Artist Anders Zorn, born in 1860, was commissioned to paint a wealthy family portrait of a young boy. The child’s parents were unable to accompany their son for this portrait and so at the last minute, his aunt Emma stepped in.
When Anders and Emma met they fell in love at first sight. This was the beginning of a life they would start together.
Today the portrait of their nephew can be seen hanging above Emma’s bed, where the couple would have placed it, symbolising their encounter.
Before the couple married, Anders traveled the world gaining inspiration and recognition for his artwork. This was needed to please Emma’s wealthy family, who wanted a rich man for their daughter.
On Zorn’s return to Mora, Sweden, he was deemed fit for Emma due to his success and accumulation of wealth abroad. The couple made a magnificent home together, covered in art, collected from around the world. Their home was unique, with the first hot water boiler in Sweden and the only home to have stainless steel worktops in the kitchen.
Their house was also the first to have a telephone. It was possible to ring the servants when you wanted help or to ring Stockholm for supplies or the doctor if need be.
Today, you can be guided through their home which remains how it was in the 1800s.
They were a generous couple always having guests to stay. These guests were treated like royalty with their own rooms and special feasts cooked for them.
Upstairs there was an entertainment room where they had bands playing local folk music. This was banned in Mora but Zorn thought it was important to keep the tradition.
While Anders and Emma didn’t have any children of their own, they homed 25 dogs during their lifetime.
Anders died young at the age of 60 from an unhealthy lifestyle of excessive food, drink and overworking.
Emma lived to 80. She was very interested in fashion and wore the most spectacular outfits. She was extremely intellectual and read a lot, this is evidenced through the thousands of books in their house.
Emma was a busy woman, on the board of a local orphanage and constantly working (even though she had enough money not to lift a finger.)
Next to their house is a museum where you can browse Zorn’s impressive work, mainly oil paint pieces, along with etchings and sculptures. Also in the museum is Carl Larsson’s art. He was a close friend of Zorn.
Emma and Anders wrote in their will that their house should be open to the public and run by the state. They were very specific about how they wanted it done. They even mentioned having freshly cut flowers in each room for guests to see. This is upheld today.
The house and museum are well worth a visit costing 160 Swedish Kronos or around 16 GBP. It is the perfect rainy day activity.
Other Mora rainy day activities include; the small cinema, coffee shops overlooking the lake or braving the rain for short hikes.
That afternoon the rain cleared and we cycled around the spectacular lake in Mora.
From our STF Youth hostel Målkullan, we biked to Mora Life a campsite and cafe. It appeared to be shut probably down to being offseason.
We rented the bikes from the hostel for 100 Swedish Kronos, approx 10GBP for two days – pretty reasonable.
STF Youth hostel Målkullan Review:
Costing £22 each per night we could hardly complain. Sweden is expensive. However, there are still reasonably priced accommodation options. Especially if you look on the STF website and not on booking.com or hostelworld.
Hostel Målkullan was comfortable. We stayed in a dorm room (with bunk beds). There were hardly any guests. The kitchen was well equipped and the stay enjoyable. The hostel has a sauna (customary for hostels in Sweden).
The only drawback was our room didn’t have a window as we were in the basement!