Serene Swedish woman

What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches. (I am calling it a CDV because of the size, but it is of a design and thickness that I normally associate with the larger cabinet cards.  I’ve noticed this sort of miniature cabinet card to be especially true of European photos in my collection.  Clearly this will require further research.)

What I know about it:

Photographer is Sjöstedt & Co. of Malmö, Sweden.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


I just finished reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.), so Sweden was on my mind when I came upon this photo from Malmö.  (Not that this woman reminds me of Lisbeth Salander, of course.)  I think this is a lovely image.  It is a beautiful combination of careful construction and casualness.  She is posed, yet she looks relaxed.  There is thoughtful design to the lighting, yet it looks natural.  Her hair is coiffed, yet looks almost like an afterthought, proper, yet sensual in its loose fullness.  And I have to say I’m intrigued by those sleeves, and wonder what the rest of the dress looks like.

5 comments on “Serene Swedish woman”

  1. I found a similar dress! This is a painting by Swedish artist Carl Larsson (coincidentally, the subject is “Lisbeth,” most likely his daughter of that name). I can’t find out much about this particular painting online, but another version of the image is dated 1910. It seems like your photo could very well be from around that year, too, judging by the hair as well as the gown. The real Lisbeth Larsson was born in 1891.

    The dress also reminds me of some avant-garde fashions designed by Emilie Flöge in Vienna around 1912:

    I just finished that trilogy, as well!

  2. What a lovely, natural, wistful look! Love her blouse, with all those tucks and embroidery. She may not be wearing a one-piece gown, because you can see a little of her skirt on what would be her left hip, and it looks like it’s made of a different material. But the practical, plain skirt paired with the frilly blouse was a popular trend in the early 1900s. I agree that it’s probably taken around 1910/1912.

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