Smokehouse in Vikøy. Watercolour by Adolph Tidemand, 1843. (photo: J. Lathion, owner: Nasjonalgalleriet (B4487, 25,5x35,5)).
Through Adolph Tidemand’s detailed close-ups of smokehouses in Kvam, the vicarage in Vikøy, where he lived during his painting trips through Hardanger, has obtained a central position in the Norwegian national romanticism.
Vikøy is mentioned as vicarage in the 1300s, but Vikøy is older than this both as church centre and vicarage. Vikøy is one of the few official estates with its old collection of buildings, built like one of the farms in Kvam, without a dominating main building of the type for “state employees” as was common in the 1700s. The dwelling house is in reality three houses joined together, originally with a smokehouse from 1612 in the middle of the group. In the yard there is also a storehouse on stilts from the middle of the 1700s, the so-called Selmerhuset – an older smokehouse fitted out as a rough kitchen, and reconstructed around 1870 – and Borgstova – a smokehouse from 1815. This is the type of house Tidemand used as model for his painting “Haugianerne” (The followers of Hans Nielsen Hauge – a lay preacher).
Tidemand was on a courting trip to the vicar’s sister, Claudia Jæger, in 1843. After their wedding, he visited Vikøy every summer for many years. Today the hamlet is protected.
The multitalented priest in Ullensvang, Nils Hertzberg, often visited Vikøy. This is one of his watercolours: View from the loft window. (photo: Ann Steindal)
Right up until 1839 there was a medieval stave church in Vikøy. Then a new church was built, based on type drawings by architect Linstow, a one-nave long church with a western steeple, based on classical models. This is the church still in existence and which was in use until the new functioning church in Norheimsund was completed in 1989. The interior in Vikøy church has recently been restored. On the wall above the altar is the altarpiece from the stave church, in Renaissance style. An inscription tells us that the altar-piece has been donated to the church by the priest Tolef Olufsen in 1633, parish priest for “Vigør”.
- Vikøy kyrkja: 1838 - 1938: festskrift (1938). Kvam, Soknerådet.