Brass Candlestick Holders, The Tale.

The furniture is from the 18th century. On the table, Johan Sovelius's candlestick holders. The objects belong to the Raahe Museum's collections.

The Raahe Museum exhibits two old, specially designed candlestick holders. The candlestick holder base has a brass oval baffle attached to two candle holders for raising them. Another pair of candlestick holders are in Sovelius house, the home of a Shipowner.

These are apparently the candlestick holders shaped by a local forger and are probably from the last decade of the 18th century. The story of these candlesticks is a romantic story about the lifelong-love of two young Raahelainens and their loyalty.

The main roles of the love story are a man named Johan Sovelius (1770-1852), a sailor and wealthy businessman and his sweet cousin, daughter of the wealthy merchant Balzar Freitag, Catharina (1769-1840).

Even from a very young age we are told that these young people enjoyed being with each other. Locals were waiting for the big wedding to come.

The wise knew that cousins ​​were not allowed to marry, but with the permission of the king, it would be possible. It was known that permission to marry had been sought.

Both families were influential in Stockholm and believed that permission would be granted.

However, a rejection decision came, but Johan decided on his new applications personally. Johan went to Stockholm, where he was able to present the matter to the king himself, but he still did not give them permission.

Records do not indicate the reason for the rejection. Catharina and Johan swore an eternal loyalty and did not seek any other relationships. They had support from the locals because they were such a great asset to them.

Catharina and Johan made themselves the candlestick holders and they decided to burn candles whenever they needed the other one. Johan lived in the Green Sovelius House and Catharina on the other side of the current Myhrberg Park, at that time on Brahenkatu.

Soon the locals began to see the candlelight in the windows of the houses opposite each other. Most of the time, they burned at the same time and as one pair of candles lit up, the other pair would soon to be lit. The lights of the candles were known to everyone. Strollers curiously followed the continued romance.

When young King Gustav IV Adolf arrived in Finland in 1802 and visiting Raahe, he was accommodated in Johan Sovelius's house. The host was told to spread a blue cloth from the street to his backyard, so that the king did not have to soil his shoes. Although Johan did his best to look after the king and his spouse and everything went to plan, permission was still not forthcoming.

After the Finnish War, information about the situation in Raahe from the new Grand Duchy of Finland was as gentle and understandable. The new marriage permit application was drafted, but the decision in time was still negative.

Life in the small town continued. Johan was focusing on his big business while working as a town's officer. Johan Sovelius became more and more lonely and cold each year. But in the midst of all the rush, the senses were awake. At that time, her windows again lit candles, unguarded windows and rooms with their ships. When candles ignited in the neighborhood, there were no curtains in front of the windows. There, Catharina often sat in the window as a thoughtful glance, sitting between them then reading or doing her sewing.

Decades passed. The cousins ​​continued their lonely lives loyal to each other. The light disappeared permenantly from Catharina's candles in 1840. Even more lonely than ever, Johan continued his life, but did not forget Catharina. At this time, there was a glittering, gray-haired, long-haired man next to Johan's candles sitting next to his desk with a stack of papers. In 1852, on a July morning, Johan was discovered dead on his knees next to his window. Beside him was that brass candlestick holder whose candles were burnt out.

Ps. Another aspect of the story is that Johan's sister Katarina Sovelius (1783-1862) married her cousin Josef Nilsson Sovelius (1777-1827). Catherine and Joseph's fathers were brothers: Matts Johansson Sovelius (1726-1795) and Nils Johansson Sovelius (1737-1802) and their mothers were sisters Brita (1742-1802) and Elisabeth Possenius (1741-1798).

In this union there were opportunities for difficult hereditary diseases. Although the siblings Johan and Catherine had a big age difference, Katarina married in the early years of the 19th century, at the same time when Brother Johan was still given permission too! This tragic Johan still moves around his home, which is now the home of the "Ship owner " and the museum's exhibition space.

A work in Progress

This website is a real-time and living project. These pages are being actively translated into English and you will find many missing texts and possibly even a few mistakes. We have decided to make all the current information available as and when.