In this week's product focus, we wanted to showcase one of our beautiful winter scenic pocket squares. Bringing Home the Body of King Charles XII of Sweden features a stunning snow backdrop painted by established artist Gustaf Cederström.
Gustaf Olof Cederström (1845-1933) was a Swedish painter who specialised in historical scenes and portraits such as this one. Gustaf painted 'Bringing Home the Body of King Charles XII of Sweden' in Paris in 1877-78. As shown below, it is an imaginative portrayal of the royal hero's return to Sweden following the fatal shot at Halden in Norway in 1718.
Did You Know? - Gustaf used props and professional models to re-enact the moment. The man portrayed in the painting with a bandage on his head was the artist's oldest brother. Whilst the model for the child next to the huntsman was, in fact, Cederström's six-year-old daughter Carola.
THE HISTORY BEHIND THE PAINTING
In its native tongue, the painting is known as simply Karl XII:s likfärd. Within its contents, the painting displays a somewhat romanticised scene featuring the body of the late Swedish King, Karl XII, being carried home. To make his picture as realistic as possible, Cederström painted numerous sketches and studies outdoors to refine his craftsmanship.
To recreate the moment with precision and skill, he erected a stretcher, with a professional model, an Italian named Raffaele Fusco, lying on it and portraying Charles XII. The other people he painted were a mixture of professional models, colleagues, friends and relatives.
The painting was completed in the spring of 1878, just in time to exhibit at the Paris World’s Fair, where it garnered an award, a medal of the second class. It was then sold to the Russian Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich, which proved controversial by some. However, the original painting eventually made its way back to Sweden, where it is owned by the Museum of Art in Gothenburg.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Gustaf Cederström was born in 1845 and was one of Sweden's most popular nineteenth-century historical painters. His interest in history began when he was still very young, when he discovered that one of his ancestors had participated in the Skirmish at Bender.
At first, he planned to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a military career. In 1864, he was assigned to an infantry regiment in Värmland as an underlöjtnant but, whenever possible, he also took art classes at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. Finally, in 1870, he decided to resign his commission and become an artist. Later, he studied with Ferdinand Fagerlin in Düsseldorf and Léon Bonnat in Paris, where he settled in 1873.
THREE WAYS TO WEAR THIS POCKET SQUARE
The painting is dark in colour, with earthy brown tones muting the tone of the art. The white backdrop of snow creates a lovely versatile contrast and negative space to wear with multiple colours and items as described below.
Match With a Grey Jacket
Most of our pocket squares suit our grey made to order tailored jacket as this classic menswear item is super versatile and wearable across smart and casual uses. The painting has dark tones combined with white to create a neutral palette that works beautifully with a grey textured backdrop.
Style with Winter Cashmere
To celebrate and embrace the winter scenery within this picture, why not style with some of our stunning cashmere collection. Our cashmere scarves are handmade and use only the finest quality fibres from the peaceful Cashmere Goat.
Pair with a brown or grey check scarf to accent the colour of the pocket square. We suggest our Calderdale Check Cashmere Scarf, as it’s made from the finest cashmere woven in England. This luxurious scarf is very soft, made with fine fibres woven by experts to keep you warm.
Create a Tonal Look
Tonal dressing is a current and creative way of combining the same colour across different tones, fabrics and hues to match any outfit and tie together. In this instance, we would create a tonal ensemble by pairing it with our Brown Glen Check Wool Tie.
This classic glen check with earthy camel and brown tones and the addition of an aqua overcheck works superbly with this pocket square and also pairs beautifully with a brown jacket for an authentic tonal look.
What Makes Our Pocket Squares So Special?