Gripsholm Castle Open today 10.00-16.00

The Swedish National Portrait Gallery

Gripsholm Castle is home to the world's oldest national portrait gallery. This is also one of the world's largest portrait galleries, and currently includes approximately 5,000 works, mostly oil paintings.

The first portrait seen by visitors at Gripsholm Castle is John-Erik Franzén's famous painting of our current royal family. King Carl XVI Gustaf is depicted together with Queen Silvia and their three children in 1984-85.

King Gustav Vasa lays the groundwork

The groundwork for this art collection was laid as far back as the 16th century, during the reign of King Gustav Vasa. The king had artworks brought to the newly built Gripsholm Castle, and the 1548 inventory lists 98 paintings at the castle, of which 23 were portraits.

Galleries of contemporary rulers

Unfortunately, most of these works can no longer be identified. King Gustav Vasa's youngest son, King Karl IX, arranged the Hall of State as a gallery of his father's contemporary rulers, commissioning portraits of Gustav Vasa and other European rulers of the time.

However, the paintings that we now see in the Hall of State are not the originals – they are 17th century copies. Gripsholm Castle also has another gallery of contemporaries, the White Salon, created by King Gustav III in the 1770s. This includes Alexander Roslin's portrait of King Gustav III in his coronation attire, signed 1777.

Hedvig Eleonora's collection

During the second half of the 17th century, Gripsholm Castle was owned by a woman with a keen interest in art: Queen Dowager Hedvig Eleonora, who had become the widow of King Karl X Gustav at the age of 24.

She added around 200 portraits to the collection, most of which depict her relatives. Examples include a series of portraits of children, showing those of her siblings who died in their infancy. Some of these paintings are displayed in Hedvig Eleonora's Apartments on the ground floor of the castle. One of these – a painting of Gustav (IV) Adolf as a young boy, playing on a hobby horse – can be seen to the right. The artist was Carl Fredrik von Breda.

The collection becomes the National Portrait Gallery

The collection officially became the National Portrait Gallery in 1822, when King Karl XIV Johan made Adolf Ludvig Stjerneld responsible for the paintings. During Stjerneld's time, the collection grew to include no fewer than 1,500 works by the end of his life.

It was also during this period that some of the most famous portraits were added to the collection, such as Johan Pasch's Hen Picture, which portrays the ladies of Queen Lovisa Ulrika's court. The painting can be seen below to the right.

The National Museum adds 2,000 paintings

In the 1860s, the National Museum took over responsibility for the Swedish State Portrait Collection. Since then, the collection has grown by more than 2,000 works from different periods.

A lack of exhibition space led to the modern portraits being temporarily moved to Gripsholm Folk High School in 1947, but they returned to the castle in 1987.

20th century portraits include paintings of Anna Behle by Maj Bring from 1908, the Swedish film star and actress Greta Garbo by Einar Nermans, Dag Hammarskjöld by Ben Shahn from 1962, and Marianne Lindberg De Geer's expressive portrait of Carlo Derkert from 1988.

New portraits every year

The collection is added to every year with a number of works, including the Portrait of Honour – a painting of a deserving Swedish woman or man – donated by the Gripsholm Association.

This year's Portrait of Honour is one of almost a hundred to have been presented to the State Portrait Collection. Previous donations include portraits of Mora-Nisse, Alice Babs, Ingmar Bergman, Birgit Nilsson, Alva Myrdal and Benny Andersson.

In 2013, a new portrait of Queen Silvia was donated to the Swedish State Portrait Collection.

Top image, photo: Lisa Raihle Rehbäck/Royalpalaces.se
The paintings have been photographed by the National Museum.

Klicka för att se bilden i sin helhet

The Royal Family. Click to see the full image

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo. Click to see the full image

Gustav IV Adolf

Gustav IV Adolf as a boy. Click to see the full image

Hen Picture

Hen Picture. Click to see the full image

Visit us

Guided tours Open today 10.00-16.00

You can walk around Gripsholm Castle yourself, but taking a guided tour can make your visit extra special.

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Childrens Gripsholm Open today 10.00-16.00

Dungeons, armouries, canons, a stuffed lion. Hundreds of portraits, following you with their eyes down the winding corridors... bring you...

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Events

Ten Years of Portraits 25 May – 30 Sep

The exhibition Ten Years of Portraits is a selection of portraits on show at Gripsholm Castle. Together these acquisitions are forming...

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Acclaimed duo Gunnar Idenstam and Lisa Rydberg interpret Bach on a very special stage: King Gustav III's Theatre at Gripsholm Castle.

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Bellman Day in Hjorthagen Nature Reserve is a regular feature of the Gripsholm series of concerts. Bring a picnic and enjoy Bellman's mus...

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Discover more at Gripsholm Castle

The Castle Open today 10.00-16.00

Gripsholm Castle boasts a unique collection of furniture and artwork spanning four centuries. Built in the 1500s it was part of a new sys...

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The Swedish National Portrait Gallery Open today 10.00-16.00

Gripsholm Castle is home to the world's oldest national portrait gallery. This is also one of the world's largest portrait galleries, and...

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The Royal Gift Shop Open today 10.00-16.00

Welcome to a boutique that is something out of the ordinary. The Royal Gift Shop is a unique present and souvenir shop offering products ...

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A wander through the leafy castle park is like taking a walk through history. There have been many gardens over the ages here, and apples...

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Since the 1600s the deer field has been a pasture land belonging to the Gripsholm Royal Farm. Today it is a nature reservation with hundr...

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History Open today 10.00-16.00

The palace gets its name from one of the personalities of medieval Sweden, Bo Jonsson Grip, by whom the first Castle was built in the sec...

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Articles and movies

During the summer, all ten royal palaces and their museums, parks, chapels, shops and cafés will be open.

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This year’s Portrait of Honour is the professor and designer Ingegerd Råman and was created by the photographer Bruno Ehrs. He has depict...

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See the programme for this summer's Music at Gripsholm series of concerts. Discover renaissance music, chamber music, folk music, jazz, s...

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Customer service

Opening hours: Open today 10.00-16.00

FAQ

  • Is it possible to take wedding photos in the palace parks?

    It is permitted to take wedding photos for private use in our palace parks. Please respect the following: it is not permitted to set up bulky photography equipment and/or props, to cordon off or drive vehicles onto our park areas or in any other way disturb other park visitors.
    Please note the special stipulations for photography in our Image and Media Gallery.

  • Can I pre-book a ticket for the general palace tours?

    Tickets can be purchased on the same day at any of our ticket offices; no advance purchase available.

  • Are there any storage lockers at the royal palaces?

    The Royal Palace of Stockholm: There are a few storage lockers available at Tickets & Information and in the Tre Kronor Museum. However, we would recommend not bringing any large bags with you. The other royal palaces and visitor attractions: No storage lockers available.

  • Can I take my bag into the royal palaces?

    Small bags are permitted at our visitor attractions. Rucksacks should be carried in your hand or on your front. Do not leave any bags unattended. Bags and cases with wheels are not permitted.

  • Can I take a pushchair into the royal palaces?

    Pushchairs are not permitted indoors.

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