On this day..., Painters

On this day… was born Ulrika Pasch

Ulrika Fredrica Pasch was a Swedish Rococo painter and miniaturist.

Self-portrait, c.1770 – Royal Swedish Academy of Arts
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

She was born in a family of artists; her grandfather was the painter Danckwart Pasch (who emigrated to Sweden from Lübeck in Germany); after the death of her grandfather, the familiar studio was managed by her grandmother, Judith Larsdotter, until it passed to her paternal uncle, the artist Johan Pasch in the year 1734. Her father, Lorens Pasch the Elder, was a painter too. And her brother was the future painter Lorens Pasch the Younger. She also had a cousin, Margareta Stafhell, who was a Calcography artist.

Ulrika Pasch and her brother were tutored in drawing and painting by their father in the familiar studio. In her case, she was tutored only because she displayed early talent for the familiar business, unlike her sister, Hedvig Lovisa Pasch, who never became an artist.

During the years 1752-1766 her father’s career declined since he had failed to adapt to the new rococo style, by this time her brother was abroad studying art. It was a difficult time for the family who faced economic difficulties. After the death of her mother, Ulrika started to work as a housekeeper in the house of her maternal aunt’s widower, Gustaf Stafhell the Elder, who was a goldsmith. Her uncle allowed her to paint in her free time and this gave her the opportunity to develop her artistic talent and it was when she started to paint and draw for money. It’s important to note that it is stated, explicitly, that she started to work as an artist the same year that she started to work as a housekeeper.  Very soon and thanks to her work as a professional portrait painter, she could support not only her father but also her sister. It is known that she was able to build up a clientele by her affordable prices.

Regentlängd Gustav I – Gustav IV Adolf by Ulrika Pasch, c.1780 – Gripsholm Castle
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

She was able to move into her own apartment and to stablish a studio of her own and by the time her brother returned to Sweden, she had already supported the whole family for ten years. From the moment her brother returned to Stockholm, they started to work together in a collaboration that have been described as of mutual respect and harmony.

It is known that Ulrika painted details in her brother’s works, especially in textiles and clothing. She had an active and successful career until her death, being often hired by member of Swedish aristocracy and of the royal court.

Ulrika Pasch never claimed her work to be anything but a way of supporting herself and her family.

She was born on this day in 1735.


  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Arts was founded in 1773 with fifteen members. Pasch was the only female accepted as member at the year of its foundation.
  • Even though her sister never became an artist, she left some drawings, which is said that reveals she had talent.
  • It is said that Hedvig Lovisa Pasch committed suicide after the death of Ulrika in 1796.