Countess von Hallwyl wanted Hallwyl House to be a museum “with as rich and diverse material as possible highlighting my own as well as earlier cultures.” Smoking paraphernalia has therefore a natural place in the museum. Today we know that smoking is not good for you. It might give enjoyment or solace, but not physical health. If you were a man and did not smoke at the turn of the Century 1900, however, you were considered odd (to say the least). And women started smoking cigarettes as well…
A Drawing of the First Floor (1894/1894) by Isak Gustaf ClasonHallwyl Museum
Hallwyl House was commissioned by Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl in the 1890’s. The architect Isak Gustaf Clason placed the Smoking Room on the first floor. (Lower right corner of the drawing.)
Walther by His Desk (1896/1896) by Julius KronbergHallwyl Museum
The room should be considered a semi-formal sphere where Count von Hallwyl could enjoy a quiet smoke on his own or gather male guests after a formal dinner. (The ladies retired to the Ladies’ Boudoir on formal occasions.)
The Smoking Room (2015/2015) by Erik LernestålHallwyl Museum
Smoking was perceived to be an oriental custom and a smoking room should therefore represent a Turkish/Arabic tent overladen with carpets and fabric. The fashion of the time required a substantial number of other objects as well.
Most noteworthy is the portrait of Wilhelmina von Hallwyl above the fireplace. It is also a clear sign that this is the master’s room; his portrait hangs above her writing desk in the Morning Room.
Family photographs are displayed on his desk.
On one wall hangs a portrait of his grandson Rolf de Maré.
In the middle of the room hangs a large painting, “After the Chase” by Abraham Hondius executed in 1651. It is a risqué subject, comparing the hunt for game with the hunt for women, considered appropriate for a man’s study.
In the collections at Hallwyl House almost all things related to smoking is documented in group XIV. (The entire collection encompasses 67 groups, denoted by roman numerals, documented in 78 folio volumes with text and images.) Some objects are unfortunately placed in rooms not readily accessible to ordinary visitors. Eleven of them will be displayed here.
For Ash or Ink (1800/1899) by unknownHallwyl Museum
This was most likely an ink pot of oriental origin, but used as an ashtray in Hallwyl House.
This ashtray follows a popular masculine motif: the hunt.
Walther von Hallwyl smoked cigars most of the time, several each day in fact.
Perhaps it is not surprising to find this martial motif on this Christmas gift. Walther von Hallwyl served as an officer in the Swiss army for two decades before moving permanently to Sweden.
Cigar Case (1908/1908) by unknownHallwyl Museum
Many objects in Hallwyl Hous bears the crowned monogram W. v. H., which luckily enough could mean both Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl.
A fair number of the ashtrays in the collection are Christmas gifts from Walther's children or their spouses.
Walther von Hallwyl had a reputation for enjoying funny figures. It was fairly easy to find the right gift for Christmas. (The toy pig he got in 1912 was a great success. See XXVII:II.E.09.)
A Pig for Christmas (1914/1914) by DoultonHallwyl Museum
The red pig was, quite fittingly, a Christmas gift.
Match-boxes and cigar lighters are, naturally, also included in the collections.
Amazing, isn't it?
Wilhelmina von Hallwyl succeeded in filling the museum “with as rich and diverse material as possible highlighting my own as well as earlier cultures.” The smoking paraphernalia clearly shows the width of her collections. And then, of course, we have her own knickers and a piece of the Count’s beard…but that is another story.
Text: G. Sandell, National Historical Museums.