It’s probably a fair assumption to make that most Swedes would like to live in Carl Larsson’s home. And of those who don’t, quite a few might not actively object if they ended up there.
I have friends who used to live next door to Carl Larsson’s home, and it was they who gave me this book, by Torsten Gunnarsson and Ulla Eliasson, about his house for my birthday this year.
In a way Swedes don’t need books like these; we seem to be sufficiently familiar with Carl’s home anyway. But the pictures are nice to look at, both the photos of the house and the paintings by Carl. And looking at them we see not only a home that would still be just about perfect to move into, despite it now being more than a hundred years later, but it looks pretty much like some house many of us have known at some point in our lives.
It makes me think of my grandfather’s house, which was nowhere near as big or fancy, and it was more recent, but there is still that Larsson vibe in my memories.
Swedes know the house from countless postcards and Christmas cards, not to mention Christmas wrapping paper. We have all torn pictures of the garden or the Larsson family in our eagerness to see what’s inside our parcel.
At some point I talked to Nick Sharratt about this. Maybe when he heard where I come from, he told me about having slept in Carl’s bed. It appears visiting artists can do that, under some circumstances. When I heard about it I felt this seemed quite reasonable. But I understand the bed was short. Nick isn’t. Oh, well.
The bed is in the book (and somehow I can’t stop wondering what the guest artist does when visitors who’ve paid to see the house turn up.)
As I said, Carl Larsson’s style is never wrong. Except it wasn’t his, but his wife’s. She did all the work, and we still know it by Carl’s name.
Bookwitch Towers is in upheaval. Don’t know where that is, but it’s messy. Did I mention that a few weeks ago Son had the nerve to return to his roots, bearing all his worldly goods? He did, and very lovely it is to have him here. The goods, I’m not so sure.
We’ve had plans for some domestic changes for most of the year. What we haven’t had is time, or at least not time all together, and major changes don’t happen so easily when you are working on your own. Now that summer is here, the idea was that all sorts of things would just happen.
They probably will. Sooner or later. But it could be that I will have to be less attentive to my dear fans. I am reading. I am writing. Just not so much. The other day I heaved a large coffee table book out of my bookcase, for Daughter to peruse. It was my very first gift from the Resident IT Consultant, and a very good one at that. I’m still astounded by his awareness of what a witch-in-waiting would like.
It was The House Book by Terence Conran, and I don’t know how many times I used to go through it for ideas or just entertainment. Now, it looks pretty dated. It’s from 1974 and my edition was printed in 1981, and you can tell. It’s very 1970s. Daughter pointed to a picture of some large sofa-contraption-thingy and asked what it was. I didn’t know, but suggested it looked like it’d be good for fairly immoral behaviour. (We don’t have one of those.)
The other ‘book’ in use at the moment is the catalogue from that Swedish furniture shop you may have heard of. We went there on Monday, and came home, eventually, with some new stuff for Daughter, who of course, is about to leave home. My timing has never been great.
So now all we want is inspiration, the strength to carry furniture around and the time in which to do all that is necessary. And perhaps pray for no more complete about-turns on style. That was a very narrow escape from orange/terracotta we had there… Carl Larsson, here we come!