Strömsholm Palace, sometimes called Strömsholm Castle is a Swedish royal palace. The baroque palace is built on the site of a fortress from the 1550s, located on an island in the Kolbäcksån river at the west end of Lake Mälaren. The palace has interiors from the 18th century and an important collection of Swedish paintings.
King Gustav Vasa had a fortress built at Strömsholm in the 1550s. This later provided the foundation for the present Strömsholm Palace, built in 1669-1674 for Queen Hedvig Eleonora to a design by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. The palace consists of a central building framed by four square corner towers. On the park side, there is a large, domed central tower. Around 20 estate buildings were erected at the same time as the palace, and the first stages of a park in the French baroque style were laid out. Work on the interiors came to a halt when the building's fabric was completed. Not until the 1730s was the first phase of interior work carried out, including a palace chapel in the attic designed by the Swedish architect Carl Hårleman.
The interiors at Strömsholm Palace are largely Gustavian in style. In 1766 the heir to the Swedish throne, later King Gustav III, married Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark. As a wedding present from the Swedish Riksdag, she was given Strömsholm Palace. Extensive interior works commenced, under the architectural direction of Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, and continued into the 19th century. The queen's bedchamber is a prime example of Swedish interior design from the start of the Gustavian era, as well as the Chinese dining room with its fabric-covered walls with Chinese style paintings done by the renowned tapestry painter Lars Bolander.
The palace also houses an important collection of Swedish paintings from the 17th century, amongst others David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl's paintings of King Charles XII's horses. Since the 16th century, Strömsholm has been an equestrian center of Sweden. In the 1550s, King Gustav Vasa reinforced the importance of horses here, by raising horses for Sweden´s army. The Strömsholm Riding School was a part of the Swedish Army from 1868 to 1968. Today, Strömsholm is used as a hippodrome, where equestrian competitions are held each year.
In 1985, the palace underwent major renovation of its facade. Over the years, the exterior had undergone various alterations, but the plasterwork as originally applied in the 1670s was largely intact. The roof was covered with tar shingles until the 19th century, when these were replaced with tin. The palace was restored in stages during the 1990s. The disposition of the rooms in the royal apartments was restored, and the 18th century furnishings were placed in the correct context. One of the most important features of the restoration was the reproduction of the 1760s wallpaper, the original of which was found in isolation on an attic beam in one of the houses on the estate. Old linen towels were transformed into royal wallpaper.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.