1933: The Society Commissions Paintings


Oil painting of King Adolphus II of Sweden in the DHS Museum Collection
Oil painting of King Adolphus II of Sweden in the DHS Museum Collection
Queen Christina of Sweden
Queen Christina of Sweden


In 1933, the Society acquired paintings of King Gustavus Adolphus II and Queen Christina of Sweden,  as well as a model of the Key of Kalmar, and the original bell and clock used in Old Town Hall when it was first built, these latter two  being given to the Society by the heirs of Joseph Tatnall, who was responsible for the original installation of the bell and clock. The paintings of King Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden were commissioned by the Historical Society in 1932 from artist Victor Lagerstrom who painted his portrait of Queen Christina after an original by David Beck (1621-1656) and his portrait of King Gustavus Adolphus II after an original by Matthaus Merian the Elder (1593-1650). The paintings, which appear to have been personally financed by Society President, Colonel George Armstrong Elliott, were commissioned in connection with the Delaware Tercentenary celebrations which recognized the 300th anniversary of the landing of Swedish settlers at Fort Christina in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. The paintings were recorded as gifts of Colonel Elliott. King Adolphus was a brilliant military tactician. Consequently, from the beginning of his reign in 1611 to his death in 1632 at the Battle of Leutzen, Sweden was almost constantly at war. His reign elevated Sweden into a world power. After his death in battle, his only child, the six year old Christina, ascended the throne. Sweden was in reality ruled by a regency headed by Chancelor Axel Oxenstierna until the young queen assumed full authority in 1644.  Queen Christina was just 11 years old when the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware valley was established along the Delaware river at what is now the east side of Wilmington, Delaware. This occurred in late March of 1638. The Swedish fort was christened Fort Christina in honor of the young queen by the commander of the Swedish expedition to the Delaware valley, Peter Minuit.

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