The Jeweller’s Art – Precious Objects from the 17th Century to the Present Day

11 June–28 August 2016

Shown at Läckö Castle, Lidköping. 

As Sweden’s premier museum of art and design, Nationalmuseum is not just one museum in Stockholm, but is in charge of fine art and craft collections at museums and castles nationwide. One such venue is Läckö Castle, near Lidköping in Västergötland.

This summer’s exhibition at Läckö Castle, The Jeweller’s Art – Precious Objects from the 17th Century to the Present Day, features tiaras, necklaces, brooches, snuff boxes, pocket watches and beautifully mounted miniature portraits from Nationalmuseum’s collections. The 300 exhibits, dating from 1650 to the present, all exemplify great craftsmanship and reflect the artistic ideals of the day. Most of the pieces are being shown outside the museum for the first time, and many have never previously been exhibited at all.

The artifacts span a range of categories. Besides pure jewellery pieces, they include boxes, pocket watches and other accessories that illustrate the jeweller’s craft and creativity.

Many of the older pieces, signifying wealth and power, were integral to the wearer’s identity and status.

The contemporary pieces include some where the designer set out to push the boundaries of what constitutes a piece of jewellery. Gold, pearls and diamonds are often still present, alongside new materials like plastic, titanium, eggshell and perch skin.

Lethal beauty – 
Jewellery by Märta Mattson

One of the galleries is dedicated to the recipient of the Unga Konsthantverkare 2016 (Young Applied Artists Award): Märta Mattson. Fascinated by the wonders of nature, she transforms dead animals and insects into jewellery pieces, giving new life to something that would otherwise moulder away.

Commenting on her jewellery, Märta Mattsson says, “I see beauty in things that others may find repulsive or even disgusting.  We humans are drawn to things we can’t understand, and things that are a bit unsettling.  I dig into that feeling and make it accessible to others in my jewellery.  I share my curiosity and get others to see the beauty in the things we didn’t think were beautiful.  I transform dead animals and insects into jewellery, thereby giving them new life and a new purpose.”

 The award of SEK 100,000 is given out biennially by the board of the Bengt Julin Fund, which is part of The Friends of Nationalmuseum. This year’s award will be presented at a ceremony on 14 November at Nationalmuseum Design in Stockholm. 

Trying out new ideas för the future

Nationalmuseum possesses one of Sweden’s premier public collection of modern and contemporary jewellery, and the world’s largest collection of miniature portraits. The exhibition at Läckö Castle is part of an initiative to try out new ideas and collect feedback before creating a new treasury when the renovated museum reopens in 2018.

Getting to Läckö

Läckö Castle is on the island of Kållandsö at the south end of Lake Vänern, about 25 km (15 miles) north of Lidköping.

For opening hours, admission fees and guided tours, see

A selection of objects featured in The Jeweller's Art.

A selection of objects featured in The Jeweller's Art.

Märta Mattson, Brosch Frozen Flora. Foto: Märta Mattson.
Märta Mattson, Broch Frozen Flora. Photo: Märta Mattson.

Märta Mattson, Beetle Juice
Märta Mattson, Broch Beetlejuice.


Art Library and Museum Archives,
Holmamiralens väg 2,
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm 

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