Tove and the Sea exhibition at Söderskär Lighthouse presents illustrations never exhibited before

The love and passion for the sea, islands and storms are revealed on Tove Jansson’s books and her early interviews. She wanted to own an island as well as be the keeper of her own lighthouse.

The sea and the archipelago became familiar to Tove already as a child after spending summer months in the Swedish archipelago with her family. From 1919 on the family spent their summers on the Finnish island of Pellinki in the Porvoo archipelago and in the early 1960’s, Tove discovered the island of Klovharu, on the Gulf of Finland. With her life partner Tuulikki Pietilä they built a small cottage on the island where they spent their summers for close to 30 years.

Moominpappa at sea

Tove Jansson’s book from 1965, Moominpappa at sea, describes the adventures of Moominpappa and his family living on an island with a lighthouse abandoned by its keeper. The lighthouse of the story is thought to have been inspired by the Söderskär Lighthouse in the Porvoo Archipelago although the coordinates in the book do not exactly match that island. The coordinates of the book, 60°7’12″N and 25°45’50″E, are located in the middle of the sea, close to Tove’s and Tooti’s own island of Klovharu.

Moominpappa at sea
Tove Jansson, 1965


Tove and the Sea exhibition at Söderskär Lighthouse

The Söderskär Lighthouse was completed in 1862 on Mattlandet island in the Porvoo Archipelago. At Söderskär you are able to enjoy the silence, solidarity and creativity in the middle of the ocean. When arriving at the island you immediately understand why Tove was so passioned about the archipelago.

From June 1st onwards a very special exhibition will be showcased at Söderskär Lighthouse. The exhibition Tove and the Sea, will be showcasing photographs of Tove Jansson’s life in the archipelago, as well as illustrations from the book Moominpappa at sea.

For the first time ever, the exhibition also introduces several amazing illustrations from the logbooks Tove illustrated in her youth. Tove’s adventurous Swedish uncle Harald sailed the seas around the Scandinavian countries until 1944 and often visited the Jansson family in the archipelago. Stories of voyages were documented in logbooks which Tove was asked to make the illustrations. None of the illustrations from the spectacular logbooks have been exhibited anywhere else before and now the selected illustrations are shown in the Tove and the Sea exhibition at the Söderskär Lighthouse.

Söderskär is located in the outer archipelago zone of the Gulf of Finland. It is a nature reserve and the Natura 2000 area. However, the island’s renewed lighthouse, the Tove and the Sea exhibition, the maritime atmosphere and the beautiful nature can be experienced on daily cruises throughout the summer. With an own boat, landing is permitted from September on.

Over 150 years old lighthouse and amazing views of the island impress with the unique atmosphere. The Tove and the Sea with the basic exhibition of the life of the Söderskär’s lighthouse keepers and pilots will give you an unbelievable experience.

Tove Jansson’s niece Sophia Jansson: “Silence combined with the magnificent landscapes in the Finnish archipelago are very unique. At Söderskär it is easy to understand why the islands and sea were the great sources of inspiration for Tove.”


Moominpappa at sea
Tove Jansson, 1965


Read more about the daily cruises and the history of Söderskär here.

Photos: ©Moomin Characters™