Hans Andersen’s Ruler

The ruler is made of wood and decorated with paper cut-outs by Hans Christian Andersen. The decoration is a silhouette cut-out which amongst other things represents female figures with parasols dancing around a swan, and Ole Lukøje, Andersen’s fairytale character also known as Mr Sandman, with an umbrella. The famous author had a particular talent for paper cut-outs and happily entertained large gatherings with his stories at the same time as visualising them using paper and scissors. After having finished the story, he unfolded the paper cut-out and revealed a little artwork.

This ruler was further decorated with dried leaves, of which one is still preserved. On the back of the ruler Andersen has written the little rhyme, ‘In every leaf is magic. A living soul sits within it.’ The text is dated 1872 and completes the ruler as an example of the author’s multiple talents for creating a story with many layers. The ruler was presumably a present from the artist to Christian IX, who kept it in his study at Amalienborg.