties when asked, but mostly he lived his own life exactly as he pleased. As a younger son of the monarchy, he was under no pressure to marry.
Whatever his lifestyle choices, it appears the Royal Family left him in peace, to pursue his art and his friendships. In his Salon, Ernst Josephson’s painting “The Water Sprite,” 1884, dominates the room. It was considered so scandalous at the time that the Academy in Stockholm didn’t dare to accept it as a gift. I don’t think the nudity was the problem; it was the new-fangled Symbolist style.
Eugene hung a portrait of his mother, Queen Sofia, directly across from the daring Water Sprite. She gazed gently and benevolently on her son’s private goings-on, however raffish. I’m guessing Eugene was a loving son who never caused his mother much worry.
Eugene loved flowers. His sunroom, overlooking the water, was always blooming.
He designed a pretty ceramic flowerpot that’s still in use all over Sweden. I’d have brought one home if I didn’t always travel light.
I’m already planning a return trip to Stockholm in the spring. I’ll see Eugene’s flowerbeds filled with tulips, I hope.
Meanwhile, I can dream of my favorite room in my favorite house in my new favorite city, Stockholm.
Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!