Elsa Beskow and the designer Catharina Kippel

This text is from a folder from Design House Stockholm about the Elsa Beskow collection

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From the Elsa Beskow collection

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From the Elsa Beskow collection

Elsa Beskow was born in southern Stockholm in 1874. There were five children in the family. Her father died when she was 15 and her mother took the children to live with her unmarried siblings who shared the same household. Elsa’s aunts and uncle became the models for Aunt Green, Aunt Brown, Aunt Lavender and Uncle Blue. From 1892 to 1895 Elsa studied to become an art teacher and it was at this time that she started illustrating children’s stories.

She married Natanael Beskow, a clergyman and artist. They lived with their six sons in Djursholm, north of Stockholm, and the family often provided inspiration for characters and locations in her stories. Elsa Beskow’s first book ‘Tale of the Little, Little Old Lady’ is based on stories that her grandmother told her and was published in 1897. To this day it remains a classic story that most children have read.

Her stories and her illustrations were a dominant influence in the world of children’s books for more than 100 years. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages and many of today’s children’s authors and illustrators have been inspired by her art. In 1952 she was awarded the Nils Holgersson Prize for her lifework and today there is a prize for children’s authors in her name.

The stories of Elsa Beskow have been interpreted by designer Catharina Kippel, who has used ‘visual quotations’, or details, from the original stories and brought into her work. Catharina has been collaborating with Design House Stockholm since the beginning, and is the designer behind much of the bestselling dinnerware. She has studied pottery and glassblowing in Sweden as well as ancient ceramic firing techniques in Japan, and has a master’s degree from Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm. Since 1995, Catharina runs her own studio in Gustavsberg’s old porcelain factory, and her work is represented at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and the Porcelain Museum in Gustavsberg.

“Like many others I have grown up with Aunt Lavender, the Little, Little Old Lady, the Morel Troll and all the other fantastic characters of Elsa Beskow’s fairy tales. It was a wonderful feeling to daydream about these worlds, and I still feel the same excitement when I think about them. One of my favorite books when I was a child was ‘Woody, Hazel & Little Pip’ by Elsa Beskow. My dog, a playful boxer puppy, ate a part of the book, but I kept reading it over and over again. It’s still kept in my parent’s home in Lund in southern Sweden.”

Read more about the Elsa Beskow collection

Design House Stockholm is launching a Beskow collection

Christian Wallin, Head of licensing and merchandising at Bonnierförlagen, approached Design House Stockholm with a proposal to work together on one of Sweden’s most beloved illustrators and artists: Elsa Beskow. As a publisher of Scandinavian design, Anders Färdig, the CEO of Design House Stockholm was pleasantly surprised by the suggestion and the cooperation was a fact.

A lot of people have great childhood memories from Elsa Beskow’s stories. One could not help but think about what would happen if you mixed Elsa Beskow’s cultural treasure with a young Swedish designer. Design House Stockholm asked designer Catharina Kippel about her relationship with Elsa. One of Catharina’s many strengths is her precise eye for pattern compositions. Catharina has studied at Konstfack (College of Arts) and is now working in her own studio in Gustavsberg, outside of Stockholm.

Under the supervision of the family and relatives who care for the Elsa Beskow estate, Kippel got permission to pick ”picture quotes” from the original works. Her interpretation of Elsa’s fairy tales underline Elsa’s sense of humor and the inspired interpretations of nature and animals that are so typical for Elsa. We all care for the matters that engaged Elsa Beskow; everybody’s right to knowledge and education, women’s emancipation, and that nature is something that we should be shaped by – not something that man kind should shape!

How Catharina Kippel has interpreted Elsa Beskow’s fabulous treasure, consumers will see in the middle of June, when the Design House Stockholm is releasing the first collection consisting of mugs, trays and towels. Catharina has taken her first inspiration from the fairy tales The Flower’s Festival, Aunt Brown’s Birthday, Christopher’s Harvest Time and The Curious Fish.

Read more here.

Books by Elsa Beskow

The following Elsa Beskow books are published by Bonnier Carlsen and have been translated into English. See a complete list of available Elsa Beskow books in English.

The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman – 1897
Peter in Blueberry Land – 1898
Ollie’s Ski Trip – 1905
Children of the Forest – 1907
Thumbelina (text: H C Andersen) – 1908
Pelle’s New Suit – 1910
The Flowers’ Festival – 1912
Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender – 1917
Christopher’s Harvest Time – 1919
The Land of Long Ago – 1922
Aunt Brown’s Birthday – 1925
Around the year – 1927
Peter and Lotta’s Adventure – 1927
The Children of Hat Cottage – 1930
The Sun Egg – 1932
The Curious Fish – 1932
Princess Sylvie – 1933
Woody, Hazel and Little Pip – 1934
Emily and Daisy – 1939
Uncle Blue’s New Boat – 1941
Peter and Lotta’s Christmas – 1945
Peter’s Old House – 1949

Children’s Lounge at Stockholm Arlanda Airport

Travelling with children can be stressful. In order to make the travel experience as comfortable as possible, the Stockholm-Arlanda airport’s youngest passengers now have a lounge of their own in Terminal 5. The lounge, a collaboration between Junibacken and Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, is based on the Swedish author Elsa Beskow’s most beloved children’s books. In the lounge, children can crawl into Hat-House and Olle’s Cabin, ride on a field mouse, pick giant blueberries and slide down a giant chanterelle. The lounge is for children up to the age of 12 and has a corner for watching movies, reading books and playing games. Läs mer