Norwegian Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling cover Norwegian Rosemaling: Decorative Painting on Wood
Miller and Aarseth

True confessions: this was found at my own library. It’s been hanging out in the Crafts collection for 45 years. It has quite a lot of circulations, though none recently. It’s not a bad subject for a public library collection, especially in an area where Norwegian culture is prevalent (which it is not here!). The photography has that 1974 bad lighting, low-tech look to it, and most, though not all, of the images are in black and white. It has a lot of old tape and ghost stickers on the outside from years of re-processing, as well as fragile binding that has definitely been mended at least once. It’s a paperback, so it has seen better days, condition-wise. We’re weeding it – your call on how it might still work for your patrons (or not!).

Norwegian Rosemaling back cover

Norwegian Rosemaling example

Norwegian Rosemaling technique

Norwegian Rosemaling technique

Norwegian Rosemaling in a church


  1. This book would be beloved in my neck of the woods–I bet the local Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle would love to have it! Even the public library would probably see it circulating quite a bit.

  2. This book is falling apart and must go.

    However, if used in moderation, Rosemaling can still be very appealing. It looks very much like the old ‘Rose and Castle’ decorations used on canal boats in the UK and in North American folk art decorations.

    I think the black and white illustrations serve a useful purpose because they clearly present the system for painting the flowers.

    The subject isn’t horrible. It’s just that the physical volume has given up the ghost.

  3. Rosemaling is still popular, especially in, as you pointed out, places with populations that have a high number of people with Norwegian heritage (like where I live). I’ve seen multiple women offering classes in the skill. A more updated, modern-looking book might circulate more, if there’s room in the budget for it. 🙂

    1. My Canadian church occasionally had a Danish guest preacher who wore that black robe and collar. I often wondered how he kept it so neat and crisp.

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