2: Christian IV’s Writing Room

From this tower chamber, Christian IV is believed to have carried out his vast correspondence. The room has been preserved, more or less intact, since the time of Christian IV in the first half of the 17th century: the ceiling paintings with scenes from the Italian epic Orlando Furioso, the paintings inlaid in the panels, and the fireplace. However, the wall coverings of green silk printed with gold ornaments date from around 1700.

In the extension of the chamber, which is located behind the jib door in the north wall, Christian IV had a staircase which gave direct access to the basement. Frederik III later had the staircase replaced with a so-called ascenseur, or “ascending chair”, which was very fashionable at the time. The chair could be drawn to the first and the second floor, so the King did not have to climb the stairs himself.

The items exhibited in the Writing Room are mainly mementos of Christian IV, his closest family and his forefathers.

 Room 3 ->

Objects in this room
201. Painting of Christ as “The Man of Sorrows”. Christian IV’s vision at Rodenburg, 8th December 1625, with his own handwritten description.
202. Prince Christian, the Prince Elect, on horseback; in the background, his father, as in no. 203. Painted by Adrian Muiltjes c. 1635-39.
203. Christian IV on horseback in front of Kronborg Castle; in the background, the Prince Elect, on horseback, as in no. 202. Same painter as above.
204. Carved head of a stag, with the antlers of the stag which, on 28th December 1611, alarmed by the advancing Swedes, fled into the Danish camp in Kalmar and thus warned the army.
206. Christian II (1481-1559; King 1513-23). Painted on wood; old copy from Quentin Massys.
207. Frederik I (1471-1533; King 1523). Painted on wood. Jacob Binck, c. 1540?
208. Painting of Queen Anne Cathrine’s dog, with her monogram on its collar, dated 1598.
209. Christian IV c. 1612. Painted by Pieter Isaacsz.
210. Clock with moving figures: the Emperor and the seven Electors. South Germany, c. 1600. Transferred to Copenhagen from the Cabinet of Couriosities at Gottorp Castle in 1750.
211. Scriptor of ebony, dated 1580 and presumably made in Nuremberg. On the drawers are reliefs of gilt bronze depicting the 12 Labours of Hercules and the 12 patriarchs. On the sides are engraved metal plates with copies of Virgilius Solis’s biblical illustrations from 1560 and on the top engravings from Solis’s illustrations to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 1563. The four lion feet have moveable jaws and eyes. The pedestal is modern. Transferred to Copenhagen from the Cabinet of Curiosities at Gottorp Castle in 1751.
212. Chair upholstered in silk velvet brocade interwoven with the King’s cipher, C4. Made at the silkfactory in Copenhagen c. 1623.
213. Stools carved by Christian Nerger c. 1690, upholstered as no. 212.
214. Brass andirons from Christian IV’s last years.
215. Window pane with the coat-of-arms of Holstein-Gottorp, and the name of Duke Johan Adolph of Holstein-Gottorp (1575-1616), brother-in law of Christian IV.
216. Fountain cock in the shape of Neptune riding on a dolphin. 17th century. From the “Hermitage” (now the Hercules Pavilion) in The King’s Garden (Kongens Have).
218. Portrait of Frederik II’s widow, the Dowager Queen Sophie. Detail of a full-length portrait painted by Pieter Isaacsz, c. 1610-15.
219. Christian IV. Painting signed: A.M. (Adrian Muiltjes?), 1638.
220. Queen Sophie, wife of Frederik II, née Duchess of Mecklenburg (1557-1631); married in 1572. The Queen is probably wearing her wedding costume and crown of gold with white pearls. Painted by Hans Knieper 1578?
221. Christian IV as a boy; painted about 1585 by Hans Knieper.
222. Alabaster relief of Frederik II, made after the death of the King (1588) by Gert van Egen?
223. Tin mug; part of Christian IV’s and Kirsten Munk’s daughter Princess Sophie Elisabeth’s dowry, 1632-1633. Found by excavation in Gothersgade.
224. Tin plate from among the dowry given by Christian IV to his son, Hans Ulrik Gyldenløve, in 1638.
225. Mug of stoneware, with the Danish arms. Rhenish work, 1623.
226. Silver tankard, made in 1584 for Duke Julius of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1528-89) in commemoration of the foundation of Heinrichstadt, today part of Wolfenbüttel.
227. Brass ornamental dish and bronze chafing dish; part of Leonora Christina’s dowry, 1636.
228. Silver lantern made for Christian IV by the Copenhagen goldsmith Hans Trægaard.
229. Silver cup with Kirsten Munk’s coat-of-arms and name; the hallmark of Hamburg and the maker’s mark of Hermann Lambrecht.
230. Silver mug, with Kirsten Munk’s name and coat-of-arms and the year 1653. Made by Daniel Harder in Odense.
231. Tankard of silver in the form of a manikin. The handle in the form of two entwined monkeys. Stamped AB, presumably for Arent van Bolten, Amsterdam 1608.
232. The Psalms of David, bound in silver, with David playing the harp.
233. Covered cup of silver made for Christian IV in 1600 by Gabriel Brockmüller in Hillerød as the prize in a wager with four courtiers; he who became intoxicated first was the loser. Known as the Temperance Cup.
234. Two salt cellars of Wanli porcelain, set in brass gilt with pearls, turquoises and precious stones. From c. 1610?
235. King Christian IV’s seal, used in the Court of Justice. 1630.
236. King Christian IV’s privy seal.
237. The seal of the town of Christiansstad (in Scania).
238. Two dog collars of leather. Belonged to the Electress Hedevig of Saxony (1581-1641), Christian IV’s sister.
239. Two small bedside lamps of silver and rock crystal in the shape of ships. Christian IV period.
240. Christian IV and Queen Anne Cathrine, silver plaquettes in frame of later date; attributed to Nicolaus Svabe, after J.v. Doordt.
241. Christian IV’s compass, from 1595, of silver gilt.
242. Miniature on copper of Frederik III when young.
243. Grass snake’s head with Salzburger guilder. According to the Kunstkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities) inventory, found by Frederik III near Frederiksborg after the Swedish siege. Another tradition from the last century has it that Christian IV dropped the coin while out walking near Frederiksborg. The King cut off the snake’s head, but it kept its hold on the coin.
244. Christian IV, painted by A. Magerstadt?
245. Christian IV. Enamelled miniature on gold, c. 1640. By unknown artist.
246. Balance, silver. Made by Konrad Most and Urban Wolf, Nuremberg 1585-98.
247. Table clock made 1561 by Steffen Brenner; presented to Christian IV by his father in 1584: the dial was restored under Frederik V.
248. Portrait of Christian IV in wax repoussé, c. 1640.
250. Christian III (1503-59; King 1534). Silver plate, engraved by Jacob Binck, 1535.
251. Frederik II (1534-88; King 1559). Alabaster relief, showing the King on horseback.


Castle history

The 400-year-old Renaissance castle was built by Christian IV whose colourful personality left a strong mark on Danish history. Christian IV loved being in residence at Rosenborg and it quickly became his favourite castle and venue for many important events. Today, visitors can travel back in time and through the possessions of Christian IV and his heirs get a sense of both everyday life and the festive aspects of royal life through 400 years. The rooms and halls testify to pomp and pageantry, but also to peculiarities, secrets, and a view of the world which was in some ways like ours, and in others very different. The organisation behind the palace is the Royal Danish Collections, which collects, researches, preserves, and disseminates. We want our visitors to explore living history when they encounter the palace. It is our ambition that our visitors should be moved by our material, through learning, wonderment, fascination and empathy. At the same time, we aim not to stand still in our dissemination of history – Rosenborg is an expression of its time, but the experience of Rosenborg moves with the times. We are constantly developing new material about the palace, and often focus on various themes, so that there is always a good reason for (re)visiting Rosenborg.   From pleasure palace to favourite palace Because the old medieval castle, Copenhagen Castle, was hopelessly old-fashioned, Christian IV was in need, as a young, ambitious Renaissance ruler, of a fitting residence in Copenhagen. In 1606 he therefore bought up 40 lots outside the Nørrevold wall, which apart from providing the space for his pleasure palace also had space for a magnificent park and a kitchen garden for supplying the court. The castle began humbly as a small summer palace, but over the course of 28 years it went through four stages of development, and the castle we know today was finished in 1633. Christian IV loved to stay at the castle, which became his favourite. So great was his love for the castle that on his deathbed at Frederiksborg he commanded that he be transported by sleigh to Rosenborg in order to end his days there. He passed on in his bed chamber. The architecture With its high towers and red brick walls ornamented with sandstone, Rosenborg stands today as a prime example of Christian IV’s many building works, fully formed despite many changes along the way. It was built in the particular Dutch Renaissance style, which became typical of Danish buildings of the period. The names of two architects are linked to the castle, Bertel Lange and Hans van Steenwinckel. Christian IV had a great knowledge of architecture and dedicated himself to his building works with life and soul. The king’s personal contribution to Rosenborg is often discussed, but he undoubtedly provided many of the ideas. The palace’s four phases The years 1605-1606 The pleasure palace, which is today the core of the southern half of Rosenborg, had two storeys with a spire-topped stair turret facing the city and a bay opposite, facing east. In 1611 a gate tower with a drawbridge was built. It forms the central part of the current gate house. The palace in the years 1613-15 In the course of these three years the pleasure palace was expanded to twice its original size. The building thus reached its current length, but still had just two storeys. On the east side the palace now had two bays, with a stair turret between them. The palace in the years 1616-24 The palace was ready to be inhabited in 1615, but the building work continued the following year. It was elevated with a new storey, which housed the Great Hall, and the bays became the current spire-topped turrets. On the west side the large tower was built. The building work was finished in 1624, and that same year Christian IV used the name Rosenborg about his “big house in the garden” for the first time. The palace in 1633 The palace still lacked, however, a fitting entrance to the official chambers on the 1st and 2nd floors. This became all the more urgent when Christian IV was to host his son Christian’s lavish wedding to Magdalena Sibylla in 1634. The existing stair turret was pulled down and replaced by the current one and a double staircase outdoors, which ran from the outer doors by the side turrets up to the 1st floor. The turret’s inner staircase at first only connected the 1st and 2nd floors; it wasn’t continued all the way down to the ground floor until 1758, when the outdoor staircase was pulled down. Rosenborg as a royal residence Rosenborg was used as a royal residence until around 1710, when Christian IV’s great-grandchild Frederik IV gave it up in favour of other, more up-to-date summer residences. Instead he had the palace made into the home of the royal collections. This is the reason why there are so many well-preserved interiors, which are quite unique to Rosenborg. Originally the palace was arranged so that the private chambers were on the ground floor. The king had the northern end, and the queen the southern. In the middle there was a transverse antechamber, from which a wooden staircase led to the 1st floor. Here the entire southern end was occupied by the “The Red Hall”, which was the ballroom in the first pleasure palace. In the middle section was an antechamber, and at the northern end the king had his audience chamber. The arrangement of rooms around the Great Hall on the 2nd floor is unchanged. During Frederik III’s time the king and queen swapped apartments on the ground floor, and the rooms were decorated as befitted an absolute monarch. Frederik III also had an “ascending chair” (lift) built in the northern tower. Christian V is most remembered for having had 12 tapestries of his victories in the Scanian War woven for the Great Hall. Frederik IV was more radical in his approach. The transverse antechamber on the ground floor was divided into the Stone Passage and the Dark Room, which the king had furnished as a common bedroom for the Royal Couple. The arrangement of rooms on the 1st floor was altered to the current one. Following Frederik IV Rosenborg was only used as a royal residence on two occasions, both emergencies: after the fire at Christiansborg in 1794, and during the English attack on Copenhagen in 1801.