Drawing of Lake Vänern

Drawing of Lake Vänern
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of Lake Vänern, seen from Vänersborg, with a wooden house in the foreground.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: 4 August 1873
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Northern Europe
Country: Sweden
Region/Place: Vänersborg; Lake Vänern
Cultural group: European Swedish
Format: Drawing (mounted on card)
Size: 74 x 119 mm; 173 x 246 mm (with mount)
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Primary documentation: ‘[p.588] Dr. JOAN EVANS, from the property of the late SIR ARTHUR EVANS, Youlbury, Boars Hill, Oxford. [List of items follows]’; ‘[p.590] 5 original pencil sketches of Sweden. Made on journey in 1873. Mounted’: Pitt Rivers Museum accession records (Donations X, 1937–1941), pp.588, 590. Annotations on drawing: ‘Lake Wener from Wenersborg’ (written in pencil below drawing). Annotations on mount: ‘Creek of Lake Wener, from Wenersborg/ SWEDEN’ (written on mount in brown ink).

Research notes: It has been established by Philip Grover that this drawing was made by Arthur Evans on 10 August 1873, when his travelling party was at Vänersborg and Lake Vänern. Evans wrote in his journal of the voyage to Finnish Lapland: ‘Wenersborg [Vänersborg] is Gothenburg on a small scale, without the canals, & with a large market place in the middle, where stands a hideous Lutheran church, surrounded by a delicious grove of linden - Like Gothenburg it is all comparatively new, having been, like it, laid out in the 17th century - it is laid out in regular streets build mostly of wood, & painted to look as much like stone as it can - but the charm of the place is the view of Lake Wener [Vänern] from the cliffs just outside the town - it seems to be nothing less than the sea itself - the shores are line with sea cliffs - & here & there rocks rise from the waters & are splashed by sea waves - and straight in front you can see no shore at all - We bathed in it & found it liquid ice!’ (entry dated 4 August 1873): Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Sir Arthur Evans Archive, B/2/1, Box 1, Notebook 1, pp.7–8. For more information on Arthur Evans’ voyage to Finnish Lapland in 1873, see Joan Evans, Time and Chance: The Story of Arthur Evans and His Forebears (London, 1943), pp.172–176; Ann Brown, Before Knossos...: Arthur Evans’s Travels in the Balkans and Crete (Oxford, 1993), pp.14–16, 90; and Tony Lurcock, No Particular Hurry: British Travellers in Finland, 1830-1917 (London, 2013), pp.123–134, 250.