Jenny Lind

The Mystery of the Nightingale’s Figurehead

Just over twelve years ago in the Swedish countryside just outside Gothenburg a local Antiques dealer and his friend made a remarkable discovery, a local Jenny Lind - The Mystery of the Nightingales Figureheadfarmer had what he called a scarecrow for sale, and would they be interested in buying it, the dealer was Karl-Eric Svardskog his friend Gunter, the scarecrow would turn out to be a beautiful Ships Figurehead in the form of a young woman, a deal was made with the farmer, leaving Karl-Eric and Gunter to make the arrangements to move her out of the farmers barn, back to Karl-Eric home in Gothenburg, once this relatively short journey had been made, a more complex and arduous journey of research and discovery would occupy Karl-Eric for the next decade or more, a journey he is still on.

Since her discovery she has been seen by more people in the past ten years than throughout her long service at The Figurehead Jenny lindsea, by 1996 just two short years after she was sitting in the farmers barn, dirty and neglected she was being unveiled by the King of Sweden, King Garl XVI Gustaf, at the prestigious National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, also that year she was displayed on stage at the Stockholm Concert Hall in connection with a “Jenny Lind” concert, the start of her own journey that would see he used as the symbol for the “Cutty Sark” Tall Ships Races in 1997, mentioned in countless magazines and newspaper articles around the World, culminating in her move over to the United States of American in the Spring of 2001, for exhibition at the Portsmouth Athenaeum Readings Rooms in Maine, and then from 2002 to 2005 on full time exhibition in the figurehead room at the Wendell Building at Mystic Seaport Museum Mystic Connecticut, one of Americans largest and most prestigious Maritime Museums.

Fifty Kronor Bank Note showing Jenny Lind2006 sees her on the move again, this time up to New York, and the South Street Seaport Museum, looking out over the east river, home of New York’s Maritime Village, with it’s collection of historic sailing ships such as the British build “Wavertree” under restoration, Karl-Eric has dedicated a great deal of time and effort into researching the history of this particular female figurehead, and will continue to lend her to various maritime museum and intuitions.

Details of this remarkable carving and it’s history can be found in Karl-Eric own book on the subject, published by the Portsmouth Marine Society in 2001 under the heading...


Book Cover Jenny LindTo coincide with the South Street Seaport exhibition, a full article on the “Jenny Lind” has been published in the Winter 2005 issue of the American publication the...

Vol. 50 number 4.
Reproduced here in Portable Document Format (PDF)*

Information on her remarkable history can also be found on
Karl-Eric’s own web site at:
with up date information on the future of “Jenny”
and her remarkable story.

*Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® is free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files on all major computer platforms.