The answer to the tapestry mystery — who designed this tapestry and when — hasn’t been solved yet, but many readers are so interested! (Read the first post.)
A couple of people noted the similarity to the tapestry designs of Norwegian artist Gerhard Munthe, who designed many tapestry cartoons on folk tale themes. Absolutely! It is definitely of the era and similar to his style.
Tapestry weaver Dorthe Herup sent along this image of a watercolor by Munthe.
Textile collector Ole Herman Ambur sent me a 2018 listing from a Swedish auction house of another version of the “St. Olav and the Troll” tapestry. It was woven in the mid-1900s, according to the listing, by Anna Myklebust from Nordfjord, Norway. Many weavers might recognize that this version uses motifs from the borders of the famous Norwegian Medieval Baldishol Tapestry — the ribbon-like border at the bottom and wave-like borders on the sides. Ole Herman also noted this stone troll in Valdres.
Several people added to versions of the legend of St. Olav and the troll woman. There are many. Author and storyteller Lise Lunge-Larsen went right to her Folktales of Norway book.
Lise also sent a second version. I liked the correlation of this one to the tapestry image, as it includes, “The troll woman looked, but just then, the first rays of dawn appeared [emphasis mine], and she was turned to stone.”
A Norwegian friend sent an unexpected fact — the legend has been used for a song by the Black Metal band Myrkgrav, “Gryga og St. Olav.” The lyrics are here, and you can listen to it on Youtube here.
The tapestry designer mystery remains, but I am enjoying my new iPhone wallpaper.
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