Frames: State of the Art. Part 3: Royal frames

by The Frame Blog

Frames: state of the art was published in 2008 to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. The guiding spirit behind both was Henrik Bjerre; he is generously allowing The Frame Blog to republish essays from the book, which will appear as an occasional series. The third essay in the series is by Mogens Bencard, and concerns royal frames, mainly in the collection of Rosenborg Castle, for which there is written evidence in inventories.

Jacob d’Agar (1642-1715), Christian V, c.1683, 86.8 x 68.5 cm.; trophy frame attrib. Christian Nerger ( fl. 1671-1708), c.1683, Rosenborg Castle.

This article concerns frames from the 17th and early 18th centuries in royal collections, mainly now in Rosenborg Castle (built from 1605). Because there is so much documentary evidence as to the original or at least early location of these pieces, they will be examined from this viewpoint, as far as possible.

Otto Heiden (attrib; 17th century), Rosenborg Castle, drawing on paper, 21.8 x 29.8 cm., British Museum 1868,0612.1603

The two main royal castles of the period, Frederiksborg and Rosenborg, still possess inventories dating from the 17th century. The oldest are in the Frederiksborg archives, which date from 1650; there are also references to an inventory of 1636, and to records from even earlier in the 17th century [1]. However, the ravages of time, and in particular the tragic fire at the castle in 1859, have destroyed many of the original furnishings. Rosenborg’s oldest inventory dates from 1696. This is unfortunately not preserved in the archives, but there is an incomplete version in print [2]. The first complete record is dated 1718, after which a new inventory was taken after the death of each successive steward of the castle, so it is possible to keep chronological  track of the collection up to the present day [3].

All of the inventories mention frames. This article will be confined to the more elaborately carved and ‘theatrical’ items, which does not mean to say that these are the only examples. There are much plainer versions, both black painted and gilded frames; most are rectilinear, but in Frederik III’s time in particular there were also octagonal frames. Similarly, the profiles are simple but they may also be ornamented with ripple and wave mouldings. The oldest frames to be considered here are those on hand glasses: relatively small versions, which date from a period when it was not yet possible to make large looking-glasses (something which did not happen until the mid-17th century).

Antwerp goldsmith (‘The Master of the Pan Pipes’), hand glass, 1566-67, silver gilt & enamel, 31.5 x 20.8 cm., Rosenborg Castle

The oldest example at Rosenborg is the fine, silver-gilt frame of a hand glass, almost square in shape, which can be traced to Antwerp and dates to about 1564 [4]. This frame is Mannerist in style, decorated with red and black enamel and set with point-cut and table-cut rubies and amethysts; moulded figures play amongst the other ornaments. On the fronton there are two lions, two winged putti, and a tête espagnolette; on the corners of the top rail two men with dogs; on the side rails two naked caryatides, and paired dogs and putti on the bottom rail. The apron is flanked by two satyrs.

Antwerp goldsmith, hand glass, 1566-67, detail

Along with the moresque ornament on the back of the frame, these are motifs typical of the grotesque style fashionable in Flanders at that period. The city arms of Antwerp are stamped on the reverse, as well as a master’s mark with pan pipes for the goldsmith, whose name is sadly not known. Because of the dating, this looking-glass was previously thought to have belonged to Frederik II’s queen, Sophie, and has been referred to as such in international literature [5]. Later investigations have, however, revealed that it came to Denmark in 1734 from the collection at Gottorp. It has therefore been suggested that it was a wedding gift from Duke Adolf of Gottorp, who married Christine of Hessen in 1564 [6].

Christian IV (r. 1588-1648)

Samuel Clausen (fl.1610s-20s), decorative wall panel, 1617, oil on wood, with  faux looking-glass in strapwork frame, and trompe’l’oeil reflection, Rosenborg Castle. Photo: Tom Feilberg, Rosenborg

The grotesques which inspired the Antwerp goldsmith appear later on panels in the window recesses of Christian IV’s Writing Room at Rosenborg. These were painted in 1617 by Samuel Clausen after a sketch by the Italian Enea Vico [7]. Trophies of weapons can be seen at the top of the lower panel in the angle of the window to the left of the fireplace. Beneath it there is a rectangular strapwork looking-glass frame in which an illusionist painting reflects parts of the angle on the right-hand side of the window, and opposite it is an identical mirror which depicts part of a garden. This witty game with reality reflects Christian IV’s taste.

Another small hand glass in the collection (oval, this time) has a personal cast and is made of precious materials, making it reasonable to assume that it was Christian IV’s own possession. The frame, which is gold and enamelled, is hinged at the sides and has palmettes both on the façade and reverse. There is a bow and an eye on top for hanging. The reverse is covered in black velvet on which there is a rebus of the sort which so interested the king from the 1630s. At the top is Jehovah’s name in Hebrew, then a crowned C4 surrounded by the words ‘DIRIGE MEUM’, and beneath that a burning heart, inscribed ‘Herre styr mit brændende hjerte’ (Lord, guide my burning heart). A similar rebus can be found on an hourglass, also at Rosenborg, dated 1633. The rebus, which can also be seen on Rundetaarn (the Round Tower) in Copenhagen, and for which the king supplied the design, is well-known [8]. It is true that it is a long way from a hand glass with a delicately enamelled gold frame to the Round Tower, but the readers of Christian IV’s countless letters know that he was interested (and with equal intensity) in practically everything, large or small, from the purchase of radish seeds to the equipment of the fleet.

As noted, the frame has an antique hanger; the same is true of the Antwerp hand glass from Gottorp, showing that both had a double function as hand glass and wall-hung glass. Another wall-hung looking-glass in the collection must have belonged to Christian IV’s queen, Anna Cathrine. It is the largest and probably the most valuable of all the small glasses. The frame is made of ebony and set with moulded silver ornaments; it is constructed in almost classical Renaissance style with a linear contour and a triangular pediment. Its only Mannerist touches are the wide fields with recesses which replace pilasters, and the columns flanking the recess at the top. The three recesses are lined with red velvet and contain cast silver figures representing Faith (on the left), Hope (on the right) and Charity in the pediment. The initials ‘AC’ are inscribed in an oval cartouche at the bottom, flanked by winged putti with cornucopiae. Corresponding putti in the pediment hold crowned garlands of flowers in which there are oval relief portraits of Christian IV and his queen, Anna Cathrine. The queen was married in 1597 and died in 1611, but the looking-glass might well be older, since the relief portraits are clearly of different silver and are later additions. They are most probably by a Danish hand [9], but the rest of the looking-glass is of German manufacture – presumably from Augsburg, but other towns are possibilities [10]. The glass was at Rosenborg in 1718, where it was placed on an olive-wood cupboard [11], but it is not in the inventory of 1696. Today it hangs over an ebony table inlaid with silver [12], which was not the case in 1718. The table was so accurately described in a 1646 book about Frederiksborg that there can be no doubt that it is the same piece mentioned there [13].  A ‘delightful’ looking-glass in an ebony frame inlaid with silver is described as being in the same place, the Silver or Jewel Room, and – although the description is not as detailed as that of the table – it is tempting to identify it with the looking-glass at Rosenborg.

Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857), Frederiksborg Slot, 1814, o/c, 20.6 x 30.7 ins (52.5 x 78 cm.), Nasjonalgalleriet Oslo

There are two descriptions of Frederiksborg from Christian IV’s time; both are thorough, but they are very different. One, by the castle steward Johan Adam Berg, is an inflated description produced at the king’s command and aimed at impressing the world with the magnificence of his castle. The other, also by the steward, is an inventory, an accountant’s record of the contents of each room. It is very exact, because he was personally responsible for the items in the inventory being as described, should he die. Both descriptions clearly demonstrate that King Christian had good reason to be proud of his castle. Not only was the exterior, with its three main wings and four storeys, of an unusually large size, hitherto unseen in Denmark, but the interior was furnished with grandiose magnificence. As the inventory is the only known example for a Danish castle from the 17th century, it is worth examining it to see what information it may contain on the frames.

The inventory lists 498 paintings in all, hanging in more or less every room on all floors of the castle. A large number of frames, 220 in number, are described as ‘gilded’, while ninety-eight frames are described as ‘black’. Fifty-six of the latter have a yellow-painted inner moulding. Seventeen frames are of ebony. Some paintings are set into panels, and a considerable number (121) have no description of the frames or are noted as being ‘without frames’ – and these are not just pieces in the storerooms but may have hung amongst other paintings in the state rooms. Thirty-eight frames are described as made of oak and two as pine, while ten are described as ‘simple’, or as having no carved ornament. According to the inventory, at least, there is nothing particularly special about these frames. There were two oak-framed religious pictures, carved and inlaid with different types of wood, in the ambulatory of the church [14]; in the Summer Chamber there was an ebony frame with a ‘wave pattern’, in ‘the room outside the Jewel Room’ was a portrait in a round frame (the only round one?), and in ‘the corridor outside the late queen’s bedchamber’ was a genre piece in a ‘Dutch gilded frame’ (whatever ‘Dutch’ means in this context). Finally there is a description of two frames as ‘ebony, with some gilding, in an oak frame’. They hung in the circular antechamber of the room over the old queen’s banqueting hall.

The main impression from this is that the walls of the castle were hung with rectangular frames with a simple profile, and neither family portraits nor even the king’s own full-length portraits seem to have been adorned with crowns or other carved decoration.  This is not, however, an expression of modesty on the part of Christian IV (which would be uncharacteristic), but rather the northern European fashion in frames at the time when the castle was furnished. If the frames at Frederiksborg are compared with those of the Netherlands, it can be established that carved frames were a definite exception before the 1630s, and only became fairly common after 1650 [15].

Besides the looking-glass frame which, according to Berg, was in the Jewel Room and which may now possibly be at Rosenborg, the castle inventory of 1650 (1636) listed nine more glasses, which are described in some detail. They hung in all the state chambers, emphasizing the fact that looking-glasses were decorative rather than functional. In the Summer Chamber, the most important room in the king’s apartment [16], there were no less than three glasses: a large, rectilinear piece which is said to have been purchased from a Hamburg goldsmith who was a member of Hans Mores’s family; this was set in an ebony frame, the mouldings of which were partly covered in silver gilt, while the central field was decorated with carved grotesques and silver figures. Another looking-glass had an ebony frame which was apparently hinged, so that it could be opened to reveal nine small drawers with silver-mounted ebony fronts. The frame of the third was black marble and had two tiers (which was apparently also true of the looking-glass in the Jewel Room), the lower tier flanked by four white alabaster columns with gilded bases and capitals, the upper by two columns.

In the queen’s apartment there was originally only the glass in the Jewel Room, but after 1636, ‘1 looking-glass in a black ebony frame’ [17] was hung in the bedroom. Above the royal chambers, on the third floor of the royal wing, was ‘The Old Queen’s’ apartment (belonging to Christian IV’s mother, Queen Sophie). Her great wealth is immediately visible in the furnishing of her chambers. In her banqueting chamber (‘The Angel Room’ [18]) there was an octagonal glass set in an octagonal ebony frame, and in her ‘Little Chamber’ [19], which acted as her audience room if one is to judge by its furnishings, was the most opulent and fantastic of all the looking-glasses in the castle. The frame was described as covered in flesh-coloured satin stitched with gold, pearls and garnets, and embroidered with birds, animals and other patterns in coloured silks. The outer mouldings were gilded, and white alabaster figures of Bacchus and Ceres flanked the glass itself. It had a black case with gilt mouldings, which was lined inside with flesh-coloured taffeta; this case had two lids, each of which was embroidered with a vase of flowers in gold, blue and green, and it stood on a red velvet chest with a silver-mounted drawer. Only the rarest objects were accorded such a meticulous description in the inventory, and it is obvious that an immense amount of care and work went into the execution of such a looking-glass. An especially sophisticated refinement (not explained by the castle steward) is the presence of Bacchus and Ceres: gods who appear together with Venus in several paintings at Frederiksborg, among others in a series of panel paintings by the court painter Søren Kiær, which – according to the inventory – were in the queen’s own Little Chamber. The grouping of these three gods plays on the proverb ‘Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus would freeze’. The idea of the two gods on the looking-glass must therefore be that, when the queen regards herself in the mirror, she is Venus herself. [20]

The last three looking-glasses are almost commonplace by comparison; however they do deserve mention. A large glass in an ebony frame is noted as hanging in the Cross House [21]; a similar ebony frame with ‘six pillars with buttons on top’  in the bay of the Ship Cabinet [22], and finally in the Blue Cabinet in the Princess Wing [23] a large glass mounted in an ebony frame, of which the outer mouldings are set with silver, the sight edge inlaid with mother-o’-pearl, and the central frieze with grotesques in silver. It seems from this that it was looking-glass frames which were made the object of artistic endeavour at the time of Christian IV (he died in 1648). They are what the castle steward expended his attention on, maybe because there was little to describe as far as picture frames were concerned.

However, there are two frames which stand apart from the others: these are at Rosenborg Castle, and contain a pair of large octagonal miniatures, painted in gouache on paper under bevelled glass, depicting Christian IV and his second wife, Kirsten Munk [24].

Jacob van Doordt (fl. 1606-29), Portrait of Kirsten Munk, 1623, gouache on wood, 11.6 x 9.5 cm.; pendant of a portrait of Christian IV; ebony(?) frame, Rosenborg Castle

Both portraits, signed by the court painter, Jakob van Doordt, and dated 1623, have black octagonal frames. The structure of these comprises a basic complex moulding at the sight edge which dissolves into radiating Auricular segmental shapes, lobes, single gadroons, and small elements echoing parts of the primary moulding.

Gable of Helligåndskirken, dated 1620, Copenhagen. Photo: Paul Strasser

The Auricular style was so avant-garde in 1623 that doubts have been raised as to whether the frames are original or a later addition. However, they can be compared with the sandstone gable on the porch of Helligåndskirken in Copenhagen; this has a similarly broken frame on the armorial cartouche, and an outer framework of morphing and dissolving lobes, folds, and other Auricularities. It is dated 1620 [25].

Frederik III (r. 1648-70)

As previously mentioned, there are more surviving frames from 1650 onwards; at Rosenborg, for instance, there are several 17th century ebonized frames, rectilinear or octagonal in form, and mostly decorated with wave or ripple mouldings.  Overall, however, there are not as many frames as might be expected remaining from the reign of Frederik III; and the written records are not particularly forthcoming. This might be due to the random accidents of history, but it should not be forgotten that Christian IV had left his son and heir an impoverished kingdom. This is unfortunate, since the few surviving objects and interiors commissioned by Frederik III and his queen, Sophie Amalie, suggest that they were a royal couple with a fine aesthetic sense, who also appreciated the most contemporary fashions.

Unknown carver, looking-glass, c. 1650, polychrome & parcel-gilt frame, 40 x 34.5 cm., Rosenborg Castle

The first specimen which can be mentioned in this context is a looking-glass frame in landscape format, with finely-carved flowers and masks; at the top are two winged putti carrying a crown above a burning heart. The glass is bevelled and the carvings painted [26]. The crown is open, and is reminiscent of that used by Frederik for his coronation, which was modelled on his father’s crown. The ornamental style, with grotesque masks and luxuriant flowers, dates the frame to about 1650. It is a fairly late arrival in Rosenborg, having been acquired in the 1870s from P. Herman Rasmussen of Copenhagen, a conservator of paintings, who had owned the frame for about 15 years and evidently restored it quite intensively. He had purchased the frame from Carl Brosbøll (the author Carit Etlar), who in his turn had acquired it in the 1830s from an inn near Horsens. It is this provenance which brought the looking-glass to Rosenborg, since Horsens is close to the estate of Boller Slot where Kirsten Munk lived after being exiled from the court of Christian IV.

Karel van Mander III (attrib.; 1609-70) or Michael van Haven (c.1625-79), Frederik III, 1650s, o/c, 80.6 x 63.9 cm., Rosenborg Castle

Frames for paintings include those on a pair of portraits of Frederik III and Queen Sophie Amalie, which are finely-carved, identical ovals [27]. They are versions of the French Louis XIII style, and have a torus carved with a garland of imbricated bay leaves springing from bound stems at the base, and twined with spiralling acanthus leaves; there is a bold ribbon-&-stave at the sight edge, and a fluted frieze beneath the crest. The two frontons are structurally the same, with scrolling acanthus leaves, putti, strings of pearls and the royal crown, but some details are different. The king’s crown contains the Hand of Justice and the sceptre, and his monogram occupies a deeper scrolling cartouche.

Abraham Wuchters (1608-82), Queen Sofia Amalia, c.1680, o/c, 80.2 x 63.7 cm., Rosenborg Castle

The queen’s monogram is in a much shorter cartouche, pushed up by the carved jewellery casket, which has further strings of pearls spilling from it for the putti to play with; on the king’s frame the putti hold the chain of an order, which may at one time have had an actual order depending from it.

There seems to be general agreement that the two portraits were at Rosenborg in 1696 [28], when the inventory mentions the king’s portrait as having been painted by ‘Michel von Hagen’ and the queen’s by ‘Abraham Wochters’. There is some discussion about these two pictures: the frames are contemporary with each other, but the portraits are indubitably not both of the same date. The king, who died in 1670, appears  considerably younger than the queen, who has presumably been painted during her widowhood. Povl Eller, author of the definitive book on royal portrait painters, is certain that the king’s image is by  the court painter Karel van Mander and can be dated to the 1650s [29]; Else Kai Sass is equally certain that the queen’s portrait dates from c.1680 [30]. The frames however are both of the same date, so the queen must have ordered them together, probably for her country seat, Sophie Amalienborg, and they were presumably rescued from it when it burned down in 1689.

Wolfgang Heimbach (1613-78), Portrait of Sophie Amalie dressed as a peasant maid, c.1655, o/panel, 24.2 x 19 cm., detail, Rosenborg Castle

Apart from the black frames in Netherlandish style from the reign of Frederik III and Sophie Amalie (above), four small paintings (cabinet pieces) depicting the royal  children also have frames which can be attributed to their reign [31]. The portraits are attributed to Toussaint Gelton who was working in Copenhagen from 1657 to 1659, during which period both paintings and frames must have been executed. They are French in derivation, rectangular carved giltwood with flowers and foliage. They are mentioned as being in Rosenborg in 1696 [32], where, however, they were kept in ‘the Silver Cupboard’ which stood in ‘the chamber next to the Queen’s chamber, where one is raised in the chair to other chambers’. This chair, a so-called ascenseur or ‘ascending chair’ was located in the north-east stair turret.

French looking-glass, table & pair of guéridons, 1669, polychrome wood with silver filigree, Rosenborg Castle

A large looking-glass frame from the reign of Frederik III is of French manufacture, and reveals the Danish awareness of contemporary fashion in Paris, then the arbiter of aesthetic style. It is a bolection frame with a wide cushion moulding; it is painted blue and enriched with floral ornaments in silver filigree, as is the fronton, where the silver ornament comprises two crowned lions flanking a crowned monogram (‘CA’ for Charlotte Amalie, 1650-1714, wife of Christian V)[33].

French looking-glass, 1669, detail of fronton with rampant lions supporting the crown and monogram

Conservation has revealed that the frame was altered during the reign of Christian V, and that it was painted red at the same time. Originally, however, it was black, but it is not known whether it then sported the monogram of Frederik III or that of his queen, Sophie Amalie. Written sources reveal that it was commissioned in France, presumably Paris, in the last year of Frederik’s life – 1669 [34].

The looking-glass is part of a set of furniture, together with a table and two guéridons, all now finished in blue paint beneath their silver filigree ornaments. This is the first example in Rosenborg of such a set, and one of the oldest still extant; recent research has christened these sets ‘triads’.  They were popular in Paris around 1650, and fairly quickly diffused throughout Europe; Rosenborg boasts several sets of this sort (although this is the only one decorated with silver filigree). Louis XIV filled a whole room with silver filigree furniture earlier in the 1660s, and there is no doubt that this inspired the Danish king and queen to commission something similar.

Christian V (r. 1670-99)

The reign of Christian V and his queen, Charlotte Amalie of Hessen, coincided with the epoch of Baroque grande luxe frames, and of the large looking-glasses which France was now able to produce [35]. There is no doubt that this king and queen, like their predecessors, kept abreast of contemporary fashions in Paris; contrary to the reputation that history has afforded Christian V, there was room for artistic expression at his court.  The construction of the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles began in 1678: seventeen arched looking-glasses were set into the wall opposite the seventeen windows, echoing them precisely in size and shape and forming an integral part of the interior architecture.

The Mirrored Cabinet at Rosenborg Castle

Six years later, in 1684, the Mirrored Cabinet at Rosenborg was begun [36]. The architect took the newly discovered magic of the looking-glass even further than in the French palace. The ceiling, all the walls, the inner sides of the three doors and part of the floor are completely covered in mirrored glass, so that the windows are the only thing which gives any stability to the room. The areas of the floor not covered in mirrored glass are made of dark wood inlaid with coloured woods and green-dyed bone.

The Mirrored Cabinet; detail of the floor

Looking-glass, table & pair of guéridons, 1680s, inlaid with wood and dyed bone, 94-6 x 80.5 cm., Rosenborg Castle

There are corresponding decorations on another triad set at Rosenborg consisting, as before, of a table, two guéridons, and a looking-glass[37]. This last is also made of a dark polished wood; it has an ogee bolection profile, and is decorated on the ogee with scrolling garlands of flowers and leaves on each rail, centred at top and bottom with a bow of ribbon. In 1696, this set is recorded as standing in ‘the King’s Bedchamber’, but as early as 1718 was stored in the gatehouse [38]. It is reasonable to date these pieces as contemporary with the floor of the Mirrored Cabinet; after almost 30 years they were presumably out of date.

In the later 17th century, the royal accounts begin to be recorded in greater detail, although they are not yet as complete as they become after the year 1700. Under the word ‘frames’ in the royal household accounts there are various payments [39], although the number is not particularly impressive – for example, there are no payments recorded before 1678.  Furthermore, it is difficult to match the written entry to the appropriate object. Some names of craftsmen are given: Lorenz Corbianus, cabinetmaker, Peder Maler ( ‘maler’ = painter), Christian Nerger, carver, Nicolaj, a water-pump maker (‘for two carved frames which came to Rosenborg’) and Claus Snedker (‘snedker’ = cabinetmaker).

Christian Nerger (attrib. ?; fl. 1671-1708), looking glass in trophy frame with the monogram of Christian V, 1670s, 170.5 x 127.2 cm.,  Rosenborg Castle

In 1678 Christian Nerger, ‘cabinetmaker’ is paid for ‘two large looking-glasses’ costing 100 Danish rigsdaler (or rix-dollars) apiece. As previously, it is tempting to identify these with two glasses at Rosenborg [40]. Both pieces of mirrored glass are rectangular with bevelled edges and mounted in gilded trophy frames; both frames have an underlying Auricular structure. The royal crowned monogram is painted in gold on inlaid glass roundels in the crests – Christian V’s is ‘framed’ by a coil of rope. The rest of the king’s frame is composed of military trophies: swords, banners halberds, spears, powder tampers, a morning star and cornets at the top; classically-derived armour, with guns, powder horns and helmets on the sides; and at the bottom, further weapons centred on a drum. It is a three-dimensional sculpture, beautifully carved in deep relief.

Christian Nerger (attrib. ?; fl. 1671-1708), looking glass in attributive frame with the monogram of Charlotte Amalie, 1670s, 179 x 120.6 cm.,  Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

The Queen’s frame is composed of foliage and flowers, including sprays of palm leaves and bouquets containing roses, similarly richly carved in deep relief, if not quite so three-dimensional as her husband’s frame. The palms indicate that she is praiseworthy; the flowers are the attributes of Venus, goddess of Love and Beauty.

Jacob d’Agar (1642-1715), Christian V, c.1683, 86.8 x 68.5 cm.; trophy frame attrib. Christian Nerger ( fl. 1671-1708), c.1683, & detail, Rosenborg Castle. Photo of detail: Joe Nestlerode

In 1683 another payment was made to Christian Nerger of 144 rigsdaler and 2 marks for two portrait frames, which can be connected with two frames at Rosenborg[41]. The paintings are oval half-length portraits of the royal couple, attributed to the court painter Jacob d’Agar. Both are topped with two exceptionally large crowns supported by branches of acanthus, whilst the main structure imitates a stylized animal hide, with the corners curling inwards in impressively deep scrolls. The king’s frame has banners at the crest; three regal lions are stationed on the sides and the base, one holding a sceptre, one a sword, whilst the lion at the bottom holds the orb amongst a trophy of weapons including a cannon. Further trophies decorate the sides, and are executed in shallow relief on the frieze of the frame; the sight edge is ringed with a garland of oak leaves and acorns.

Jacob d’Agar (1642-1715), Charlotte Amalie, c.1683, 86.8 x 62 cm.; trophy frame attrib. Christian Nerger ( fl. 1671-1708), c.1683, Rosenborg Castle

The Queen’s frame has a jewelled collar with a pendant bordering the top of the frame carcass, below the crown, and is supported by two cornucopiae at the sides (apparently formed out of leaves), spilling out the flowers and fruits of the earth in a tangle of roses, tulips, fir cones, grapes, wheat ears and sweetcorn. At the base a further bouquet contains grapes, a large rose and a sunflower. The different motifs on the frames of king and queen indicate that he protects his realm by the force of arms, whilst she (as his proxy) is responsible for its prosperity. The sight edge of her frame has a torus carved with very animated bay leaves and berries.

The paintings and looking-glasses hang today on opposite walls of the same room in Rosenborg Castle. It is tempting to imagine that they were created for just such a hanging, but unfortunately this cannot be proved. The portraits were transferred to Rosenborg from Frederiksborg in 1859, where their existence can be traced back to 1737, but no further [42].  The looking-glasses appear in the inventory of Rosenborg in 1718, but they cannot be found in the incomplete inventory of 1696 [43]. They were in ‘the ante-chamber on the middle floor’, a narrow corridor which is a curious place to hang two grande luxe frames like these. They were, however, in good company, since six more large oval portraits of uniform size and in black frames also hung there. These depicted Christian V and Charlotte Amalie, their son and daughter-in-law Frederik IV (r. 1699-1730) and Louise, and younger sons Prince Carl and Prince Wilhelm. As well as these there were also two portraits of Charlotte Amalie’s parents from Hessen, in linear frames covered (unusually) with gilt leather.

The corridor served as an antechamber to the apartment of Christian V’s daughter, Princess Sophie Hedvig, and also served symbolically as an introduction to her closest family. However, the constellation of portraits may originally have belonged to her mother, Charlotte Amalie, and may have been transferred from Charlottenborg, the latter’s residence in Copenhagen, after her death in 1714.

Thus the two looking-glasses, and perhaps the two portraits as well, in their similarly grande luxe frames, may originally all have hung together in Charlottenborg. Whatever the truth of the matter, Christian Nerger’s four Baroque frames are amongst the finest in Europe for the time [44].

Jacob d’Agar (attrib.; 1642-1715), Charlotte Amalie, 1680s, o/copper, 88.5x 65 cm.; trophy frame attrib. Christian Nerger ( fl. 1671-1708), 1680s, Rosenborg Castle

One more frame belongs to this group and may probably also be attributed to Nerger [45]. This contains an oval portrait of Charlotte Amalie, and is decorated with knots and sprays of flowers, grapes and berries. There are three putti at the sides and base, who have lost whatever attributes they originally carried, and at the crest the Queen’s initials are surmounted by a large crown, as with the other frames attributed to Nerger. This is supported by two lions, which also hold a flowered collar between them. The portrait cannot be traced further back than 1813 in the Rosenborg inventories.

Jacob d’Agar (attrib.; 1642-1715), Christian V, 1680s, o/c, giltwood frame, 122.5 x 101 cm., Rosenborg Castle

Two further portraits from the reign of Christian V are in the collection – three-quarter length portraits of the king and queen, the latter with her dwarf Elschen, both attributed again to Jacob d’Agar. They have giltwood scotia frames with complex plain mouldings, both of which have scrolling foliate frontons with an oval monogram held in a bay leaf garland beneath a crown; the crowns in this case are differentiated between the coronation crown for the king and a more compact crown for the queen [46].

Jacob d’Agar (attrib.; 1642-1715), Charlotte Amalie, o/c, giltwood frame, 122.5 x 101 cm., Rosenborg Castle

According to the inventory of 1781, the two portraits hung in the ‘Old Regalia Room’, and in the inventory of 1696, two portraits of the royal couple ‘done by d’Agar’, hung in the same room. This has led to the two pairs of portraits being identified, which is, however, problematic. In 1696, the frames were recorded as made of chased and gilded zinc, which is clearly not the case here. The portraits may, of course, have been reframed; the frontons, which date from the end of the 17th century, refute this, but possibly might have been re-used from the putative earlier zinc frames.

The use of zinc for the framing of royal portraits may seem unlikely today, but it was accorded a considerable rôle in the furnishing of Rosenborg in the time of Christian V. In the Knights’ Hall (according to the inventory of 1696) there was a triad set in each corner, consisting of a looking-glass in a blue glass frame with zinc mounts, a mirrored table with the same sort of ornaments, and two guéridons ditto. Four more large looking-glasses also hung in the hall – these had frames of polished wood overlaid with chased zinc, and Christian V’s monogram in zinc – as well as a chandelier of ‘white zinc’.

In ‘the cabinet beside the Throne’ there was another triad set, consisting of a large looking-glass in a zinc frame, ‘with emblems on top of the ornamentation’, a table of zinc, and two matching guéridons, each with six arms for candles. In the King’s Bedchamber there was a large Dutch cupboard inlaid with tortoiseshell, with mounts of gilded zinc [47], and in his lower chamber twelve silver-plated zinc candle sconces with oval glasses and blue glass frames.  In the Red Cabinet there was a ‘table of redwood’, decorated at the corners and in the centre with embossed zinc, in which Queen Sophie Amalie’s name was inscribed; there was also a couple of matching guéridons. Similar pieces of furniture appear in all the state rooms of the castle. According to the available information, this zinc-ornamented furniture (for which no parallels seem to exist) belongs to the reign of Christian V, and – as his mother’s initials appear on some of the pieces – it must also date back to her own lifetime. As she died in 1685, and it can be assumed that the furniture comes from Sophie Amalienborg, her residence in Copenhagen from 1670 until her death, it can be dated to the 1670s-80s.

The household accounts contain an interesting piece of information relative to this furniture. In 1695, ‘two Nuremburgers’ were paid 2,000 rigsdaler for eight looking-glasses with glass frames, eighteen matching candle sconces with candleholders to hang on the wall, four matching tables with gilded feet and eight gilded guéridons [48].  There can be little doubt that this purchase is the furniture which was registered in 1696 in the Knights’ Hall, and, regarding twelve of the candle sconces, in the King’s lower chamber. What happened to the remaining six sconces is a mystery.

Although this metal was known, mined and employed several millennia ago, the extraction of something called ‘counterfeit’, or zinc, began in Europe in the 17th century [49]. Its modern extraction and experimentation really commenced from 1746; prior to this, it had been imported from China or India. At that period it was seen as a rare and expensive metal, which is why it was used for the decoration of choice pieces of furniture, in the same way that brass or silver might be used. However, zinc could not retain its shine, and it was very difficult to burnish again, so it is no great surprise that practically all the pieces of furniture mentioned above have disappeared or were relegated to the store room as early as 1718. The only ones which remained on view were the frames then apparently on the portraits of Christian V and Charlotte Amalie in the Old Regalia Room, and possibly the triad set in the cabinet beside the throne room. There is certainly mention of a table and two guéridons ornamented in lead appliqués in this cabinet, and in 1731 there were a looking-glass, a table and two guéridons of lead in the same place. It is quite possible that the zinc decorations had become so grey and dull by then that the castle steward mistook them for lead.

Looking-glass, end of the 17th century, dark wooden carcase covered in cast brass, 107 x 102 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

One metal looking-glass has survived. It has a wide cushion frame which is covered in a gold-coloured metal (‘presumably zinc’, according to the present Rosenborg inventory). Unfortunately, this supposition is wrong, as it rests upon an incorrect identification with the records of the older inventories, and the frame is actually made of brass [50]. It has an ogee-arched fronton, and is decorated with scrolling and undulating flowers and foliage, as well as depiction of Zeus as an eagle and Ganymede [51]. This looking-glass was in the ‘Princess’s Antechamber’, together with a table and two guéridons, but as this room was not included in the inventory of 1696, no record of the looking-glass can be found until 1718 [52], so the dating is uncertain; stylistic evidence, however, places it at the end of the 17th century.

Leonora Christine (attrib.; 1621-98), Portrait of Christian V, c.1680, silk embroidery; unknown gold-wire drawer, voluted frame, c.1680, gold thread, 85.5 x 64.9 cm., Rosenborg Castle

In the same antechamber, which (as described above) led to Princess Sophie Hedevig’s apartment, there was also an embroidered oval portrait of Christian V, the Princess’s father [53]. It is beautifully stitched in many-coloured silks and is attributed to Christian IV’s daughter, Leonora Christine. The unusual frame, however, is undoubtedly the work of a professional craftsman. It is decorated with Sansovinesque volutes in which the royal regalia are sewn in gold thread, the crown at the crest, the sceptre and sword threaded through the volutes at the sides, and the orb at the bottom. The inscription runs, in translation:

‘See here a righteous king, an angel-hearted man who piously and rightly rules over folk and land. See here a monarch great, who merited so fair a thousand years the whole world’s crowns to wear.’

During restoration of the frame in 1947, a fragment of a letter was found, dated 1679, giving a terminus post quem for the work [54].

Despite his rather unusual physiognomy, Christian V seems to have been happy enough to be frequently painted. A gouache representing the king was transferred to Rosenborg from The Royal Kunstkammer; it is mounted in a frame painted in gouache with palm leaves tied with a blue ribbon, on which there is an inscription. At the crest there are a crown, sceptre and sword, and at the bottom the Danish and Norwegian coats of arms supporting the orb. Beneath this is the signature, ‘I.henne. Inventor et Pinxit 1692’ [55].  Joachim Henne, the artist, must have been proud of his work, which was made up entirely of small ‘c’s, and the king must have been satisfied enough to have made room for it in his Kunstkammer, with a carved and gilded frame around the whole thing. The latter is rectangular, but otherwise in the same style as the oval gilded frame on the portrait of Crown Princess Louise, whose husband would become Frederik IV [56].

Jacob d’Agar (attrib.; 1642-1715), Crown Princess Louise, 1690s, o/c, 43.2 x 33.7 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

This is a Louis XIII-style frame, consisting of a torus moulding carved with flowers, fruit and foliage, a hollow, a spiral ribbon, and a leaf-tip sight edge, with a crown at the crest. The whole work is recorded in the 1718 inventory in the following terms: ‘Her Majesty Queen Louise’s portrait, depicted while she was yet a Princess, in an oval, gilded and carved frame with a crown above, made by d’Agar’ [57]. The frame was therefore produced between 1695, when Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow married Crown Prince Frederik, and 1699, when he became Frederik IV and she his queen. There are many signs that their relationship was not good; in this case, it is demonstrated by the lack of value put on the portrait of the young Crown Princess. Three years before the queen’s death, it was already stored in ‘the Green Cabinet above the gate’, which – judging by the rest of the furniture stored with it – was clearly a sort of lumber room.

An oval portrait of a man in a gilded frame, very reminiscent of Princess Louise’s, is still at Rosenborg, having in fact been in a lumber room since 1718 [58]. It was stored in a room in the gatehouse together with four others, of which one is described as depicting Louis XIV’s sister and the other four the ‘French family’ (two of the frames have crowns on the crest). These portraits must have been sent to the Danish royal family at the end of the 17th century, when relations between France and Denmark were friendly – however, the gift does not seem to have been highly valued, as all four were hung out of the way. The frames are not particularly finely carved, which of course raises the question as to whether they were sent from France without frames. Until the inventory of 1851, the portraits remained in storage at Rosenborg; today four of them hang at Frederiksborg [59].

Danish School?, The Martyrdom of St Justine, pearwood carving; frame, Christian Nerger (attrib. ?; fl. 1671-1708), late 17th century, 80.7 x 54.7 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

Paintings and looking-glasses were not the only objects to be framed: so too were relief sculptures. On the final dispersal of The Royal Kunstkammer in 1867, Rosenborg received a relief which is described as carved in pearwood and framed in a rectangular carved and gilded frame, which according to the Kunstkammer inventory ‘deserves attention because of its good treatment’ [60]. It is certainly a fine frame: at the crest a crown is raised high in the air by two winged putti, while in the upper corners two eagles hold garlands of fruit, leaves and flowers, which cascade down over the whole frame. At each side two more winged putti hold musical instruments, and there are two at the bottom who embrace. The Royal Kunstkammer had no archival reference to this frame before 1737, but it would be natural to date it to the end of the 17th century, and possibly also to attribute it to Nerger [61].

Two large looking-glasses in giltwood frames are also carved in a style which could be attributed to Nerger. One of them [62] has a bay leaf torus at the sight edge and is otherwise decorated overall with flowers and foliage, gathered at the top into a crest. There is a shield at the base from which palm leaves spring to the lateral centres. All that is known of the previous history of this glass is that it came to Rosenborg in 1859 after the fire at Frederiksborg.

Looking-glass, Christian Nerger (attrib. ?; fl. 1671-1708), end of 17th century, 179.5 x 125 cm., Rosenborg Castle

The second looking-glass [63] has the same imbricated bay leaf sight edge as the first, whilst the main body of the frame is covered with wildly scrolling branches of acanthus, twined with bouquets and posies of flowers. At the top is a crest of leaves, and at the base a large rose forms the centre of an apron. In 1718 the glass hung in the cabinet beside the Winter Room, and it remained there until after 1830, when the castle became a museum and the rooms were refurnished. This room does not appear in the 1696 inventory, but there is hardly any doubt that the looking-glass must date from the end of the 17th century.

Looking-glass, Christian Nerger (attrib. ?; fl. 1671-1708), end of 17th century, carved giltwood frame with mirrored glass frieze, 199.2 cm. high, Rosenborg Castle

The large pieces of mirrored sheet glass made possible by technical developments in the last half of the 17th century had an obvious attraction for those who could afford them. They provided clearer reflections, and they could catch and multiply the light in an interior. Mirrored glass also began to move outwards, onto the frame: Rosenborg has two specimens of this sort. One of them [64] is very reminiscent of Nerger’s frames as regards design and decoration. It is made up of swags of foliage, flowers and bunches of grapes growing from undulating vines in which six putti are playing. Two birds sit at the top corners, and the crest consists of a circular glass engraved with further putti, held in a foliate wreath and supported by lions: this is surmounted by a crown. The frieze is made up of engraved panels of mirrored glass held in foliate giltwood mouldings; the engraved scenes may represent the four elements. In the inventory of 1718, this looking-glass and its pendant were recorded in a room in the gatehouse, which may indicate that they were regarded as old-fashioned at the time [65]. An additional note in the margin states that the two glasses were transferred in 1719 to Frederiksborg by order of the King. They were saved from the fire of 1859, after which one was sent to Rosenborg and the other to Fredensborg, where it still hangs. As there is a similar looking-glass at Het Loo, the Dutch royal palace, the curators at Rosenborg concluded that their own glass could be Netherlandish, possibly designed by Daniel Marot, and dating from the 1680s. However, correspondence with Dutch colleagues suggested that there is no demonstrable connection, and that there is no earlier information on this glass [66].

Looking-glass, end of 17th century, wooden frame inset with mirrored glass panels, decorated with gilt brass mouldings, 160 x 103 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

The other Rosenborg piece with mirrored glass decoration has a reverse frame covered in faceted panels between narrow sheet brass mouldings ornamented with foliage and flowers [67]. There are pierced and gilded sheet brass corners and centres, decorated with crossed palm leaves centred on a flower, and surrounded by further leaves and flowers. The ogee-shaped fronton is also covered in mirrored glass, overlaid with a filigree of scrolling foliage and flowers in gilded sheet brass. In 1718 this looking-glass was ‘in the corridor by the red cabinet’, where it was part of a triad set together with a matching table and two guéridons [68]. This room is not recorded in the 1696 inventory, but there can be little doubt that this frame also dates from the end of the 17th century.

Frederik IV (r. 1699-1730)

Apart from the portrait of Crown Princess Louise (above), an oval portrait of the queen, Louise of Mecklenburg-Gustrow, in a giltwood frame with a carved shell crest and apron, and a pendant portrait of Frederik IV in a slightly more opulent setting [69], there are no carved picture frames at Rosenborg from this reign. What frames there are are mostly described as being merely gilded or black, and it is once again looking-glasses which carry forward the theme at a time when the movement was away from the drama of the Baroque to the more slender and classical Régence style.

Looking-glass, beginning of 18th century, wooden frame covered overall with gilded brass, 115.4 x 98.4 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

The looking-glass above is an example of late Baroque: a broad frame with an oval contour and rectangular sight, with a large crest shaped as ornamental crown, supported by two winged putti [70]. The surface of the frame is covered overall with pierced and gilded brass acanthus leaves, poppies, sunflowers and tulips, whilst pairs of lovers embrace at the sides, and putti at top and bottom support medallion portraits of Frederik IV and Queen Louise. This looking-glass was purchased for the collection at the Exhibition of Arts and Industry in Copenhagen in 1879, presumably because of the royal portraits. No information as to its provenance has been discovered.

Looking-glass, beginning of 18th century, giltwood with mirrored glass set in fronton, 179.7 x 92.7 cm., Rosenborg Castle

This is one of a pair of elegant early 18th century looking-glasses, with giltwood panel frames inlaid with mirrored glass in the frontons. They are cushion frames, the cushion mouldings carved with pierced foliate decoration between shaped panels or reposes ornamented with flowers. The strapwork fronton is surrounded by garlands of flowers, with a bold acanthus bud at the crest [71]. These two looking-glasses are noted in the Rosenborg inventory of 1877, but it has unfortunately not been possible to identify them in any older inventories.

Another looking-glass is in a rather different style, with a wooden carcase covered overall in mirrored glass held in gilt bronze mouldings, and a fronton is similarly made of mirrored glass set in mouldings of gilded wood carved with flowers [72]. At the centres of each rail are gilded bows and cut-glass rosettes (some missing); the frame is also decorated with a mask and a vase of flowers with hanging tendrils, all made of gilded lead. This looking-glass came to Rosenborg from Fredensborg in 1859 [73]. J.J.A. Worsaae, who was director of Rosenborg at that point, and was furnishing the new castle museum, discovered the looking-glass in a lady-in-waiting’s room at Fredensborg and contacted the Court, asking to have it transferred to Rosenborg. His letter describes it as ‘very damaged’, which might have been an exaggeration. A similar looking-glass, with a rather more simple fronton, can be found at Clausholm, and is stamped with Queen Anna Sophie’s crowned monogram and the year 1731 [74]. The latter is not necessarily the date of the glass, but indicates that it belonged to the queen, the second wife of Frederik IV, who was exiled to Clausholm after the death of the king in 1730.

Venetian looking-glass, 1709, mirrored glass on a wooden carcase, 158 x 81 cm., Rosenborg Castle

The collection also includes a Venetian looking-glass, with a frame completely covered in mirrored panels. It has a curved gable-shaped pediment, also covered in mirrored glass, with obelisk-shaped acroteria. All the glass panels have bevelled edges and are held by narrow lead mouldings. Palmettes, florets and acanthus leaves of cut glass are attached to frame and fronton with screws, and are centred with artificial jewels of clear or blue glass. This looking-glass is first mentioned in the 1718 inventory [75], when it was in the Glass Cabinet, where it still hangs. The cabinet was fitted out in 1714 to house Frederik IV’s collection of glass, including pieces which he brought back with him from Venice in 1709. The looking-glass is assumed to have made a part of this group, and therefore dates at the latest from that year [76].

Overmantel glass, 1705, giltwood, 223.7 x 150.2 cm., Rosenborg Castle [with apologies for the poor quality of the photo; all that was available]

In 1705, a French style  overmantel glass was made for the bedchamber of Frederik IV and Queen Louise [77]. It has a giltwood frame with an ogee profile, egg-&-dart along the back edge and beading at the sight edge, and carved ornaments in the corners and centres. It is set into the chimneypiece inside a gilded architectural frame with pilasters and pediment [78]. This room, with its fireplace and wall hangings of red and white silk, is one of the best-preserved rooms at Rosenborg, which Frederik IV modernized on his accession to the throne, although, given the bitter personal relationship  of the royal couple, it was probably not occupied very regularly.

Conrad Geisler (late 17th-18th century; Altona, Hamburg), looking-glass, table and guéridons, boxwood inlaid with chinoiseries in coloured woods, frame 185 x 95.5 cm., acquired 1712, Rosenborg Castle

Another triad set, consisting as before of a looking-glass, table and two guéridons should be mentioned. It is made of yew and inlaid with chinoiseries, flowers and dyed green leaves. The looking-glass has a vaguely aedicular structure, with pilasters, a plinth, and a round-arched pediment carried on its own small pilasters [79]. Jørgen Hein has found an invoice in the royal accounts which must refer to these items: they date from 1712, and formerly included a ‘Dutch cupboard’ besides the triad, all of them purchased from the German cabinetmaker Conrad Geisler. In 1718 this set of furniture was placed in ‘The King’s Chamber’ (now the Marble Cabinet), but this room had only had this name and purpose since 1715 (it was previously the throne room), so Geisler’s furniture must originally have stood elsewhere [80]. Today there are very few complete triad sets preserved in European interiors, so those already mentioned here must be regarded with considerable satisfaction.

Frederik IV’s silver throne and a matching silver table were installed in the room neighbouring the King’s Chamber/ Marble Cabinet, which became the new throne room, and the following furnishings are also noted there (although as an addition in a different hand): two varnished looking-glasses, two rectagular varnished tables with two guéridons for each, two armchairs, six high-backed chairs and six bracket lamps, each with a candle arm. Some of this furniture is at Frederiksborg today, whilst some remains at Rosenborg – the two large gold-varnished looking-glasses and matching tables, for example [81].

The varnish mentioned is aventurine lacquer, which glints in changing light. It is a marvel that these pieces of furniture have survived, although they are not particularly well-preserved. Aventurine lacquer was a finish in use throughout 18th century Europe, and was developed in imitation of Japanese lacquerwork. The technique for making it involves applying one or more coats of lacquer to the wooden surface, which is then sprinkled with flakes of silver or gold leaf while wet. Further coats of lacquer – gold, silver, red, green, blue – are applied. Afterwards decorations can be painted on the lacquer: landscapes, of which remnants can be seen on the tops of the tables, or flowers, which can be made out on the looking-glass frames. The problem with this treatment is that the lacquer – particularly the coat containing the flakes of gold or silver – can peel off through the effects of time and changing climatic conditions. The technique was invented in Japan, and was introduced to Denmark by the court varnisher, Christian van Bracht (c. 1637-1720), who was born and educated in the Netherlands. He, his two sons and his son-in-law, carried out innumerable works for the court. Aventurine lacquering is regarded as a speciality of his family, and apart from these pieces of furniture, many picture frames can be found, even today, that are lacquered in this way. These, however, do not seem to have been made outside Denmark.

Heindrich Reinicke, star-shaped octagonal looking-glasses, silver and aventurine lacquer, 1706, and detail with the Order of the Elephant, Marble Cabinet, Rosenborg

Well-preserved aventurine lacquer decorates two looking-glasses and six matching bracket lamps; they are made of silver, with rich red varnished mouldings. They were made for the Marble Cabinet in 1706, when it was still a throne room and the place where Danish orders – the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog – were awarded to the elect. Both looking-glasses are octagonal with the red lacquered mouldings at the sight edge, and an outer frame of chased silver shaped like a star to reflect the star-shaped orders – as are the bracket lamps. They all have a silver crown on the crest; the looking-glasses have a silver Order of the Elephant Order at the base, depending from a ribbon woven into the rays of the frame. The bracket lamps have two silver arms for candles. The set of eight pieces is attributed to Heindrich Reinicke, the Copenhagen goldsmith, whose mark on the looking-glasses [82].

These looking-glasses and their frames have been assigned a role which outshines all the others. The person who steps into the Marble Cabinet at once becomes aware that this room is something special, solemnly dedicated to the Danish Orders.

In conclusion, it should be said that this overview of frames at Rosenborg and Frederiksborg, from the 17th century to the early 18th century, demonstrates that it is the looking-glass frames which play the biggest part in the interiors of the period. They are what the different castle stewards spent most care upon in their brief and matter-of-fact descriptions of the many rooms in the castle, and of all the frames, it is these which even now attract the greatest attention from those visiting the interior of the castle.


Mogens Bencard

Mogens Bencard  was chief curator and then director of the Royal Danish Collections from 1980-98. his publications include Christian IV’s Royal plate, 1988; Silver furniture, 1992; ‘The Royal Danish collections at Rosenborg’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 3(3), pp.221-236, September 1984.


[1] A. Petersen, ed., ‘Frederiksborgs Slots Inventarium af 1650’, Danske Samlinger, vol. 2, Copenhagen, 1866-67

[2] H. Holck, ed., Rosenborg Slots Inventarium, forfattet udi Kong Christian 5tes Tid, Copenhagen, 1775

[3] In the archives of Rosenborg Castle and in the State Archive

[4] Inv. no 1-41

[5] M. Rosenberg, Der Goldschmiede Merkzeichen, vol. IV, Berlin, 1928, p. 24: ‘no 5018, Master of the Panpipes. Year letter H for 1566/67. Toilet glass for Queen Sophie?’ Repeated by R. Stuyck, Belgische Zilver- merken, Antwerp, 1984, no 107. See also C. Hernmarck, The Art of the European Silversmiths, 1977, p. 225, and fig. 564 (illustrated upside down).

[6] J. Hein in H. Spielmann & J. Drees, Gottorf im Glanz des Barock, vol. 1, cat. 58, fig. p. 417. M. Bencard & J. Hein, Krigsbytte fra Gottorp, 1997, cat. 60.

[7] See J. Hein in Christian 4. og Rosenborg, Rosenborg, 2006, p. 30 ff. The panels are reproduced in F. Beckett, Kristian IV og Malerkunsten, 1937, p. 55, fig. 37, where the paintings are attributed to Frantz Clein

[8] Inv. no 1-115. This looking-glass is reproduced in Christian IV og Europa, Copenhagen 1988, cat. no 639. The hourglass with inv. no 1-111 is reproduced in the same place, cat. no 640

[9] G. Galster, Danske og Norske Medailler, Copenhagen, 1936, p.31 ff

[10] Inv. no 3-36. M. Bencard, Silver Furniture, Rosenborg, 1992, cat. no 1, has further references

[11] P. 153, no 18.

[12] Inv. no 3-39. Bencard, ibid., cat. no 2

[13] J.A. Berg, Kurtze und eigentliche Beschreibung— Friedrichsburg —, 1646, p. Kjj.

[14] On the frames of the castle chapel, see Danmarks Kirker, Frederiksborg Amt, 1973, p. 1870.

[15] See P. J. J. van Thiel & C. J. de Bruyn Kops, Prijst de Lijst, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1984.

[16] A. Petersen, op. cit., p. 135

[17] Ibid., p. 145

[18] Ibid., p. 152

[19] Ibid., p. 161.

[20] This association of god and goddesses was particularly popular in the 17th century. The idea of playing on the trio by having a third person take the part of Venus is known from a silver cup at Rosenborg, which belonged to Kirsten Munk. Ceres and Bacchus are depicted here together with the arms of the Munk family. Inv. no 1-119.

[21] A. Petersen, op. cit., p. 167

[22] Ibid. p. 174.

[23] Ibid. p. 189. Presumably part of the apartment of the Prince Elect.

[24] Rosenborg, inv. no 1-127 and 1-128.

[25] Danmarks Kirker (København, vol. I, Copenhagen 1545-1958, p. 655) ignores the date 1620 and dates the Auricular forms on the stylistic evidence to the 1630s

[26] Inv. no 3-54

[27] Inv. no 21-51 and 21-54

[28] P. 133, no 9 (the Queen) and no 10 (the King). Inv. no 21-51 and 21-54.  See J. Hein & K. Johansen, Sophie Amalie: Den onde dronning?,  Rosenborg, 1986, cat. nos 17 and 70. The king’s portrait is not dated here, but the queen’s is dated to c.1675. It is stated as having been transferred from Frederiksborg in 1859, but this must be an error. Both portraits seem to have been at Rosenborg since 1696

[29] P. Eller, Kongelige portrætmalere i Danmark 1630-82, 1971, p. 141

[30] E. Kai Sass in Kunstmuseets Aarskrift, 1942, pp. 82-93

[31] Inv. nos 7-30, 7-31, 7-32, and 7-34

[32] Inv. no 125-1

[33] Inv. no 7-92. Inventory 1696, p. 117, no. 1

[34] M. Bencard, Silver Furniture, Rosenborg, 1992, cat. no 8; & C Arminjon (ed.), Quand Versailles était meublé d’argent, Versailles, 2007, fig. 88, p. 106

[35] By the 1660s, Louis XIV had at last managed to bribe three Murano glass workers to bring the secrets of creating large pieces of mirrored plate glass, silvered with a tin and mercury alloy, to Paris.

[36] It was earlier believed that this cabinet was built at the beginning of the 1700s for Frederik IV, but a recent archival discovery by Jørgen Hein has led to a redating of the room. J. Hein, ‘Spejle, hygiejne og erotic’, in Architecture, 28, Copenhagen, 2006, pp. 53-66

[37] Inv. no 27-36

[38] 1718, 549-3/5

[39] E. Marquard, Kongelige Kammerregnskaber fra Frederik IIIs og Christian Vs Tid, Copenhagen, 1918

[40] 6-172 and no 6-339

[41] Inv. nos 6-12 and 6-14

[42] Reported in 1984 by museum curator Steffen Heiberg. Rosenborg archive

[43] 1718, p. 260, no 5

[44] Prijst de Lijst, op. cit., and Claus Grimm, Alte Bilderrahmen, Munich, 1977

[45] Inv. no 24-344. The royal household accounts include a bill from 1680 for a carved chair and two looking-glasses, and two unspecified bills from 1681 (19.3.) and one from 1682 (23.11.) for 200, 170 and 144 rigsdaler respectively. In 1683 (23.6.) Nerger is paid 144 rigsdaler and 2 marks for two portrait frames, and finally there is an unspecified payment of 144 rigsdaler in 1687. Smaller sums were later paid out to him: 48 rigsdaler for frames in 1693 (2?.8), and 69 rigsdaler in 1697 (26.2), similarly for frames

[46] Inv. nos 21-111 and 21-112

[47] Today inv. no 4-26. Today these are described as made of brass or gilded metal, rather than zinc.

[48] The Royal Household Accounts, New Year, 1695

[49] On zinc, see L. H. Hoover: Gregorius Agricola, De re metallica, New York, 1950, p. 112 & p. 408 ff., note 48. With particular thanks to Helge Brinch Madsen, senior lecturer at the School of Conservation, for his help with this

[50] With particular thanks to Hazze Nyström, conservator-in-chief and metal conservator at Rosenborg, for having investigated this

[51] Inv. no 4-33

[52] 1718, 275-1/2

[53] Inv. no 6-86. 1718, 276-9

[54] Hein & Johansen, Sophie Amalie, op. cit., cat. no 58

[55] Inv. no 6-175. The Royal Kunstkammer, 797/780; see B. Gundestrup, Det kongelige danske Kunstkammer 1737, Copenhagen, 1991, vol. 1, p. 415

[56] Inv. no 8-24

[57]  1718, 549-8

[58] Inv. no 25-703. 1718, 554-5

[59] All four above the two doors of Room 40

[60] Inv. no 6-567. Kunstkammeret1737, 772/440, Gundestrup, 1991, vol. I, p. 331, illus. p. 330

[61] A very similar frame was displayed at an antique exhibition at Forum, Copenhagen, in 2003

[62] Inv. no 9-84

[63] Inv. no 7-378

[64] Inv. no 9-127

[65] 1718, 558 and 563

[66] Rosenborg, Journal, A97-297-7.4.2

[67] Inv. no 9-23

[68] 1718, page 287-3. The table and guéridons have not survived

[69] J. Heinin, Kongernes Rosenborg, Copenhagen, 2006, figs 55 and 56

[70] Inv. no 10-42

[71] Inv. nos 8-30 and 8-33

[72] Inv. no 9-39

[73] It hangs today in the Garden Room (room 4a), see Kongernes Rosenborg (note 66), p. 45, fig. 62

[74] T. Clemmensen: Møbler paa Clausholm-Lan- gesø-Holstenshus, Copenhagen 1946, p. 13, fig. 5 and 6

[75] Inv. no 22-651. 1718, 240-73

[76] G. Boesen: Venetianske Glas på Rosenborg, Copenhagen 1960, cat. no. 143. J. Hein: Venetianske Glas, Rosenborg 1984, cat. no. 98

[77] Inv. no 4-22

[78] Kongernes Rosenborg, p. 45, fig. 62. Room 4.

[79] Inv. no 11-41

[80] M. Bencard: Silver Furniture, Rosenborg 1992, p. 28

[81] The mirrors: inv. nos 25-235 and 25-734. Some bracket lamps have recently been rede- posited from Frederiksborg. Because of an ongoing restoration at Rosenborg just now, it has not been possible to get photographs of these two mirrors

[82] M. Bencard: Silver Furniture, cat. no. 34-41