Damsgård Manor is a landmark manor and estate in Bergen, Norway. It is noted for its distinct rococo style and is possibly the best preserved wooden building from 18th-century Europe.
The area surrounding the manor was most likely populated during the Viking era or earlier, but literary evidence shows it was a population center in 1427, listed as church property. Following the Reformation in 1536, the estate was taken over by the crown and then sold to foreign interests.
The name is most likely derived from Dam Tønneson, who in 1654 inherited the farm from his father Tønnes Klausson, who in turn received it from Frederick II of Denmark due to his service during the Northern Seven Years' War. The oldest sections of the structure, however, are probably from around 1720, when Severin Seehusen (1664-1726) owned the estate. At the time, the buildings were painted bright red and green. An estimate for the main house from 1731 exists and indicates the general layout of the structure. By all accounts, the estate was a year-round farm and a recreational property.
Joachim Christian Geelmuyden Gyldenkrantz (1730-1795), later knighted Gyldenkrantz, took over the farm in 1769 and quickly began the Rococo construction that exists to this day. He also rebuilt the main house to face the maritime approach to Bergen. Shortly after Gyldenkrantz died, the property was sold to Herman Didrich Janson, one of the wealthiest men of his time. He only completed minor external changes but thoroughly renovated the interior of the houses. The Janson family maintained ownership of the estate until 1983, when it was taken over by Vestlandske kunstindustrimuseum, which embarked on a 10-year restoration effort. It was put on the protected list, and Bergen Museum took over the estate.
Damsgård is one of the few buildings of the rococo architectural style in Norway, and is unusual as a rococo wooden structure in Europe. The facade of the main building exaggerates the dimensions of the house itself, and two windows are painted on to create symmetry. The building's interior layout has been restored to its original, early 18th century plan, and the interior to the different eras of Damsgård's history.
The estate has two gardens inside its walls and one outside. The eastern garden, located inside the walls, is known as the 'Master's garden', the western garden, also located inside the walls, is known as the 'Mistress's garden', while the garden outside the walls is known as the 'English garden'. After decades of detoriation, the gardens were restored to their 18th century state in 1998. Botanists from the University of Bergen helped decide which vegetables and flowers would be grown to make them as much like the original gardens as possible.
The eastern garden, also known as the Lord's garden, is strictly symmetric, with six squares of plants and pathways of white shingle. The western garden, known as the Lady's garden, is far less symmetric, with two ponds and a small statue of Neptune spouting water into one of the ponds. Both these gardens are surrounded by walls. This is not the case with the English garden. Laid out in the 18th century, it only became an English garden around 1830. This garden contains a small stream and a path, and is open all year.
The museum of Damsgård is open to the public by tour only.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.