Torsten Billman, Sketch for a fresco for the new Sailors’ Home
© Torsten Billman/Bildupphovsrätt (2023)
From the collection of Hallands Konstmuseum
Hallands Konstmuseum has a broad collection of art and cultural heritage, focusing on fine art, vernacular and tapestry paintings, archaeology, textiles, city history and products made locally in Halland. Much of the collection consists of images, photographs and archival documents.
The collections were established in conjunction with the founding of the Halland Museum Society in 1886. Its mission was to gather in historical objects and lay the foundation for a museum of Halland. Every year, a varied number of artworks and objects are added to the collection through acquisition or donation to the museum.
Our art collection includes pictorial art as well as industrial and graphic design, vernacular art, and ecclesiastical art. These four categories are among the objects that the Halland Museum Society began collecting when it was founded in the late nineteenth century.
Today the museum’s art collection is growing faster than any of the others, thanks to the Svea Larson Endowment Fund for acquisition of Halland art and crafts. The collection also gathers new forms of expression and cross-boundary ways of working as an artist. Because these don’t always lead to material manifestations in the form of art objects, new collecting methods are being developed.
The art collection also includes an archive of artists who are active in Halland and artists whose work is represented in the museum’s collection and programmes.
People in Halland made a living by knitting for a long period that spanned the late seventeenth century to the early twentieth. The knitting industry was concentrated primarily in the area around Laholm, where distributors came to pass out wool for yarn and to collect finished goods. The most common products were stockings and pullovers that were then sold over a wide geographical area. The military was a major buyer that outfitted its men with stockings from Halland. Many worked in the knitting industry, young and old alike, men as well as women.
In recent years, the museum has invested actively in building up a knitting archive. The idea is to reflect many aspects of our local knitting history through stories, literature, descriptions, materials, tools, knitted works, designers, amateur knitters and more. Foundational to the Knitting Archive are a number of works by local designer and hand knitter Britt-Marie Christoffersson. Here you can also find our extensive collection of Halland home handicrafts.
The interest in collecting textiles began with the museum’s pioneers and has continued to this day. For a long time, the focus was on apparel and interior design textiles that were made by hand from hand-spun yarn using a wide variety of different techniques. Educational materials from schools and teacher seminars are also included in the collection, as are uniforms, bourgeois apparel, hats from a milliner’s studio, textiles in armoires, material from seamstresses’ and tailors’ studios, goods from sewing shops and a variety of interior design textiles. In addition to all this are tools, textile materials and sewing tables with their contents.
Halland lies in the part of Sweden where the very oldest traces of human activity have been found. When the ice gradually receded from the land more than ten thousand years ago, nomadic Stone Age people began coming to the lean band of tundra along the edge of the glacier in search of game such as mammoths. We know this because of artefacts such as simple Stone Age tools found at Derome in Viskadalen. Our warehouse contains objects left behind by people over a dizzying span of five thousand years. We see these objects as important messengers. They tell us who our ancestors were and how they lived.
We have many fine objects from the Bronze Age (about 3,800–2,500 years ago), which is only natural considering all the burial mounds from that period you can see when travelling through Halland. The contact people now had with an increasingly wider world left clear traces in the form and material of their tools. Like the other provinces of southwestern Sweden, Halland has a wealth of treasures from the Iron Age (about 2,500–1,000 years ago). The famous “guldgubbar” are just one example.
The Image Archive
In the Image Archive there are photographs that depict Halland’s natural, rural and urban environments, with particular emphasis on Halmstad. We also have a large archive of portraits and an extensive collection of postcards. There are collections of work by individual photographers, including a unique trove of pictures of Halland by Severin Nilson (1846–1918) and urban scenes of Halmstad in the nineteenth century by Selma Angel.
The Image Station registers each item in the Image Archive into our database and responds to image enquiries and requests from the general public.
We have archival documents, records and stories about Halland that are linked to people and businesses that help illuminate other collections about shipping, artists and urban history. These include ship’s logs, recipes, knitting descriptions and advertising materials from different time periods.