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Christopher de Paus

April 29th, 2018

Christopher Tostrup Paus, Count of Paus (10 September 1862 – 10 September 1943), usually known as Christopher Paus and also known as Christopher de Paus, was a Norwegian land owner, heir to the timber giant Tostrup & Mathiesen, papal chamberlain and count, known as philanthropist, art collector and socialite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He gave large donations to museums in Scandinavia and to the Catholic Church. In the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and the Annuario Pontificio, his name is spelled (conte) Cristoforo de Paus.

Born in Christiania, he belonged to the Skien branch of the Paus family, and was the son of Major and War Commissioner in Molde Johan Altenborg Paus (1833–1894) and Agnes Tostrup (1839–1863). His father was a son of lawyer and judge Henrik Johan Paus (1799–1893) glass water bottle with measurements, who owned the estate Østerhaug in Elverum, while his mother was a daughter of timber magnate Christopher Henrik Holfeldt Tostrup (1804–1881), one of the two main owners of Tostrup & Mathiesen, one of Norway’s largest timber companies. Christopher Paus’s father was also a first cousin of playwright Henrik Ibsen. As a young man, Christopher Paus would visit the then-famous Henrik Ibsen in Rome, where he lived. His great-grandfather Christian Lintrup was one of the pioneers of the medical profession in Norway.

Christopher Paus inherited a fortune from his maternal grandfather and his two childless uncles Oscar and Thorvald Tostrup, who were all co-owners of Tostrup & Mathiesen. His family sold their shares of Tostrup & Mathiesen to their business partners, the Mathiesen family, in the 1890s, and the company was since renamed Mathiesen Eidsvold Værk and continued under that name and as Moelven Industrier. His maternal grandfather had also owned the estate Kjellestad in Stathelle.

A convert from Lutheranism to Roman Catholicism, he was appointed a Privy Chamberlain of the Sword and Cape (Cameriere Segreto di Spada e Cappa) by Pope Benedict XV on 22 February 1921 and re-appointed by Pope Pius XI on 8 February 1922 and by Pope Pius XII on 7 March 1939. By tradition, a Norwegian Catholic would hold this position, and he succeeded Wilhelm Wedel-Jarlsberg who held the post some years earlier. He was conferred the title and rank of Count by Pope Pius XI on 25 May 1923. He bought the estate Narverød near Tønsberg (Norway) in 1892, the estate Trystorp with château in Lekeberg (Sweden) in 1914 meat tenderising, and the estate Herresta outside Mariefred (Sweden) in 1923. In 1942, he bought the mansion Magleås outside Copenhagen in Denmark. He divided his time between his various properties in Scandinavia and Rome.

Christopher Paus was a major art collector, and notably owned the largest collection of Greek and Roman art in Scandinavia, which he largely donated to the National Gallery of Norway in 1918. He also made donations to museums throughout the Nordic countries and in Rome.

He died in Skodsborg in Denmark without children in 1943, and bequeathed much of his estate to select members of the Paus family. In 1938, Herresta was sold to his second cousin Herman Paus pork chop tenderizer, who had married Countess Tatyana Tolstoy, a granddaughter of Leo Tolstoy; their descendants still own Herresta and other Swedish estates. Magleås was inherited by Thorleif Paus, who sold it to the Catholic Church some years later. It was held a mass for him, as a member of the Papal Court, in the Pope’s private chapel on 14 September 1943 with Pope Pius XII in attendance. He is buried at Vår Frelsers gravlund in Oslo, in the same grave as his mother, maternal grandfather and other members of the Tostrup family.

Papal and Catholic honours

Scandinavian orders of knighthood

A list of honours as of 1934 is found in the book Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden.

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