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Valborg Månsdotter Frisk


Textile artist

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk was a textile artist who was active during the eighteenth century.

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk was the daughter of Magnus Håkansson Frisk, the bailiff of Ragunda. He in turn was the son of the previous bailiff, Håkan Jonsson Frisk, who hailed from Fryksdalen in Värmland and who, after many military adventures, arrived in eastern Jämtland in connection with efforts to make that area more Swedish after the change in nationality brought on by the Peace of Brömsebro in 1645. Valborg Månsdotter Frisk’s brother Haqvin became the third generation to hold the post of bailiff in the area.

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk has been described as an independent woman who was a bit of a tomboy as a child. For example she was brave enough to set off alone to visit the hermit known as “Munken”, who lived on an island in Ragundasjön. This lake was later drained of its waters in 1796. It is said that the hermit taught her how to imitate the sounds made by animals and birds and how to forge. Whether true or not this reveals a lot about how Valborg Månsdotter Frisk later came to be perceived. One can understand that she proved a point of fascination to her biographer, Hildegard Löfbladh, a Hammarstrand photographer, local historian and author. Löfbladh herself lived an independent life and ran her own business at the start of the preceding century.

When Valborg Månsdotter Frisk was a teenager she ran away from her home in Ragunda and made her way to Sundsvall getting lifts from innkeepers, and then sailed onwards to Germany. She continued on to Flanders in Belgium where she spent a few years undertaking what can be described as a study tour. At that time these tended to be the preserve of young noblemen. She learnt various textile arts such as weaving and dyeing which served her well when she finally returned to Sweden.

Once she was back in Ragunda Valborg Månsdotter Frisk married Erik Nilsson (sometimes given the additional name of Höök), the innkeeper in Krångede. Now her artistic skills with textiles really came in handy. When the inn almost became insolvent it was her production of fleece blankets which proved their financial saviour. She began an almost industrial level of output of these textile items. In order to facilitate her access to the necessary raw goods she had begun to raise sheep on a large scale. It is said that her fleece blankets could not be surpassed. One of the places where she found a thriving market for her goods was Sundsvall with its wealthy burghers.

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk’s artistic legacy has lasted well beyond her own time in various ways. Her nephew, Jonas Forsslund, had already become a well-known painter of royalty during her lifetime, particularly as a result of several portraits he produced of King Gustav IV Adolf. Her grandson, Nils, adopted the name Frisendahl following a family tradition in which clergy often adopted that name. He went on to be the founding father of the Frisendahl family in Ådals-Liden. There, the three brothers Carl, Halvar, and Fredrik Frisendahl all became artists. Future generations continued the artistic legacy, including Cecilia Frisendahl. Her daughter Kerstin Ersdotter, a settler-wife in Överammer, was the progenitor of the Seldahl family, of which the actor Viveka Seldahl through her character portrayals can be said to personify that family’s tradition of strong and independent women to the highest degree.

Hildegard Löfbladh Sällskapet (society) in Ragunda has dramatised some of Hildegard Löfbladh’s texts about the lives of three colourful women in Ragunda, including Valborg Månsdotter Frisk.

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk died in 1806.

Per Olov Qvist
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2020-06-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Valborg Månsdotter Frisk,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Per Olov Qvist), retrieved 2024-06-15.

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Kerstin Esbjörnsdotter
  • Father: Magnus Håkansson Frisk
  • Sister: Margareta Månsdotter
more ...


  • Studieresa, : Olovlig bildningsresa i Tyskland och Belgien


  • Profession: Gästgivare
  • Profession: Textilkonstnär
  • Profession: Fårbonde


  • Birthplace: Ragunda
  • Ragunda
  • Place of death: Ragunda


  • Löfbladh, Hildegard, ’Valborg Månsdotter Frisk : en stormor i Ragundadalen’, Jämten, 1953, s. 57-66

Further References

  • Lindqvist, Staffan, Familjer i Ragunda, Ragunda hembygdsfören., Östersund, 1998