Detail of a tapestry showing a man in front of a tree.
Photo: Erik Lernestål, Skokloster Castle/SHM (CC BY).


In the 17th century and the baroque, woven tapestries with picture motifs were the most exclusive thing to cover walls with. They were mainly placed in the state apartments of the castles troughout the Swedish empire.

One example among the many woven tapestries at Skokloster is the group that was ordered by Carl Gustaf Wrangel and Anna Margareta von Haugwitz from Maximilian van der Gucht’s workshop in the Dutch city of Delft. The order was confirmed by van der Gucht in a letter dated 15 January 1652 and the tapestries were to be delivered in May the following year.

Detail of a tapestry.
The combined escutcheons of the Wrangel and Haugwitz families. Photo: Erik Lernestål, Skokloster Castle/SHM (CC BY).

The tapestry group, known as “The English Hunt”, is in seven parts. The motifs depict hunting of different kinds in the midst of lush green nature. As so many hunting motifs of the time, the tapestries equate hunting for animals and for women. The Wrangel and Haugwitz coat of arms is woven into the upper edge of each piece. The tapestries are of wool and silk and woven with the tapestry technique.

A view from the Countess's bedchamber.
The Countess' Bed Chamber. The tapestry suite has motifs from the Bible. Photo: Carl-Olof Zimmerman, Skokloster Castle/SHM (CC BY).

There are other sets of tapestries at Skokloster Castle. One of them is a war trophy from Denmark and depicts motifs from biblical history. Another, a gift from Nils Bielke, depicts scenes from Alexander the Great’s life.