Sturehof Castle was built by a man named Johan Liljencrantz, finance minister in Gustav the III's government. He had his castle built in 1778-1781, at the same time as Stockholm Castle was completed, and this meant that there were plenty of talented craftsmen nearby who could be hired. Liljencrantz, who was both tempestuous and quite newly ennobled, wanted to have a truly impressive monument erected to his own greatness, and so it happened. In fact, it turned out to be so beautiful at Sturehof that even the King himself wrinkled his nose and thought it was a very fancy home that Liljencrantz had built, a bit "royal", and of course it was only fitting for the royals to live so luxurious.
It was Gustav III who was king in Sweden at this time, and it was the Gustavian style that applied. It followed Rococo, which was after all ornate and frilly with all its bulging forms and lavish decorations. The Gustavian style was characterized by functionalism and meant a substantial tightening of the style expression. (Read more about the different period styles here.)
When it came to furnishing the castle with fireplaces, Johan Liljencrantz had a very special advantage: he owned Mariebergs Porslinsfabrik. The factory had not made tile stoves before when they received the large order to make all the tile stoves for Sturehof Castle, but they proceeded in the same way as when they made porcelain tableware and they quickly became the most skilled tile stove makers in the whole country. But if it cost, it tasted... Converted to today's monetary value, each Marieberg tile stove cost SEK 200,000-400,000!!! This meant in practice that the only people who could afford a "Mariebergare" were basically those who themselves had ownership interests in Marieberg's tile kiln factory.
Today, only a few tile stoves are known, recent findings point to around ninety, which were manufactured by Marieberg during this time, and of these there are as many as 20 at Johan Liljencrantz Sturehof. In other words, it makes the castle a unique place where the beautiful tiled stoves from Marieberg can be seen in almost every room. Read more about Marieberg's tile kiln factory here!
None of the tiled stoves at Sturehof Castle can be fired in anymore because they leak, but must stand as they are and adorn their place only as beautiful time documents of superb craftsmanship.These old tile stoves were set with blue clay. They didn't last very long, but had to be replaced approximately at 15-year intervals. You must - which is emphasized extensively on this site! – always fire gently in a tiled stove and do not press it too hard. That rule was to a great extent relevant even in the 18th century. But you also shouldn't light a fire too infrequently. To quote a guide with a twinkle in his eye at Sturehof: “It's like most things in life; too much and too little shames everything!”
With such precious and beautiful tile stoves, the tile stove was of course the starting point when decorating the room, which is clearly visible at Sturehof Castle. In the green vestibule, for example, there is a magnificent white tiled stove with a pattern of pink/red roses and green leaves. There, they very deliberately picked up the green color in the silk wallpaper and the upholstery of the furniture so that the whole harmonizes very beautifully.
Surely it may seem unnecessarily luxurious that Sturehof Castle even has a Marieberg tile oven inside the pantry in the kitchen!?! Even if Liljencrantz spared nothing when the Sturehof was built, even he probably wouldn't have placed a Marieberg in the pantry. No, the explanation lies in the fact that at this time they did not want to place the kitchen inside the main building because the kitchen was usually the place where fires started. The kitchen at Sturehof was therefore originally located in one of the wings and the food had to be carried across the yard and into the main building. But at the beginning of the 20th century, fire safety had improved and it was considered an unnecessarily complicated solution to have the kitchen outside in a side building. Then a new kitchen was built in a former social room inside the castle building itself - whereby the Marieberg tile stove ended up inside the pantry!