Photos from Instagram of Håkan Groth, antique dealer, writer, photographer and author of Neoclassicism in the North.
Gustaf III loved the theatre and the opera, an interest and a passion he had inherited from his mother Queen Lovisa Ulrica. He had taken over her Court Theatre at Drottningholm and he also inherited her Court Theatre at Ulriksdal (‘Confidencen’) that was created in 1753 by Carl Fredric Adelcrantz in an old building from the 1670s that had been a riding school.
The royal family and the courtiers loved to perform amateur theatricals, but after the French ambassador Count d’Usson commented that he felt it was beneath a king’s dignity to appear on stage as an actor, Gustaf gave up acting and confined himself to authorship and stage management.
The Ulriksdal Court Theatre was in frequent use until the death of Gustaf III in 1792. It fell into disrepair in the 19th century and the stage machinery was dismantled in the 1860s. Carl XV, who’s favourite residence Ulriksdal was, had plans to have the theatre transformed into a hunting lodge in the Renaissance style. Work stopped with the king’s death in 1872, and the building was used for a variety of things, such a school classroom, a military barrack and a telegraphic station.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that it was decided to preserve the building and begin to slowly restore it. The original machinery was reconstructed and normally a variety of performances are held here each summer.
The plain walls of the auditorium in the Ulriksdal Court Theatre were painted trompe l’œil to imitate colossal Corinthian pilasters, architraves and cartouches.
Carl Fredric Adelcrantz decorated a suite of royal reception rooms at the Ulriksdal Court Theatre in what had once been a tavern.
The central room, no. 7 on the plan, is a so-called ‘confidence dining room’ used by the royal family as a private dining room in connection with performances. It was equipped with a ‘table ā confidence’ that could be lowered into the room below and set there. Four dumb waiters in the corners would be sent up from the kitchen with the dishes so the diners could serve themselves without the need of eavesdropping servants.
The two following rooms, nos. 9 and 10, are now used as a serving room and a kitchen as the dining room can be hired for small intimate dinners.
The Court Theatre is now known as ‘Confidencen’ in Swedish after this room.
Details of the Rococo decor in the Confidence Dining Room in the Ulriksdal Court Theatre designed by Carl Fredric Adelcrantz c 1753.
This is the first of the royal reception rooms at the Ulriksdal Court Theatre (no. 5 on the plan). On the walls hangs a portrait of King Adolph Fredric under whose reign in 1753 the theatre was constructed on the initiative of his Queen Ulrica Eleonora.
The set of giltwood Gustavian chairs were a gift to the theatre by his descendant, Princess Christina, the sister of the present king.
The Princess used to live in the nearby Villa Beylon and she was, together with the well known opera singer Kerstin Dellert, much involved in the restoration of this, the oldest Rococo theatre in Sweden.
The Salon (no. 6 on the plan) at the ‘Confidencen’, the Ulriksdal Court Theatre has elegantly painted Rococo canvases painted by Johan Pasch.
Details of three of the Rococo canvases painted by Johan Pasch in the royal reception rooms in the Ulriksdal Court Theatre ‘Confidencen’. The canvases were found in storage at the National Museum in Stockholm. All except one had survived, so a new one was commissioned from an artist as a replacement.
The modern replacement panel painted for the Court Theatre Confidencen at Ulriksdal has three portraits of contemporary Swedish artists: seated is Kjerstin Dellert (1925-2018), opera singer and theatre manager, standing to the left is the actress Lena Nyman (1944-2011), and to the right, the soprano Elisabeth Söderström (1927-2009). In 1976 Kjerstin Dellert became engaged in restoring and managing the theatre until her death in 2018.
Room number 8 in the suite of royal reception rooms in the ‘Confidencen’ Court Theatre at Ulriksdal Palace.
The Gustavian chairs are painted to look like mahogany which was popular to do in the late 18th century in Sweden. Mahogany was imported and expensive so mostly used on veneered furniture. On the wall hangs an engraving of Carl XV who was given the use of Ulriksdal Palace as a Crown Prince in 1850 and lived there until his death in 1872. He never used the theatre as it had fallen into disrepair by then.