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Grandmother’s Bridal Crown

Bestemors brudekrone (“Grandmother’s Bridal Crown”) was painted by Adolph Tidemand in 1869 and was presented as a gift to Princess Louise of Norway and Sweden upon her marriage to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Today, the painting hangs in the Royal Palace.

National Romantic trends

The National Romantic movement in Norway was prevalent from roughly 1840 to 1870. This movement led to a new surge of interest in – and idealisation of – Norway’s national history and the cultural heritage rooted in the people. It was during these years that historian P.A. Munch began writing his monumental history of the Norwegian people, and linguist Ivar Aasen began his efforts to synthesise Norwegian dialects into a separate Norwegian written language. In the fine arts, the influence of National Romanticism are evident in the music of Edward Grieg and Ole Bull, the poetry of Johan S. Welhaven and the works of playwright Henrik Ibsen, among others. Adolph Tidemand (1814 – 1876) is considered to be one of the seminal painters of this period.

The artist

Adolph Tidemand spent much of his adult life abroad, ultimately settling in Düsseldorf. He returned to Norway quite often, however, conducting more than 17 study trips between 1832 and his death in 1876. These trips resulted in over 150 sketches depicting the clothing, tools, buildings and interiors of the time, thus memorialising the traditional Norwegian way of life in a unique manner. He chose his distinctive models with care, often recording their names and occasionally the date or year of production on the sketch involved. Along with the works of Johannes Flintoe (22 studies) and Joachim Frich (65 studies), Tidemand’s images of traditional folk costumes provide a lasting, reliable ethnographic record of folk traditions and costume-making in Norway's remote farming communities.

Tidemand’s trips to Norway and his set of sketches and folk costume studies provided him with supporting material for the paintings he composed back in his studio in Düsseldorf. He often took artistic freedom in his paintings, however, for instance by combining different parts of folk costumes in ways that deviated from their traditional use and portrayal in the original sketches.

Grandmother’s Bridal Crown

The first rendition of Grandmother’s Bridal Crown was painted in 1865. In all, there are five known versions of the painting produced by Tidemand. It was common practice to paint an initial version of a painting for the open market, while works repeating the motif, with or without modifications, were often commissioned and produced afterward. The number of versions of a given work is an indication of the popularity of its motif.

Tidemand’s paintings are carefully and intimately composed. In Grandmother’s Bridal Crown, the grandmother proudly displays her bridal crown to her three grandchildren, eagerly grouped around her. The scene is idyllic, capturing a somewhat nostalgic sentiment while at the same time revealing the homely arts and possessions in great detail.

Wedding gift

The version of Grandmother’s Bridal Crown in the Palace collection was produced in 1869 and was commissioned by a Norwegian women’s committee as a wedding gift for Princess Louise of Norway and Sweden (daughter of Carl XV and the mother of King Haakon) on her marriage to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The committee also gave the couple a painting of Hans. F. Gude: Norwegian Fjord with Vessel.

The Palace version

In this version of the painting, Tidemand has placed portraits of King Carl XV and Queen Louise in top of the open chest as a gesture towards the recipient’s family and the specific occasion for which the painting was being created.

Both Grandmother’s Bridal Crown and Norwegian Fjord with Vessel became part of the Palace collection in 1926 as part of King Haakon’s inheritance from his mother.


Oil on canvas

114 x 100 cm

Inventory number



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