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.
Tradition and Inspiration (20 June - 2 September)
This exhibition presents Norwegian national costumes worn by the Royal Family along with a selection of artworks and other treasures from Norway’s cultural history. All of the objects exhibited are examples of Norwegian and Sami folk art and handicrafts.
The National Tapestries (detail) are part of the exhibtion "Tradition and inspiration". Photo. Jan Haug, The Royal Collections.
These unique objects enable us to trace historical paths to the past, showing us how tradition has inspired artists and craftspeople alike.
National costumes originated mainly in historical folk dress. Some of the traditional costumes were carried forward while new costumes were also created in the early 1900s as part of the nationalism movement.
These items, along with beautifully carved benches, log chairs and sledges, Sami crafts, knives and traditional silver filigree jewellery worn with national costumes, constitute a presentation of the wide range of Norwegian cultural heritage found in the Royal Collections.
Some of the objects in the exhibition have become a part of the Royal Collections through inheritance, while others were gifts or personal purchases. They are part of the history of the Royal Family. At the same time, they represent key elements of Norwegian cultural heritage, by virtue of both their intrinsic value and their unique history of ownership
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.