Swedish country houses are one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Little known outside Sweden and rarely published, they survive in surprisingly large numbers, often with their original furniture and decoration. Twenty of these remarkable and timeless houses are examined here in detail, ranging from royal palaces to farmhouses, all dating from the fifteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. In spite of being far from the centers of power and artistic influence, these houses reflect the talents of important architects and designers who together forged a distinctive national style.
Sweden has been fortunate in its history: while the Hundred Years War reduced much of Europe to ruins, Sweden grew rich, and during the subsequent centuries has enjoyed almost continuous peace. The story of Swedish country houses is thus a mirror of Swedish social history, its hierarchy of classes, its absorption of European styles and movements, and above all its enduring culture.
The Swedish Country House is both an important contribution to design history and a highly seductive glimpse into a secret Nordic world. Art historian Susanna Scherman has included examples from every level, drawing special attention to the qualities that make them unique. She and noted photographer Åke E:son Lindman explored the houses together, and together they bring them to life for the reader.