Gerson Digital : Denmark


2.5 Tapestries for Christian IV

Let us for a moment leave the field of painting and cast a glance at the tapestry workers who supplied Christian IV. The best known is Karel van Mander II (c. 1579-1623), who in 1616 managed to come to an agreement with Christian concerning a consignment of 26 tapestries. They were intended for Frederiksborg and their theme was the events of the Kalmar War (1611-1613), for which the painter had to prepare studies in the actual locations. Van Mander had reason to be pleased with this commission, as it was originally intended for his competitor, Frans Spiering (1551-1630), with whom he had parted ways the preceding year. He and two collaborators had even started a new enterprise, and this was the first large foreign commission for the young firm! Unfortunately the series, which was delivered in 1619 to 1621, was also destroyed in the castle fire of 1859, but we can still judge on the compositions via drawn copies [1-4].1

Frederik Christian Lund after Karel van Mander (II)
Card playing company, dated 1858
paper, pen and brush 230 x 265 mm
lower left : F.C Lund.
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle

Frederik Christian Lund after Karel van Mander (II)
Ladies of the nobility at the coronation of King Christian IV on august 29th 1596, dated 15 July 1858
paper, watercolor 256 x 404 mm
upper left : F. Lund d: 15 Juli 1858. Frbr
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 5018

Frederik Christian Lund after Karel van Mander (II)
Siege of Kalmar on May 3rd 1611 by Christan IV, dated 6 july 1858
paper, pencil, pen (technique) 256 x 226 mm
lower right : Calmars Erobring 3. Mai 1611, F C Lund d 6te Juli 1858
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 5013

Frederik Christian Lund after Karel van Mander (II)
The Battle at Øland on 31 May 1612, dated 1858
paper, pen (technique), brush in color (water color) 256 x 357 mm
lower left : Öland. 31 Mai 1612.
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 5015

Even before Van Mander, a Dutchman was hired as tapestry designer, namely Johan van Wijck, whose name appears in royal invoices of 1609 and 1611. He had already been appointed royal portrait painter in 1597.2 Engel Rooswijk (1583/84-1642/49) [5], Karel II van Mander’s brother-in-law, was active as tapestry designer in Copenhagen at the same time. He lived both in that city and in the Dutch Republic. Christian IV owed him 210 Thalers when he died. His widow entrusted the collection of this sum to the painter Karel van Mander III in Copenhagen.3

Engel Rooswijk
Portrait of a man, possibly self-portrait wearing a turban
panel, oil paint 52 x 44,9 cm
upper right : Engel Rooswyk
Sotheby's (Amsterdam) 2007-05-08, nr. 69


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1885 and Andrup 1932; [Van Leeuwen 2015] Hartkamp-Jonxis 2006, pp. 46-47.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2015] On Johan van Wijck, see § 2.9. He was active as court painter at the Danish court from 1598 to 1602 and as cartoon drawer for a tapestry manufacture in 1604 (Thieme/Becker 1907-1950, vol. 36 [1947], p. 323.

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Engel Rooswijk also painted. See Granberg 1911-1913, vol. 2, nos. 317-318. [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson discusses Rooswijk and his portrait of Corfitz Ulfeldt in § 2.9 (RKDimages 236411). According to Jan Kosten (RKD) Rooswijks head of a young man wearing a turban in the auction in Amsterdam in 2007 concerns a self-portrait. As fas as we know, Rooswijk went to Copenhagen for the first time in 1623 (Roding 2014, pp. 16, 18, 49-50). No illustrations could be found of the two works mentioned in Granberg, an allegory and a battle piece, each located in Swedish private collections. These works are said to be signed in full, E(ngel) Rooswyck 1606. For other works attributed to Rooswijk, see RKDimages.

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