Wednesday, 8 August 2012

An amazing extant wardrobe from the 17th century

The Livrustkammaren in Stockholm has a treasure that no one really talks about, despite that it is such an amazing thing as 40 something item from a royal wardrobe from the 17th century. I think there are three reasons for that. 1; they are men’s clothes. 2; Karl X Gustav (1622-1660) doesn’t really catch the romantic imagination, fat and dumpy as he was. 3, it’s located in Sweden. The fact remain, there is a more or less intact 17th century men’s wardrobe in existence and that ought to be much more well known than it is.

A couple of years ago some of the clothes were exhibited together and it was a real treat to be able to see the clothes that the king wore at formal occasions contrasting with the clothes he wore when he could wear what he wanted. His personal taste was rather austere and simple in cut and colour. Here are some samples from this amazing collection.

Loose jacket, (kassack) in scarlet broadcloth and gold brocade.

Suit in brown wool (kamlott)

Brownish grey suit in uncut velvet. Made by Augustinus Heredin.

Suit in grey silk (rips), decorated with gold and silver

Suit in black silk (rips)

Suit in grey wool (kamlott.

Suit in brownish grey, or olive, wool.

Suit in black silk (atlas) embroidered with gold. May have been Karl X Gustav’s coronation suit in 1654, but that is not proven.

Suit in white silk (atlas). Made by Mårten Balko

Suits in black silk (rips). The trousers are decorated with yellow silk ribbons tied into bows.

More goodies can be found in teh database- go and look:

There are more in the database and here is how you find them:

Go to

At “SAMLING” choose “Livrustkammaren”. Skokloster and Halwyllska museet has great collections too, but Skokloster has almost no clothes and Halwylska, who has, are focused on the later 19th and early 20th century.

At “KLASSIFICATION” click on the small square and choose “Dräkt”

At “ÅR FRÅN”, write in the year you want the search to start.

At “ÅR TILL”, write in the year you want to search to stop at.

At “FÖREMÅL MED BILD” choose “ja”.

Then you push ”SÖK” and enjoy!


Rowenna said...

Awesome collection! Though I always think that clothes from this period on mannequins look like they were made for very chubby children lol. They make more sense on a person :)

Isis said...

Rowenna: Isn't it! And most of it is in store, which is a shame. There should eb a whole room dedicated on it- imagine the experince of seeing a whole historical wardrobe dispayed. It isn't just suits, but boots, stockings, hats and underwear too!

I agree and Karl X Gustav was very tubby. The waist on some of these breeches are 122 cm... His son, Karl XI was tall and very slim and it looks quite funny when you see some of his clothes displayed with his father's. :)

Ana said...

I spend a lot of time thinking about all the treasures that we don't get to see not because they're not available over the internet, but because they are in languages we don't understand.

(And, on the other side, we always seem to run into the same things because all people feature finds from the same sources.)

Lisa said...

Really amazing that they've survived and in such good condition. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

You know what popped into my mind? This is the sort of threads Porthos of the 3 musketeers would be sporting... he wasn't svelte either

Isis said...

Ana: Yes, I'm sure there is a lot. And even if they are online, if you don't speak the language, going through a database in a foreign language is a bit of a hassle.

Lisa: Evidently it was decided very early on that it was important to keep them. The royal castle burnt to teh ground in the late 17th century and these clothes almost burned too- some have scorse-marks, so those who saved them must have lived dangerously.

Sarah: LOL, yes, they would suit Porthos very well! :)

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