Rosendal in the end of 1830. Auguste Mayer. Kungl. biblioteket, KoB Suecian Band 1:85.
Rosendal and Karl XIV Johan
Rosendal Palace became the core of the great landscaping project that transformed Djurgården. Rosendal was planned for out-of-town sojourns and not as a permanent residence. On pleasant days, horse and carriage trips were arranged to Djurgården for strolls around the natural park, and to enjoy receptions of various sorts at the palace. The palace itself and the interior decoration have remained mainly intact since the period of the first Bernadottes. This makes it a unique document of the European Empire style. The park, on the other hand, shows contributions from various periods.
Rosendal was originally a dwelling for one of Djurgården’s many game-keepers. In 1791 Gustav III made it available to chamberlain Georg Johan de Besche, who created an elegant summer residence. After changing hands many times, Rosendal came into the possession of the future king Karl XIV Johan in 1817. The property, with forests, hills and meadows, stretched from the inlet of Djurgårdsbrunnsviken in the north to the carriage-way of Djurgårdsvägen in the south; and from the hill of Skansen in the west to the carriage-way of Manillavägen in the east.
Alterations and work on a summer park began immediately. In 1819, however, the main building burnt down. After several years of makeshift arrangements, the present palace was built between 1823–26. The designer was the architect Fredik Blom. The palace is a prefabricated construction whereby the walls, floor and roof were built in Stockholm and transported to Djurgården and set together in situ there. Fredrik Blom’s invention of movable houses became an international sensation and he exported houses to several countries.
The summer park was formed with the aid of rock-blasting, land-clearing, tree-felling and considerable planting of new vegetation. The Romantic ideal of the English park style was in evidence. Meandering trails offered a wide variation of walks to beautiful views, through sections of wood and over meadows. The palace was surrounded by flowerbeds in patterned formations of splendid colours. A clear meadow extended out in front of the main façade. North of the palace there was a large terrace with an open view over the inlet of Djurgårdsbrunnsviken and the military exercising field at Ladugårdsgärdet.
Proximity to the exercising field was doubtless of importance for the choice of Rosendal as a summer residence. In the late 18th century, large groups of sightseers came to Gärdet to watch the troops exercise. Each summer major training camps were organized among troops from the whole country. Karl XIV Johan himself partook in these military activities. To facilitate connections with Rosendal, a pontoon bridge was built over Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. On a hill in northern Ladugårdsgärdet the king erected a viewing building known as Borgen (the Fort), from where he could oversee the field exercises while at the same time organizing balls and suppers for invited guests.