Grand Donation For The Hans Christian Andersen Museum
It is a distinguished donation and it was precisely the family's wish that the poet's paper cuts - which were a gift from the poet to the family - should return to "their roots" without any monetary involvement. It was this beautiful thought and gesture that accompanied the five paper cuts and Dirk Lund from Berlin to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum.
The Story Behind The Paper Cuts
The five paper cuts are very extraordinary as they have both been named and dated. All of the cuts were made on August 18. 1850. At that time, Hans Christian Andersen had spent almost two weeks at the manor, Corselitze, and was now about to travel from Nykøbing Falster to Copenhagen aboard the new steamboat "Vildanden" (The Wild Duck) from Gåbense to Vordingborg. However, Andersen was notified that the steamboat was to be used by the Danish Marines. The Three Years' War was going on and as a replacement for the steamboat, the poet was offered crossing in an open smack dingy that sailed from Gåbense to Vordingborg. As he was leaving with the mail at 4 in the morning, Andersen declined the offer to stay as a guest at the prefect, Baron F.C Holsten, and lodged at the hotel i Nykøbing Falster instead. Also, the cathedral school principal, Erich Peter Rosendal, offered Andersen lodging. Andersen paid him a visit and met Georg Frederik Wilhelm Lund, Dirk Lund's great-great-great-grandfather.
Hidden Through Six Generations
Georg Frederik Wilhelm Lund was a lecturer at the cathedral school. At that time, he had three boys from age four months to six years. The paper cuts were made for these children. After his visit, Andersen settled in early at the hotel to get ready for the journey to Copenhagen at 4 in the morning. However, the weather turned into a storm, and Hans Christian Andersen had to give up crossing the rough sea and go back to Nykøbing. In Nykøbing he was offered lodging at future Prime Minister, Bishop D.G Monrad's, and the next day on August 20. the poet met yet again lecturer Lund and his wife for dinner at the bishop's. The meeting must have made an impression on the lecturer who kept the fine paper cuts for posterity through six generations. The paper cuts are now returning to the Andersen collections as a kind of "thank you for the use of the cuts" gesture.
The delicate paper cuts have been named. The titles have been written on a note: We have the well-known "Møllefa'er" (Millfather). There is also a female version of this cut called "Møllemo'er" (Millmother), in addition to this "Luftballon" (Air balloon) and "Sommerfugl" (Butterfly) and finally something as peculiar as "Djævlemoer" (Devilmother) with the title added in German "Teuflin, kleine Kinder fressend" (Devilmother who eats little children). And really! The cut depicts a female figure with a human being in her mouth!
If Paper Cuts Could Talk
From memoirs we know that Hans Christian Andersen was prone to accompany his paper cuts with a tale. It would be exciting to know what the poet told Lund's children during his visit at the principal's home at the cathedral school in Nykøbing Falster, August 18. 1850.