Hallwyl House was donated to the Swedish state on the condition that it would remain unchanged. Today, the house has been preserved as it was when Countess von Hallwyl donated the house. The museum features preserved rooms from the late Victorian period in Sweden giving a glimpse into the lifestyles of the nobility in Stockholm at the time. The Hallwyl Collection, which is housed there, encompasses some 50,000 objects.
In addition to being the premises for the Hallwyl Museum collections, the Hallwyl Palace’s rooms are also part of the museum itself. The building has over 40 rooms spread over five floors. The kitchen and associated spaces are below ground level, while the ground floor contains reception rooms, dressing rooms and the east wing office space originally intended for the family business. Upstairs are the living rooms, and bedrooms and bathrooms are located two stairs up. The penthouse was furnished with a skating rink, picture gallery and the county’s gymnasium.
The furnishings show a range of historical styles with precious material choices, exclusive furnishings with antiquities from the Baroque and Rococo period, and artistic decoration. Most were bought from Bukowski’s but also from contacts in Europe during the couple’s travels.
Much of the furniture that was not purchased as antiques was designed by the house’s architect Isak Gustaf Clason to fit the rest of the interior, including the couple’s beds and the 36 dining chairs. Carpentry master Carl Herman Benckert Jr was then hired for the carpentry work.
The house was furnished according to classic style ideal while the contemporary Art Nouveau style is not represented at all in the home. Since the house had central heating from the beginning, there are only a few stoves in the house.
In addition to central heating, there are other modernities in the house that already had electric lighting in all rooms, a personal elevator, a food elevator and a bathroom with running hot water, bath and shower. Already in 1929, two refrigerators were purchased, made by General Motors for the kitchen. The passenger elevator was planned late in the construction phase and was rarely used. It was out of order between the years 1909 and 1920, again to be used by the Count when his health deteriorated. The Countess disliked the lift and preferred the stairs. Ironically, she died in the suites of a fall in one of the building’s stairs at the age of 85.
The dining room is Baroque and Renaissance style, the cabinet is made in Switzerland and the Renaissance coffin at the window is German. Both are dated to about the year 1600. To these, the house’s architect Isak Gustaf Clason has designed the dining room furniture. The 36 chairs and table were manufactured by master carpenter Carl Herman Benckert Jr. The room’s walls are clad in oak and the woven wallpapers, the verdures, are probably made in Lille in northern France in the early 18th century. Above the double doors, the family hangs Hallwyl’s arms, black eagle wings against the gold bottom.
The little salon was a lounge for the ladies, where they would retire after dinner. The style is rococo which was considered feminine in the late 19th century.
The room’s intarsiad decorations are made by carpenter master Benckert’s company. The furniture is French in the 18th century, except the office which is Italian and the cabinet is probably Dutch but also from the 18th century. The electrified chandelier is also 18th century.
The style of the large salon is gold baroque according to Swedish 18th century. The architect’s starting point was four Brussels wallpapers in a suite of six; two hanging in the Little salon. They were bought in 1894 by the Countess.
The wing is a Steinway & Sons from 1896, but the black case has been replaced with a case in a Baroque inspired style.
The sculptor Gusten Lindberg has made the three door frames depicting the art forms the music, the poem and the image. He has also made the relief above the fireplace in carraram marble.
The smoking room
The smoking room was the men’s equivalent of the Little Lounge. In the smoking room, the men would retire to smoke and read. Preferably dressed in fez, oriental smoking robes and slippers. The smoking room in the Hallwyl Palace has quite a few oriental features. The seating is partly covered with Turkmen rugs and tent bags. On the floor is a Persian rug.
This is where the little family went about everyday after dinner. The Countess and her lady played cards with the Count, drank coffee, read or talked. The desk, which was the Count’s, was left untouched after his passing.
The couple’s daughter’s son Rolf de Maré was a good friend of Nils Dardel in Paris and a portrait of the daughter’s son that Nils Dardel made hangs in the room. The Countess did not appreciate modern art and neither this work nor any of Nils Dardel’s work. Here is also a portrait of the Countess made by Julius Kronberg. The portrait is unusual for its time because the Countess looks straight into the picture, has simple clothes and simple hair set. Opposite is another painting by Julius Kronberg on the daughter Irma von Geijer in a more typical style.
The weapons room
The armory contains the bulk of the collection’s weapons and armor. Among other things, two Turkish combat suits from the 15th century and German armor from the late 16th century. In one of these, a wax doll was placed and when the grandchildren came to visit it was stated that they would be frightened by the man behind the visor when it was lifted. Between these stands a saddle which is said to have belonged to Johan Banér, who was a field master during the thirty-year war.
There are also rifles, pistols and shiny weapons from the 16th century onwards.
The billiard room
The pool room is decorated in the Renaissance and Baroque style. The pool table was designed by architect Clason and was a Christmas present to the Count in 1898. The panels of the walls are made of walnut wood and the roof a cassette roof.
Above the wall-mounted bench can be seen the four cardinal virtues : justice, endurance, wisdom and moderation.
Around the panels are carved shields with weapons belonging to the women who, through the centuries, married into the Hallwyl family.
The porcelain room
The porcelain room was originally designed for and decorated for the porcelain collection. The ceiling painting was done by Nils Asplund.
The living room
The living room was the Countess’s room. Here she had her desk, a Swedish baroque table from the 18th century. At the desk she handled her correspondence and here she received visits.
The chandelier is in empirical style and has belonged to Queen Desideria.
In the fund’s staircase, family portraits depend on the Count’s family. The portrait is copies from the portrait collection in Switzerland that the Countess had made. Artist Julius Kronberg was commissioned to make the copies. They were made in the late 1910s and when the copies were complete the originals were sent back to Switzerland.
There are also four oval original works by French-Hungarian artist Edouard Boutibonne. They are made in 1865 and show the Count couple and Countess’s parents.
The bathroom consists of an empty surface with the possibility of undressing or sitting by a heat lamp. At one end is an elevated area with bathtub and shower in carraram marble. The bath is filled from below so that the water rises and has both hot and cold water. The bathroom was not used for daily hygiene, but as a private spa experience on special occasions. The Countess preferred to bathe in a wooden tub that had to be filled manually with buckets. The daily hygiene was handled by a lava in the bed room with wash basins and jugs.
The Hallwyl Museum
The Hallwyl Museum is a Swedish state cultural history museum in Stockholm, housed in the Hallwyl Palace on Hamngatan 4.
The house was built as a Stockholm residence for Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl after drawings by Isak Gustaf Clason and his colleague Albert Collett. The couple moved into the newly erected building in 1898.
Wilhelmina von Hallwyl had acquired large collections of art, antiques, weapons, porcelain and silver and decided early on to preserve his home as a museum. The Hallwilian collection comprises over 50,000 well-documented objects. The makers of Hallwyl inherited in 1920 the palace and equipment for the Swedish state. The museum was opened to the public in 1938. The museum was part of the authority Livrustkammaren and Skokloster’s castle with the Foundation Hallwylska museum between 1978 and 2017. Since the turn of the year 2017/2018 it has been included in the authority the State Historical Museums.