This painting started 'life' as a Plein Air study, and this is the studio version of it. It is a place I like to visit, quite near to my home. A narrow sound (or strait) between two islands in the Stockholm archipelago, a lovely spot that is also the place of a famous battle.
The Battle of Stäket 1719
(Adapted from Wikipedia.) Russia sent a large Baltic fleet with orders to pillage and harass the eastern Swedish seaboard. The Russian fleet proceeded burning cities and farmsteads.
The Russian admiral Apraxin had already investigated Baggensstäket, "the backdoor to Stockholm" (a narrow sound) as a way to reach the capital city without passing the fortress.
On August 10, Russian units were spotted in the archipelago. If they could pass through Baggenstäket it would be possible to reach the capital while completely out of reach of the cannon of Vaxholm.
On the morning of August 13, Russian galleys had been spotted at the entrance to the passage. The closest large Swedish army unit, the 800-man Södermanlands regemente, was alerted and force marched 19 kilometers to meet the enemy. A small force was sent ahead to protect the arrival of the rest of the regiment. After a rapid march through rocky and densly forested terrain under a hot summer sun, they reached Baggenstäket before 7pm without encountering any fire. However the Russians by then had disembarked their forces, on both sides of the channel's eastern entrance. (Right behind us in the painting.) The Swedish forces arrived, and battle was engaged.
After two hours of confused fighting the battle was over, and the Russian solidiers retreated into their landing craft.
This “minor victory”, as it is called, may have been major in the respect that the capital was not taken by the Russians. Swedes speak Swedish, not Russian, thanks to the valiant and heavily outnumbered forces beating the Russians. It is quite possible the pile of stones in the painting were used to sink the ships that blocked the straits.
Today, the spot is nearly as rural and idyllic as in the 18th century.The nursery garden belonging to the near manor has a cafe with a view, children swim here, adults picknick or hop into a little boat, heading for the Baltic Sea.
See a larger image of the painting in the Landscape section of the site.