I cycled to Frederiksborg castle in Hillerod, Denmark. The castle is spread over three islands in a large lake and is quite imposing with high solid brick walls around a series of courtyards. One section of the stables has been converted to an art conservation office, old furniture is conserved in another area.
Inside the castle, there was one room after another, dozens of rooms and passageways, full of paintings and old furniture. Every inch of wall space had paintings hanging on it, even the ceilings have been converted into artworks. There were so many paintings of the various members of the royal family but with all those Christians and Frederiks, it was a tad confusing, to say the least.
I found my way to the Great Hall which was completely destroyed by fire in 1859 and then completely rebuilt according to a series of sketches made only the previous year. It was stunning!
Once again, every inch was covered in paintings or tapestries, even the ceiling and window niches were painted with images from industry, agriculture and trade. The large paintings on the walls were exclusively of the Kings and Queens of Denmark with a few related European royals such as the Czar of Russia thrown in for balance.
I was happy to see a large painting of the current Queen, Margrete II, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Christian as a little boy. At least I knew who they were.
The Royal Chapel was just as imposing as the Great Hall.
The most interesting element of the Royal Chapel were all the plaques on display - hundreds of plaques with the names of members of royalty around the outside edges and their coats of arms inside. I spotted the plaques of the current royals including that of Princess Mary who hails from Australia. There were also other royals represented such as Prince Charles and a Prince Edward Albert of Britain with the motto ‘Ich dien’. (I serve)
There was a long, wide passage with important pictures along parts of it, leading to an audience chamber with ceiling paintings representing four of the continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Australia was missing. The most impressive item? – a chair elevator! It was a chair in the corner of the room which could be raised from and lowered to the floor below so the King didn’t have to walk up the stairs and along the passageway like other mortals.
There were so many cupboards in so many rooms. How did a servant ever keep track of the King’s socks? “Get a fresh pair of socks!” “Yes, Sir! From which cupboard?”
The King called for the document he was writing yesterday and fresh quills. Where would he have left his work? Where were the quills? Or did they have quills in every room? Did a servant boy hover forever in the background with a jar of quills at the ready?
I think it’s easier living in a small house. At least there can’t be too many places to store the quills.