The Grand Skokloster Ball

It is that time of year again. It has become a tradition to arrange the Stockholm Empire days over a weekend in August. There is a picnic, afternoon tea, a dance practice, culminating in the ball. It isn´t as spectacular as the Jane Austen festivals in Bath or Kentucky, but we do attract a growing number of enthusiasts. We decided to repeat last years success and had the ball again at Skokloster Castle, where I work, so I was actually paid to organise it. Terrific, but it meant that I was unable to attend the other events.

Anyway, this is the castle:

Skokloster Castle is a Baroque masterpiece outside of Stockholm. It is one of the best preserved seventeenth century castles that is around, and was on New York Times list of 53 must-see places with the likes of The Pyramids and Taj Mahal!

We released the ball tickets in May, and the lion´s share sold out quite fast. The guests were not only from Sweden, but from the neighbouring countries and as far away as North Carolina! I will not bother you with the caterers, renting china, bus transfers, etc, but it was my main focus after the vacation.

Following photos were taken by Viveka Edit Sjölund, who was appointed to official event photographer.

When the castle had closed for the day, and the tourists were gone, the guests started to arrive. I quickly changed to full dress: black silk tailcoat and breeches, ruffled shirt, cravat, white waistcoat and stockings, and pumps. (You can see me here and there in the photographs below.) Chilled prosecco was served in the outer courtyard:

Mingling in front of the castle

Speeches and thank yous on the front steps. This group of amazing people contributed each and one of them in different, invaluable ways.

Group picture! Over 100 guests!

The program comprised of four dance sets, with three to four dances in every set. If you ever attended a historical ball you know that one dance can actually go on indefinitely, or at least a quarter of an hour, so that is about four, five hours of dancing in one evening!

The gallery is perfect for dancing longways, as in Playford´s country dances. (“Contre dance”.)


Even more perfection! The level was impressive this year.

This is so funny! Looks like a still from a Jane Austen film, doesn´t it?

The ground floor gallery is very grand with its vaulted ceilings and columns in Italian marble:

Dinner was served halfway through the ball. This is only one of three tables! We opened up the state apartments upstairs for a peek while the musicians tuned their instruments and our staff cleared the tables and prepared coffee and the dessert buffet. (Which was almost overwhelming!)

The ball continued with the next set of dances. I think this is the Duke of Kent´s Waltz, but I could be wrong…

A well-deserved rest in the portico.

I tried to join one or two dance in every set, but not as many as I intended. I´m afraid I didn´t chat enough with guests and friends either! (Meanwhile: ugly wiring! This is the only part of the castle with electricity, and it was not always installed with fingerspitzengefühl.)

The courtyard.

Gently euphoric at two o´clock in the morning, not particularily tired but with sore feet.

It was a magic evening! (And to me the best mix of business and pleasure.) I hope you can feel the atmosphere through the photos. Now when it is over I can´t help feeling a hint of post-event blues.




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