A summons from the King of Sweden

During the summer of 1897, Paul recalled ‘the King of Sweden and Norway sent his artist for a projector, with instructions that the maker was to accompany it and see it properly installed in the Palace at Stockholm’. Paul evidently complied with this request – or invitation? – and having done the job, ‘benefited from ‘special facilities for getting Swedish pictures’. He shot at least eleven short films himself (sadly none of which are known to survive), which means he must have taken a camera and film stock. And he must have taken more than one projector, since a programme of his films started running during the summer at a ‘Salon International’ above a cafe in central Stockholm.

RWP.Stockholm.2

The picture at the top, which I took last year while in Stockholm for Domitor, has the same address as Theodor Blanch’s Konst-Salon, but clearly the neighbourhood has changed a bit… So many questions: how long did Paul stay? How quickly did he train a local operator to run the show? Was he able to process the films in Stockholm, or were the negs sent back to London… And what happened to the projector installed in the Palace? No answers, of course, and a disappointing absence of any evidence of his presence in the Swedish archives.

Five years later, he would travel to Norway and shoot another series, rather mysteriously announced as ‘Norway revisited’ (there doesn’t seem to have been a first visit!). but at least one of those films has survived, and it’s a fine 360deg pan around the rooftops of Hammerfest. In fact, I suspect he felt a real affinity for the North, since one of the last known photos was taken while he was on a holiday visit to Norway in the 1930s.

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