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 Royal Stables are worth a visit in their own right. Renovated for the opening of the Art Stable, the stables now appear as they did in their heyday - in the interwar years when King Haakon and Queen Maud kept their horses here.
Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
The Royal Stables. Horses and their eqipage 1905-1940
The Royal Stable was at the height of its glory in the years following the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden. The practice of keeping horses ended in 1940.
Some of the Palace's finest carriages, harnesses and tackle are on display in this exhibition. Kristin Günther's video installation Hesten [The Horse] is projected on the ceiling and the Royal Tack Room is open to the public for the first time.
The exhibition is framed within the stable itself, as it stood at the time when King Haakon and Queen Maud kept their horses here.
Welcome back to a time when horses were as common on the streets of Oslo as cars are today!
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.
A new era
The use of this venue 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 was to be converted into an arena for art and culture.
The Queen Sonja Art Stable officially opened on the Queen’s 80th birthday, 4 July 2017, and was opened to the public on 5 July.
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.