Our great friend and mentor, Göte Folk Järnefolk, runs his busy workshop in the charming Svindersvik boatyard just outside of Stockholm. Each time Rhonda and I travel to Sweden we love to visit Göte, as it means we will also get to see one of our favorite Swedish Rococo buildings, the Svindersvik Manor.
Just up a hill from the harbor, Sweden's great architect, Carl Harleman, built Svindersvik Manor in the 1740's. Claes Grill, one of Sweden's most successful businessmen and director of the East India Company, commissioned the architect to build a lavish, but modestly proportioned, holiday home. In fact, its small scale is its great charm.
With sweeping views overlooking the sea, promenades along high cliffs and expansive gardens, Svindersvik was the perfect weekend retreat for Grill and his family.
Claes Grill’s brothers, who resided in Amsterdam, were the bankers for the great diplomat and style maker, Count Carl Gustav Tessin.This fortuitous connection led to a special summer at the manor in 1760 as Count Tessin brought his family to stay at the storied residence. And while there, he and his wife, the Countess Ulla Sparre, hosted a famous Saturday afternoon salon.
Following his visit, Count Tessin is reported to have remarked of Svindersvik, "In one word, Nature's play. Mr. Grill's purse and taste, and my late lamented friend Baron Harleman's art, have made Svindersvik a joy for humanity that has few equals in charm and arrangement."
We couldn't agree more.