Landscape paintings from Vyborg
Artefact of the month - August 2022
The manor is located on the shores of Vyborg Bay. A view opens up from its park to the city, bathing in the warm light of the evening sun. The manor garden is already in the shadows, but the evening must be warm. The dark green lushness of the garden and the roses, lilies and tall blue aconites blossoming there refer to the timing being near the end of the summer. A gardener is watering the flowers, perhaps at the end of a sweltering summer’s day. At the garden table in the shade of a tall birch, there are three women sitting with their dogs, drinking tea from white porcelain cups. It is a summer evening in 1847.
In 2007 and 2009, two landscape paintings were acquired for the collections of the National Museum of Finland that were originally from the same place; in this way, they were reunited. Together, these paintings capture the summery landscape and atmosphere at Horttana manor on the shores of Vyborg Bay. One of the paintings depicts the manor itself, the other one the landscape of Vyborg as seen from the manor. However, even in the Vyborg painting you can see a slice of the manor garden in the bottom left corner, and the atmospheric evening moment described above towards the end of the summer of 1847.
In the paintings, precise details attract the attention, such as the open window, the person standing on the balcony, the row of barns, and the figures pottering around by the barns and in the shallow waters, all depicted in the painting of the main building. Horttana manor no longer exists, but a photo of it taken by Signe Brander in 1912 remains. When comparing the photo with the painting, you can note that the painter has depicted the building in very precise detail.
Niels Grönbek Rademacher
The paintings were made in 1847 by the Danish painter Niels Grönbek Rademacher (1812–1885). In one of the paintings, there is a boat offshore with a Danish flag at the stern - perhaps as a reference to the painter. Rademacher arrived to Finland in the 1840s by invitation from the owner of Monrepos manor Paul Nicolay, and in addition to Monrepos manor, his painting subjects included Herttuala and Horttana manors, as well as portraits. In addition to the Horttana double landscape, Rademacher painted other similar pairs of paintings, of which the paintings depicting the villa Markovilla and its surroundings have ended up in the collections of the National Museum of Finland. Rademacher worked mainly in Vyborg and its surroundings and returned to Denmark at the end of the 1840s.
Horttana manor and the Jaenisch family
Horttana manor, residing in the village of Alasommee, was owned by the Alfthan family since the 1770s. At the beginning of the 19th century, the manor was run by Abraham Fredrik Alfthan (1788–1842), who also managed Monrepos manor. However, he lost Horttana in a card game, and in the 1830s and 1840s the manor was owned by the Jaenisch family, from whom the son of Alfthan, Carl Johan, bought the manor back for the Alfthan family around 1856.
The Jaenisch family was one of the most significant families of German origin in Vyborg in the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. Many members of the family were successful as merchants, and, particularly in the latter half of the 18th century, they had strong representation in the city administration. In the 19th century, some of the family carried on as merchants, but some ended up as officials or in military careers.
The women sitting by the Horttana garden table drinking tea in the painting are then most likely members of the Jaenisch family. The woman sitting on the left is probably Helene Elisabeth Jaenisch, judging by how the figure looks exactly like Helene Elisabeth in the family portrait of the Jaenisch and Hackman families. The family portrait was also painted by Niels Grönbeck Rademacher, likely around the same time as the landscape paintings. In the family portrait, Helene Elisabeth Jaenisch sits by the table on the right, with a dog at her feet that looks exactly like the dog with the person in the garden painting. The younger woman sitting behind the garden table is probably Helene Elisabeth’s daughter Helene Sofia ”Lolinka” Jaenisch, who sits next to her mother in the family portrait too. The woman sitting on the right handling an impressive samovar cannot be identified definitely.
At a closer look you will notice that there is another, dark brown dog in the painting, sitting on a bench by the table on the right. The dogs appear to have been important for the Jaenisch family, as they were included in the paintings. There seems to be a slightly more peculiar pet under the table – the white figure looks like a duck or a goose. The viewer can only be left to wonder about what kind of story is behind that!
Signe Brander Suomen kartanoissa, Irma Lounatvuori and Sirkku Dölle. SKS 2008.
Släktbok. Ny följd I:1. Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland (286). 1941.
Ulla Ijäs, Talo, kartano, puutarha. Kauppahuoneen omistaja Marie Hackman ja hänen kulutusvalintansa varhaismodernissa Viipurissa. Turun yliopiston julkaisuja 402. Turku 2015.
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