Kai and Anneli recently gave us a very welcome present: a cast of a lion mask from the Peerless Palace in Stockholm. North European Baroque is such a weird and lovely style. The wreck of the Vasa is a prime example, and there’s a lot of it on the facades of houses in the Old Town too.

The Peerless Palace (Sw. Makalös) was on the spot currently occupied by the Carolus XII Plaza, within easy view of the Royal Castle across the water. It was built in the 1630s by Count Jacob De la Gardie who, among many other honours, was married to King Gustavus II Adolphus’s old sweetheart Ebba Brahe. After a chequered history — the palace spent its three last decades as a royal play house — the building burned in 1825 and the ruins were demolished. Sculptural fragments were reused around town, and excavations on site have located more.

The lion mask would originally have been garishly painted. The cast is made in a material similar to sandstone. I hope it’s rainproof, because I’ve hung it on the garden wall. Wish architects would go back to using facade sculpture again!

Update 17 June: The cast doesn’t appear to like rain much. A trickle of lime-enriched water along the black garden wall showed that stuff was leaching out of the cast, and it gained a lot of weight on a rainy day. So I’ve taken it indoors before it starts to deteriorate.

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  1. #1 Kevin
    June 8, 2009

    Oh that does look like the inside gunport lid on the Vasa! How fascinating!

  2. #2 Martin R
    June 9, 2009

    They began building the Peerless Palace only two years after the Vasa was completed. I don’t know if individual sculptors worked both in wood and stone at the time, but Stockholm had a tiny population and all the artisans most likely knew each other.

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