The collections of Swedish and foreign portraits (about 40), comprise primarily graphic prints, photographs, drawings, and silhouettes.

The colleciton of foreign and Swedish portraits contains about 500 000 portraits dating from the 16th century to the present, and depict both the famous and the not-so-famous, including Mårten Sondén’s portrait collection and Martin Carlsson’s Bernadotte collection. A large part of the portrait collection comprises Swedish and foreign royal portraits.

Photograph of Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) 
Picture: Photograph of Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940)

The Portrait Collections

The portrait collection includes gems such as Maria Röhl’s hand-drawn portraits from 1829-1862, more than 1 800 pencil drawings. You will also find the portrait archives of Aftonbladet, Svenska Dagbladet, Hvar 8 dag, Svenska Teaterförbundet, and Svenska Teknologföreningens, as well as Wrangel’s portrait collection: the original photographs for Fredrik Ulrik Wrangel’s Europas suveräna furstehus 1898-99.

Lithograph of Fredrika Bremer (1801-1865) 
Picture: Lithograph of Fredrika Bremer (1801-1865)

Lithograph of Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847) 
Picture: Lithograph of Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847)


The art of cutting silhouettes as portraits was developed in the 18th century. It became very popular and survived into the 20th century. The artist snips out the picture in black paper and pastes it onto a white background. The National Library’s silhouette collection is arranged according to the subject’s name. Two of the larger collections are Arthur Sjögren’s silhouette collection and the Sohm collection.

Silhouett of Birger Schöldström, signed R.S. 1800sl.

Last updated: 2008-04-22
Contact person: Greger Bergvall, e-mail: firstname.lastname@kb.se
Books från our collections

National Library