The Queen Sonja Art Stable
The Queen Sonja Art Stable is located in the former Royal Stables. These buildings are part of the Palace that has not previously been open to the public.
The venue itself was a gift to Her Majesty Queen Sonja from His Majesty The King. The Royal Stables had been used for storage since World War II. Now the building has been converted into an arena for art and culture, officially opened on the Queen’s 80th birthday, 4 July 2017. The Queen Sonja Art Stable was opened to the public on 5 July.
The opening exhibition
The Art Stable’s first exhibition has two main parts: contemporary Norwegian graphic art and a collection of Queen Maud’s photographs.
Her Majesty Queen Sonja’s Jubilee Collection
In honour of the 80th birthday of Queen Sonja, a group of Norwegian artists donated one graphic print each. The result is a wide-ranging, diverse collection representing most printmaking techniques and types of graphic art. The 164 works make up the opening exhibition of the Queen Sonja Art Stable.
The opening exhibition displays 164 graphic prints by Norwegian artists. Photo: Liv Osmundsen, The Royal Court.
A list of the artists is available in PDF format via the links list.
Queen Maud’s Album
Queen Maud (1869 – 1938) was a keen photographer and left 20 000 photographs and 44 albums of her own and others’ photographs. The collection provides unique documentation of the Royal Family’s history.
The Art Stable contains a photo installation based on Queen Maud’s photographs. The installation is structured around six “chapters”: Coronation, winter enjoyment, gala events, riding, entertaining, and summer delights. Each chapter is introduced with one of Queen Maud’s ensembles in a digital presentation.
A glimpse of the photo installation “Queen Maud’s Photo Albums”. Reproduced with the permission of the National Museum.
The installation is a gift from the Norwegian Government on the occasion of the 80th birthdays of the King and Queen, and was compiled by the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in collaboration with The Royal Collections and Tellart.
The Royal Stables
The Royal Stables were built between 1845 and 1848 according to designs from Palace architect H.D.F. Linstow. King Haakon and Queen Maud expanded the facilities in 1911. British-born Queen Maud was an accomplished equestrian, and the stables were remodelled based on those at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews. The expanded stables provided a number of new functions, including an equestrian arena with a spectator gallery and bandstand, a shoeing forge and infirmary stalls.
The coronation carriage returning to the Palace after a visit to the Storting, January 1932. The Royal Stables had room for 38 horses. Photographer: Carsten Sætren, The Royal Collections.
On Queen Maud’s initiative, a British stable master was hired. At one point, there was a staff of 13 grooms living in the accommodations above the centre stable building. The centre stable could house 38 horses as well as carriages, saddles and harnesses.
After Queen Maud’s death in 1938, the practice of keeping horses declined. The last horses were removed from the Royal Stables shortly after the outbreak of war in 1940. When the Royal Family returned to the Palace in 1945, it was by car. The era of the horse had ended.
The former stalls have been retained as part of the interior as the building was adapted to become the Art Stable. Photo: Jan Haug, The Royal Court.
The opening of the Queen Sonja Art Stable marks the beginning of a new era for the stables. Where the horses once stood in their stalls, the public can now enjoy art and history.