Jacob Fortling

Jacob Fortling (23 December 1711 16 July 1761) was a German-Danish sculptor, architect and industrialist, described as one of the most industrious people in the Denmark of his day. He came to Denmark at age 18 and embarked on a successful career, first as a sculptor and later also as an architect. He was also engaged in the production of building materials, owning several quarries in Norway. Just outside Copenhagen, on Amager's east coast, he founded Kastrup Værk, a large industrial facility combining a lime plant, a brickyard and a pottery.

Kastrupgård, his former home, has been turned into an art museum.


Early life and career as a sculptor

Fortling was born on 23 December 1711 in Bayreuthin present day Germany. He trained as a mason and stone carver and came to Denmark to work on the many large Royal building projects under King Christian VI, collaborating with sculptors such as Jacques Saly and Simon Carl Stanley.[1] He executed the Queen's Staircase at Christiansborg Palace.

In 1738 he received Danish citizenship and was in 1740 appointed Stone Carver to the Danish Court. In the 1740s he worked on Christiansborg Palace where his contributions included the Queen's Staircase. He also created the main staircases for Ledreborg Palace and the Holstein Mansion in Copenhagen (1756).[2] At the naval base at Holmen, he created the King's Gate.

Turn to architecture

Fortling collaborated closely with both Lauritz de Thurah and Nicolai Eigtved, the two leading Danish architects of the time, and finally completed his training as an architect. He assimilated Eigtved's refined Rococo style and, after Eigtved's death in 1754, became de Thurah's right-hand man.

In 1756, he was appointed Royal Building Inspector for Copenhagen, Zealand and Falster and, after de Thurah's death, he became Royal Building Master in 1760 but died the following year.

Quarries in Norway

Fortling also engaged in the production of building materials. In search of good quality stone, he made two journeys to Norway which was ruled by the Danish King and supplied many of the minerals used in the building industry in Denmark at that time. In 1744 he acquired royal privileges for two quarries, one at Akershus and one at Lier, extracting marble and from 1849 also talc. In 1759 he also established a quarry at Trondheim.

Activities at Kastrup

In Denmark, Fortling established a limestone quarry on Saltholm, an island in Øresund off the coast of Amager, and opened a lime plant at Kastrup Værk, with its own harbour on an artificial peninsula in 1749. He soon diversified with a brickyard (1752) and a pottery specializing in faience (1755) at the same site.

From 1749 to 1753, he also built Kastrupgåtf in the same area, a large country house and agricultural estate where he took up residence when it was completed. His business enterprises also included a distillery and a brewery.


See also


  1. "Jacob Fortling". Weilbachs Kunstleksikon. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  2. "Jacob Fortling". Gyldendal. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
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