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Fantastic beasts and where to find them

The forests, lakes and wetlands of Småland receive few visitors – humans, least of all. Explore this forgotten corner of Sweden in the footsteps of John Bauer, whose illustrations brought the country’s fairytales to life
Riverbank tree roots, as seen between lakes Bunn and Ören during the John Bauer boat tour

WHO WAS JOHN BAUER?

Born in Småland’s largest city, Jönköping, in 1882, painter and illustrator John Bauer is to Sweden what Beatrix Potter is to England. Aged 16, he moved to Stockholm to attend the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, where he began to pick up commissions to illustrate stories in books and magazines. It was at the Academy that he also met his future wife, artist Ester Ellqvist. His most celebrated works are his muted watercolours for Among Gnomes and Trolls, irst published in 1907 and still Sweden’s most loved anthology of fairy tales (pictured let).

Floating 'hotel' on Lake Klockesjön.
Local ilm maker Peter Torell.
‘NÄR KVÄLLEN KOM, SMÖGO TROLLMOR OCH POJKEN UT UR BERGET’ BY JOHN BAUER/ COURTESY OF JÖNKÖPINGS LÄNS MUSEUM
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - July 2019
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