Cecilia’s Album: Charlotte Ahlberg (Weidenhielm) – Also an Artist?

Last week I wrote about Amelie Ahlberg who drew a picture of Haddon Hall. I speculated that her older sister, Charlotte, might also have given Cecilia a drawing for her memory album.


In Cecilia’s album, there is a pencil drawing of a house. The painting is signed Charlotte and is dated 30 January 1844. Charlotte was a very common name in the 1840s and it is of course possible that the drawing was made by some other girl named Charlotte. However, because both drawings, Amelie’s and the one signed Charlotte, are excellent, I believe this one was in fact made by Charlotte Ahlberg.

Again, Google Lens nailed it and I should probably have recognized it anyway. This is Haga Palace outside Stockholm. It is now the home of the Swedish crown princess and her family. But which rendering of Haga Palace did Charlotte copy?

I search the Swedish Royal Library for images of this palace and can hardly believe my luck. There is a digitized copy of a lithograph from 1835 and when I crop it, I am stunned. Charlotte was a great artist!

Left: Lithograph of Haga Palace, 1835.  Right: Charlotte’s drawing, 1844.

Here is the full-size lithograph print:

Full-size lithograph

Charlotte Ahlberg

Charlotte Henriette Bothilda was the oldest child of Dr. Johan Daniel Ahlberg and his wife, Louise Henriette Moll.  She was born in Stockholm on September 20, 1828. She was confirmed in St Klara parish in 1845 and inducted into the Order of the Innocence in January 1846. Being inducted into the two secret orders, the Innocence and the Amaranth, was the introduction to high society. Augusta attended her first Innocence Ball in January 1844, a year before Charlotte.

Another important step was to have one’s portrait painted. To have a drawing made by Maria Röhl was also popular, and in 1852, the three oldest daughters – Charlotte, Emelie, and Eugenie – visited Maria Röhl.

Charlotte Ahlberg. Drawing by Maria Röhl, 1852

Marriage to Erik Oskar Weidenhielm

Erik Oskar Weidenhielm (b. 1816) was a nobleman and an officer. He also had his portrait drawn by Maria Röhl.

Erik Oskar Weidenhielm. Drawing by Maria Röhl, 1842.

Charlotte and Oskar married in 1857. Oskar had an illustrious career. He became the minister of national defense (Swedish: Statsråd och chef för landtförsvarsdepartementet). They had two daughters, Agnes Charlotta Henrietta (b. 1860) and Dagmar Elisabet (b. 1868).

Finally, I found several photographs of Charlotte later in life. Her outfits are really stunning.

Photos of Charlotte Ahlberg (Weidenhielm). Source: The House of Nobility’s Portraits.


Cecilia’s Album: Amelie Ahlberg (Tottie) Makes a Drawing of Haddon Hall


Haddon Hall. Drawing by Amelie Ahlberg (Tottie), 1844.


Amelie Ahlberg made a drawing for Cecilia. I have now learned that these pencil drawings were not original creations but copies of prints. Drawing was a subject in Edgren’s school and copying prints might have been part of the curriculum.

I uploaded Amelie’s painting in Google Lens and it was an instant hit. The original print of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, England, was drawn and engraved by Jandes Baylin Allen (1803-1876). The print was published in The Ladies’ Cabinet of Fashion, Music and Romance, Volume V, 1841.

Haddon Hall. Jandes Baylin Allen (1803-1876). Appeared in The Ladies’ Cabinet of Fashion, Music and Romance, Volume V, 1841.

Amelie’s drawing is a fantastic copy of the original. One has to really scrutinize the drawing and the print to find differences (such as Amelie forgetting to draw the birds in the sky). Amelie must have been interested in art at an early age and maybe encouraged to draw. She has a Wikipedia page where she is described as a Swedish drawing artist.

Amelie Ahlberg’s Family

Amalia Lovisa Augusta (Amelie) Ahlberg was born on June 29, 1830. Her father was Johan Daniel Ahlberg, a physician at the royal court (Swedish: kunglig livmedicus) and also the chief medical officer (förste stadsläkare) in Stockholm. Amelie’s mother was Louise Henriette Moll. They had 6 children:

  1. Charlotta Henrietta Bothilda (b. 1828)
  2. Amalia Lovisa Augusta (b. 1830)
  3. Johan Georg Theodor (b. 1832)
  4. Emma Eugenia Matilda (b. 1833)
  5. Adelaide Theresia Paulina (b. 1837)
  6. Henriette Elisabet Pauline Christina (b.1851 – long after her older siblings)
Louise Henriette Ahlberg (in 1838) with her three oldest daughters (in 1852): Charlotte (Lotten), Amelie, and Eugenie. Drawings by Maria Röhl.

In 1845, the family lived at Stora Vattugränd 13 (they were the owners of the house), right across the street from Edgren’s school. One can therefore speculate that at least the 2 oldest girls, Charlotta and Amelie, attended Edgren’s school with Cecilia.  And if they did, did Amelie’s sister Charlotta also provide a greeting for Cecilia?

There is a drawing, similar to Amelie’s, that is signed: Charlotte. It might likely be drawn by Charlotte Ahlberg (so she will get her own blog post).

In 1854, Amelie married Henry Rumsey Tottie, a wholesale merchant who was born in London. His father was also a merchant besides being the Swedish Consul General in London. Amelie and Henry settled in Stockholm and raised 5 sons.

The fact that Amelie has a Wikipedia page and is a documented artist means that she continued to draw throughout her life. The drawing she made for Cecilia when she was 14 years old is, therefore, a real treasure. I wonder if any other drawings by her have survived.

Cecilia’s Album: Lovisa and Eugenia Dethmar

Lovisa (or Louise) Edgren (born Dethmar) was a beloved teacher. Unfortunately, there is not a single portrait of her. When the family Edgren’s private school for girls closed in 1844, the students kept in touch with each other and with their former teacher through letters, reminiscing about this wonderful time in their lives.

Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, 18 December 1845.

“Lucky Augusta who gets letters from Mrs. Edgren! Greet her a thousand times from me. Tell her that I still worship her as warmly as when I said goodbye to her for the last time, and when I start talking about them, it is always an inexhaustible topic and at those times, I forget both time and place and it takes me back to the happy times when I was educated by them; when a smile and a friendly word by Mrs. Edgren sent me to the seventh heaven. Tell her all this, and say that if in the future, whether I get ever so happy or unhappy, I will never forget them. Oh, when I just think of them, I get overly joyous.”

Lovisa Dethmar was born in 1802 at Reckenburg, an estate close to Anholt in southwestern Germany close to the Dutch border. Her father, Friedrich Wilhelm Dethmar, born in 1773, was the pastor in Anholt and a writer. Lovisa had at least two sisters, Eugenia, born in 1806, and Adelheid Clementine Therese, born in 1809. One sister moved to England.

When Lovisa was young, she was sent to Dresden to study. She was already a great artist and good at playing the harp. During her studies, she got interested in the works of the Swedish poet Atterbom and decided to visit Sweden. It is fascinating that a pastor’s daughter, in the early 1800s, was sent away to study so far from home. Dresden was famous for its architecture and art treasures and maybe she was sent to Dresden to study art? Or did she study literature? The fact that she traveled to Sweden because of an interest in poetry shows signs of independence and determination. Maybe it was these personality traits that made her such an engaging and loved teacher.

This is how I image Lovisa Dethmar in Dresden. Kerstin and I saw the painting there during our Augusta journey through Europe. The painting ”Woman on the Balcony was painted in 1824 by Carl Gustav Carus (1789-1869)

It was in Sweden she met her future husband, Johan Fredrik Edgren. He was an educated man and also a pastor. They were married in Anholt in 1838 and then settled in Stockholm. Lovisa’s sister, Eugenia, decided to join them and the same year, the family opened their private school for girls in Stockholm.

The school closed in June of 1844 when Pastor Edgren was appointed pastor at Morup’s parish on the Swedish west coast. As the girls in the school bade farewell to each other and the Edgren family, Cecilia got many cards for her memory album. But from some correspondence between Augusta and Lotten Westman, we believe that Cecilia actually stayed with the Edgren family in Morup after the school closed in Stockholm.


Lovisa Edgren wrote her greeting to Cecilia in her native German. The owner of Cecilia’s Memory Album kindly provided me with a translation of the German text to Swedish. The English translation is my own.

In Swedish: Endast det rika sinnet älskar, endast det fattiga begär.” (Schiller)
In English:None but the wealthy minds love; poor minds desire alone.”

(The quote is from Friedrich Schiller’s Liebe und Begierde:

Recht gesagt, Schlosser! Man liebt, was man hat, man begehrt, was man nicht hat;
Denn nur das reiche Gemüt liebt, nur das arme begehrt.


In Swedish: Dig, min Cecilia, blev ett så rikt sinne givet, även oss har det glädjat att leva tillsammans med Dig. Förhoppningsfullt var den korta tiden även för Dig ej förgäves ödslad. Detta önskar längtansfullt,

Din trogna väninna L. Edgren”

In English: You, my Cecilia, were given such a rich mind, we too have been delighted to have you with us. Hopefully, the short time was not wasted in vain even for You. This wishes longingly,

Your faithful friend L. Edgren”


Lovisa Edgren’s 38-year-old sister, Eugenia Dethmar, also wrote to Cecilia.


In Swedish:
”Dig ledsagar genom det vilda livet ett nådigt öde;
Ett rent hjärta gav dig naturen,
O! giv det så rent tillbaka!

Giv att världen möter dig så vänligt som du möter den,
giv att hon dig gör vad du gör henne,
så kan du bara bli lycklig.

Detta önskar dig din väninna E. Dethmar.”

In English:
”A merciful destiny shepherds you through the turbulent life;
Nature gave you a pure heart,
Oh! give it back so pure!

May the world treat you as kindly as you treat it,
may it do to you what you do to it,
then you can only be happy.

This is the wish of your friend, E. Dethmar”


Anna ”den plockade blomman”

Historien om två unga mammor i mitten av 1800-talet.

Målning av Leon Emile Caille

Det gick inte längre.  Augusta var helt slut av vaknätter. Hon hade fött en frisk och stark liten dotter i augusti 1854. Men själv var hon märkt av sin lungsot. Inte blev det bättre av att lilla Gerda aldrig sov, varken nätter eller dagar. Och så var det amman, en madam som hade eksem och bröstböld. Lilla Gerda måste bara få en ny amma. 

Amman Anna flyttar in

Man städslade en ny piga från prästgården i Kjula. Hon hette Anna Stina Sundelius och var född 1826 i Sundby, dotter till en skräddare. Anna hade med sig sin dotter, 4 månader gammal när hon kom till familjen Nordwall i Strängnäs. Det enda som låg henne i fatet var att hennes dotter var ”oäkta” det vill säga att ingen fader tagit på sig faderskapet. I husförhörslängden i Strängnäs hade prästen noterat i marginalen deflorata, att någon hade ”plockat Annas blomma”, ett allvarligt brott enligt kyrkans regler vid denna tid. Den som plockade blomman gick fri. Men det viktigaste var nu i alla fall att Augustas lilla Gerda fick en amma.

I Augustas kassabok läser jag alla Augustas utgifter under 1854. Till madamen för Gerda 3 shilling vilket måste avse den tidigare amman. 1855 hittar jag utgiftsposten En klänning åt Anna 6,24. Augusta ville säkert att lilla Gerdas amma såg anständig ut. I kassaboken finns även andra utgifter som visar att Augusta nog var en hyfsat bra husmor: Marknadsgåfvor åt pigorna 3,12 och tidigare Pigornas lustresa.

Augustas första tid som mor

”I början hade det lilla välsignade kräket så när tagit lifvet av mig, ty jag trodde hon skulle dö hvar gång hon skrek, och jag visste ej något bättre råd än att sätta mig ned och gråta jag med. Detta repeterades minst 30 gången om dagen, ty Gerda har aldrig brukat sofva som andra små barn, utan hon är till det mesta vaken både natt och dag.

Nu har jag likväl tranquiliserat mig och sedan jag blifvit utaf med en af dumhet fartgalen, och med skrofler och spenböld utrustad amma, och fått en bra menniska i stället, så må både Gerda och jag väl. Mycken oro och mycket nattvak har mitt lilla ”dockhufvud” kostat mig, ehuru alla påstå, att det är ett ovanligt tyst och snällt barn” (ur brev från Augusta Nordwall till Aurore Ljungström 14 februari 1855)

Lillgatan i Strängnäs

Fem månader senare är Augusta död, likaså Annas lilla dotter. Augusta dog i Varberg dit hon rest för att kurera sig för sin Tuberkulos. Annas lilla dotter dog i Sundby, förmodligen hos sin mormor som fått ta hand om henne.

Sorgen sänker sitt svarta flor över den lilla bostaden på Lillgatan i Strängnäs. Adolf, änkling efter sin älskade 28-åriga Augusta, behåller amman Anna som piga och barnsköterska. Anna sörjer sin lilla dotter. Lilla moderslösa Gerda, 11 månader, tyr sig nog till sin amma. Alla får trösta varandra.

Fyra år senare flyttar Adolf och dottern Gerda till Stockholm. De tar med sig sina pigor, Malla Kullerstrand, Anna Sundelius och Anna Charlotta Widell. Det måste varit väldigt annorlunda för pigorna att komma till Stockholm. I storstaden händer det så mycket nytt och spännande. Kanske fick de se invigningen av nya järnvägen söderut 1860. Under de åtta åren i Stockholm flyttar de flera gånger till nya adresser i Adolf Fredriks  och Katarina församlingar fram till 1865, då flyttlasset går tillbaka till Strängnäs. 

Schiringe, Mellösa socken

Under Stockholmstiden, år 1863, köper Adolf Nordwall Schiringe i Mellösa, samt ytterligare två gårdar för lilla Gerdas räkning. Till Schiringe flyttar 1863 Augustas mamma Anna Catharina som bott ett tag i Stockholm med familjen Nordwall. Samtidigt får pigan Anna flytta dit från Stockholm. 

Vid denna tid är Petter Carlsson rättare på Schiringe. Han bor med sin familj på torpet Hagalund i Talja. Familjen består av hustru och fem söner, varav två tvillingpar. Anna träffar nu en av tvillingarna, Per Gustaf Pehrsson och de gifter sig 22 oktober 1864. Anna är 38 år och Per Gustaf 22. Ett halvår sedan föder hon sitt andra barn, en liten gosse. De bor kvar på Hagalund.

Och äntligen är hon, enligt dåtidens moral, en respektabel gift kvinna med ett barn avlat i den äkta sängen. 

1874 gifter sig hennes skyddsling Gerda, som hon en gång ammat och tröstat,  med löjtnanten Pontus Svinhufvud i Strängnäs. De flyttar in på Schiringe. Nu flyttar även Anna och hennes make till Schiringe där han blir statdräng. 

Arbetarbostad på Schiringe

På Schiringe föds nu i familjen Svinhufvud tre små barn, Ingeborg, Pontus och Lennart. Kanhända fick Anna vara med och sköta dem, Gerdas barn.

1878 dör Annas 36-årige make i lungsot.

1880 flyttar Gerdas lilla familj över till Stocktorp som är lite modernare än Schiringe. Anna och hennes son blir kvar på Schiringe. Sonen Erik Gustaf har nu fått arbete vid järnvägen såsom ”bromsare”. 1886 flyttar han hemifrån, till järnvägsstationen i Skebokvarn. Han byter namn till Eklöf och blir stationskarl.

Nytorp, Schiringe

1891 hittar vi Anna på Nytorp, Schiringe. Hon är nu 65 år och befriad från arbete.

Talja, Schiringe
Taljastugan flyttades till Flen och återfinns idag på hembygdsgården.

1900 finns hon på gården Talja och där är hon skriven ända fram till sin död. Talja var vid denna tid ett boende äldre och för inhyseshjon. 

Interiör från Taljastugan 2022. 1932 flyttades stugan från Taljaområdet till hembygdsgården i Flen.

Men Anna dog inte på Talja.

Hon dog i Stigtomta 1917, 91 år gammal. Vad hon gjorde där finns inte antecknat men hon dog av åldersaftyning, så förmodligen hade hon flyttats till någon typ av åldringshem. 

Hennes bouppteckning är kort. Säng, soffa, bord, stolar, sänglinne och gångkläder. Summa tillgångar 42:50.
Sonen Erik Gustaf Eklöf, som nu är stationskarl vid Kilsmo järnvägsstation i Asker socken, har undertecknat bouppteckningen.  

”Lilla” Gerda, som med tiden blev ganska omfångsrik, bodde kvar på Stocktorp hela livet och dog 1933, 78 år gammal.

Cecilia’s Album: Aurore’s Drawing of Île Rousseau

In Cecilias’s memory album, there is a lovely drawing of a steamboat named Le Vivant, moored to a pier and with a line of people waiting to board. There is also a small island in the drawing with tall poplars and a sculpture. The island is connected by a walking bridge to the opposite side of the river. On that side, there is a prominent, 5-story building. The painting is annotated with “Genève” in the lower-left corner, “L’Île de Rousseau” under the drawing, and “Auror” in the lower right corner. I assume Auror (or Aurore) was the name of Cecilia’s friend who gave her the drawing.


Île Rousseau and Hotel des Bergues

Île Rousseau is a small island in the Rhone River at the center of Geneva. It was named after Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous Swiss philosopher and writer. In 1834, a bridge was built across the river with a connection to the island. The bridge – Pont des Bergues – was named after the magnificent hotel at the end of the bridge, Hotel des Bergues (the large 5-story building in the drawing and nowadays the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues).

It is easy to find old paintings of Île Rousseau online but most seem to be later renderings of the island. Some paintings feature buildings on both sides of Hotel des Bergues. These would have been painted after 1850. Other paintings feature two bridges. The second bridge, Pont du Mont-Blanc, was built in 1862.

Aurore’s drawing depicts Geneva between 1834 and 1850. I initially pictured Aurore sitting on a bench in Geneva on some journey through Europe with her parents. On her lap is a loose-leaf sketchbook and she is busy sketching the tranquil view with her small graphite pencil.

More googling, and I find an almost identical image!

Hotel des Bergues and Île Rousseau (1834-1850)

Besides being a much more detailed print, the main difference between Aurore’s drawing and this print is the steamboat. This one is much larger and ornate.

I just realize that Aurore, of course, did not make her drawing en plein air but most likely made it in school, learning to draw by copying a print. I am sure that in some illustrated magazine, or some book belonging to her teacher, there is an image of the steamboat “Le Vivant” moored in Geneva. I just haven’t found it yet.

There is one more print of Hotel des Bergues and Île Rousseau. This one shows both bridges and new buildings to the right of Hotel des Bergues. This one would have been made after 1862.

Hotel des Bergues and Île Rousseau (after 1862)


Additional reading:

The first steamboat

The steamer in the black-and-white print above is Guillaume Tell, the first steamboat in Geneva. It was built in 1823.

Guillaume Tell, the first steamboat in Geneva.

Images of Île Rousseau as seen from Hotel des Bergues

These images are from the opposite side of the river, maybe painted from a window in Hotel des Bergues.

Île Rousseau as seen from Hotel des Bergues and painted before 1862


Île Rousseau as seen from Hotel des Bergues and painted after 1862 (the new bridge on the left)

Lithographs by Louis-Julien (Jean) Jacottet (1806-1880)

Lastly, I found a beautiful lithograph by Jacottet with credits also given to Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot (1810-1866).  The view is from Hotel des Bergues with Île Rousseau to the left and the bridge (Pont des Bergues) to the right. Based on the dresses of the pedestrians (it looks like the women are not wearing crinolines, but rather layers of petticoats), I would guess that this lithograph was made in the late 1840s or early 1850s.

The following images are cropped (close-ups of parts of the print).

Lithograph by J. Jacollet (cropped image)
Lithograph by J. Jacollet (cropped image)