One of the most famous horses in through Swedish history is the horse of Karl XII: Brandklipparen. When reading up on him, there is a lot of mythos, and very little fact.
One reoccuring fact is that Brandklipparen was, at 5 years age, in the battle for Lund 1676, and the father of Karl XII, Karl XIs horse, a white beautiful spanish stallion called Brilliant was shot during the battle. This led to that the smålandsh rider Håkan Ståhle offered the king his horse. It also says he should have died at Ängsö castle the year 1740, as there is a sign that reads “Konung Carl XII siste häst stört anno 1740” (King Carl XII last horse went down the year 1740). And what is more the story goes that the horse died by getting spooked by something unknowned and ran into a wall on the death day of Karl XII. This would mean the horse went to about 70 years old, not very likely.
More likely is that Branklipparen was the horse skeleton, that was very meticulate laid to rest, that was dug up beneth Karl XII residence in Lund, and probably buried in the year 1718-1719.
Regarding Brandklipparens nature, one of Karl XII mens write that the horse followed his master like a dog. I read that he was seen as somewhat of a goodluck charm, but I am not sure the truth in that, as it could be something we attribute him today. But he seemed to have been trough many wars, travelling all across the nordic countries with his masters.
I have my own theory on Brandklipparen, solely based on internet research, so take it for what it is.
But there is one painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl that is named “A horse named Brandklipparen”. It depicts a brown horse with a white star. Its unknowed when its painted, but David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl lived between 1628 and 1698 and he got to Sweden to work as a painter in 1658. This doesnt really gives any more clues about when Branklipparen could be born, but it might give us an indication on how he looks.
Next clue is also a painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl. The painting that is called Karl XIs livhäst Brilliant, which is painted in 1680. Why is it painted in 1680? 4 years after he died? Or maybe he did not die in that battle, maybe he was only wounded? Or maybe he was not wounded at all, and Brandklipparen was not given at the battle, and if there is a grain of truth to the story, and Karl XI was given Brandklipparen after Brilliant died, then Brandklipparen was born after 1780. The thing is that according to more reliable sources, the king switch horses in the battle of Lund, but because his horse Thotten got shot, and then he took Brilliant, so it could be some truth to it only, they mixed up the horses.
Then there are these portraits. First Karl XI by, again David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, painted 1696.
Then of Karl XII by David von Krafft, painted between 1697 and 1718
Notice that both these horses are brown with a star, very similar to the painting of the horse in the painting ” A horse named Brandklipparen”. Karl XI was very fond of his horses, and had them portraitraid, like the on with Brilliant, and I looked at them, and there is no other horse that is completly brown, with no other markings then a star.
Of course this could be the artists work, maybe there is no thought behind it, maybe David von Krafft looked at the portrait of Karl XI and just wanted a similarity?
But just lets say, for the sake of the argument, that it is Brandklipparen, then we have him on a painting with both the kings, 1696 and maybe so far as 1718?
We can never know, as there is no remarks from the painter regarding the horses, but it feels like at least Karl XI was abit choosy with the horses he had for paintings. As I said, he had all his favourite horses painted and in one the most famous of his portraits it is stated he is on Brilliant (in the battle of Lund). So the feeling is that you portrait a living horse as well, but as I said, we will never know. But it is a bit thrilling to think that it could, possibly, maybe, be Brandklipparen in these portraits.
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