The old house from Kvitevoll

The old house from Kvitevoll

The Sheriff's house

The "lensmann" (sheriff) was the chief law officer at district/parish level, holding many responsibilities, ranging from supervising the roads to collecting debt, in addition to being chief of police. His income derived mainly from stamp duties and commissions. The sheriff was a prominent member of the community, ranking after the rector (a Civil Service position in Norway). Socially, he belonged to the upper classes, but could not afford to live the lavish life of a magistrate or curate.

This house comes from Kvitevollen in Luster, and was built around 1840 by joining two older buildings. Typical officials house from this period, built in Norwegian Empire style (late Georgian). White clapboard siding and glazed Dutch rooftiles is a hallmark of this style, as is the symmetrical facade and plan. Two parlours, left and right, are joined by a corridor and a kitchen. One parlour is used as a dining-room. Toward the back there are two smaller rooms; a guest bedroom, and the sheriff's office (commoners entered from the kitchen). Upstairs; two small bedrooms and a vast attic. There was originally a jail in the cellar, for holding suspects. Convicts served at the "slavery" (forced labour penetary) at Bergen Castle.

Furnishing from Peder Rusten, sheriff at Leikanger at the turn of the century. Not original to the house. Late Georgian/early Victorian, but arranged according to photographs from 1900 - 1917. The sheriff's brother and sister-in-law, Olav and Frida Rusti, were artists. The paintings are their work, and the subject is the Rusten family. Such formal oil portraits were otherwise not common among "lensmenn".