A Day in the Life of Carl August Ehrensvärd
Late 18th century strip depicting a day in the life of Carl August Ehrensvärd. The captions read "Rise", "Write", "See", "Eat", "Out" and "Read"

Carl August Ehrensvärd was an early Swedish painter, sculptor and caricaturist. He sometimes drew sequential stories, similar to the work of his English contemporaries James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson.

Carl August Ehrensvärd was born in 1745 in Stockholm. He was the son of Swedish field marshal and count Augustin Ehrensvärd, who is remembered for building the fortress of Sveaborg. Just like his father, Ehrensvärd inherited his nobility and joined the navy. He saw military action during the Pomeranian War (1757-1762) between Sweden and Prussia and again during the Russian-Swedish War (1788-1790). 

Ehrensvärd also worked as a caricaturist, learning his craft from artist Elias Martin. During the 1790s, he often teamed up with fellow artist Johan Tobias Sergel, drawing so-called "jam-comics" and other stories for private use. These early examples of comics were often burlesque presentations of parties, drinking and sexuality. They weren't published until much later. Ehrensvärd and Sergel are therefore forerunners of Swedish comic art, about half a century before Fritz von Dardel made his sequential stories, and a century before Oskar Andersson and Albert Engström laid the foundations for contemporary Swedish comics. As Ehrensvärd and Segel often depicted their own lives, the authors can also be considered pioneers of autobiographical comics!

Carl Ehrensvärd travelled to Italy in 1786. He was elected into the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1790. Ten years later he passed away in Öbrero.


Caricature of nobleman Adolf Fredrik Munck assisting Swedish king Gustav III during his first intercourse with Sofia Magdalena.

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