The collections

Carl Gustaf Wrangel’s castle on the shores of Lake Mälaren

Here at Skokloster, Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1613-1676) – potentate and big spender – and his wife Anna Margareta von Haugwitz (1622-1673), created a splendid stately home. They were European aristocracy, and endeavoured to understand the world by collecting art and antiques as well as specimens from nature. The apartments are home to remarkable collections of paintings as well as furniture, textiles and silver and glass tableware.

One of the most famous paintings is the 16th century Vertumnus by Italian master Giuseppe Arcimboldo. It pictures the face of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II as the Roman God of the Seasons, using fruits and vegetables. The painting was taken as war-booty from Prague in 17th century.

The castle armoury and library are particularly noteworthy. They are a veritable "Kunst und Wunderkammer", and house Wrangel's collections of weapons and books, enriched and enlarged by other 17th and 18th century aristocratic bequests, such as those by Carl Gustaf Bielke.

Wrangel stocked the armoury with a medley of arms and armour, and curiousities - exotic animals and Indian objets from the New World, America. The armoury contains the largest collection of personal 17th century military weapons in the world. Mostly muskets and pistols, but also swords - including Japanese samurai swords - small cannons, pikes and crossbows. The weapons collection also includes various exotic items such as a 16th century Eskimo canoe, snake skins and others. The original architect´s scale model of the castle, which the Wrangels commissioned, is also here. 

From Holland the Wrangels commissioned shiny gilt leather hangings for the state apartments and tools for the exclusive lathe workshop. Maps and travellers’ accounts of faraway places were purchased for the library. The rooftops of the castle’s octagonal towers were decorated with models of the universe – armillary spheres.