Thorvald Boecks Library

Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer, "Thorvald Boecks Library", 1902
Photo: Børre Høstland


In 1899, Thorvald Boeck sold over 31,000 books to the Science Society in Trondheim!! 

He was an expert and writer on law, and at the time, was known to have the largest private library in Norway.  

We can’t say for sure, but perhaps Backer’s choice of subject in this well-stocked library, was her own enthusiasm for books…  

As a young girl she had written several stories, although never published, she had many friends who were writers, and she was an avid reader. 

The library room, as Harriet Backer describes it, is characterized by golden, warm, red and brown colours.  

The warm tones are nicely balanced by blue and gray elements among book spines and furniture.  

As in so many of her other interiors, here, she also allows light to enter the room via a window on the side wall.  

The room's many lines in the floorboards meet the densely packed bookshelves via a piece of furniture with a table, couch and three chairs.  

A smaller table and another chair in the same style can be seen on the left.  

The bright ceiling reflects the play of colors in the book spines, and where the people are missing, furniture and Thorvald Boeck's collection have taken their place. 

Boeck's daughter married one of Harriet Backer's distant relatives, so perhaps it was them who invited her into Boeck's home…?