Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 08. July 2021




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Villa Lorna

Villa Lorna is the only "Swiss" villa in Balestrand, which is built above the main road. However, the fjord is only a short distance away and the view is perhaps at its most spectacular just here. Villa Lorna was built by an engineer, James Livesey. He had travelled the world, building railways. At the age of 74 he settled in Balestrand during the summers.

James Livesey's villa, 'Villa Lorna', seen from the sea.

James Livesey's villa, 'Villa Lorna', seen from the sea.

Owner: I Kunstnarliv.

Date: Ukjend.

Photographer: Arne Melkild.

From school- building site to summer residence

In 1882 the local authorities in Balestrand obtained the deed for lot no 3 under the Sande farm. The regular municipal school was moved from Vellene to Sande. The school at Vellene had shared facilities with the college of education. In 1905 the new school at Sjøtun was finished. Balestrand now sold the property to the English engineer James Livesey.

James Livesey

James Livesey (1831-1924) came from Preston in England. Livesey was educated as an engineer and was particularly known as a builder of railways. In most cases he led larger projects and he left his marks in form of rails in Spain, Argentina, Peru, the USA, India and Egypt. It was not until he became older that he bought the property in Balestrand. He was 74 when he bought the deed. The master builder was A. Korsvoll from Eivindvik, and the house was named "Villa Livesey". In 1928 the villa was converted inside. The tower was not built originally but had been added a few years previously. Mr. Livesey probably started building before he formally received the deed. In 1904 he bought lot no 13 from Per Kristenson Fjærestad for 1062 kroner. It is somewhat unclear what year the villa was built, but 1904 or 1905 seems probable. In 1905 Livesy, as a foreign resident, obtained the right to possess property in Norway.

Anna Lorna Bellew

Livesey had a companion, or housekeeper, from England. Her name was Anna Lorna Bellew. In 1909 she married Hans Andreas Dahl, son of the artist Hans Dahl. In 1919 she got the deed on the property. Anna Lorna had then been a widow for about 6 months. Andreas and Anna Lorna lived in Wimbledon in England, but visited Balestrand in the summers. During WW I they moved to Norway and had a studio in Voksenkollen Sanatorium. During a fire there, Hans became ill and he died in 1919. Hans Andreas was probably not formally educated as an artist. He apprenticed with his father and painted the same subjects as he did. In the 1980s paintings by Hans Andreas Dahl were sold for more than 200 000 kroner.

Walter Normann

Walter Normann had a boat called "Djadjanja" of which Hermund Haugen from Bruhjell was the skipper. In the end of the 1950s the boat was a common sight on the fjord. Hermund appears to have been a patient man but once he became angry and told his boss that he could not treat him as a slave from Sumatra. When Lorna and Walter died, their children inherited the property. Eric Anthony Bellew Dahl and his wife Constanse got the deed in 1950. They lived in London and used the place only during the summers. In 1978 the property was sold by auction.

Local owners

Nils Ese had the beach beneath Villa Lorna filled in and today there is a green lawn down to the sea. In the old days the sea went all the way up to the road and there was a lovely pier from the road out into the water. All the properties in the centre of Balestrand used to have piers and all the houses faced the sea.

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.


Urtegaard, Gunnar: Balestrand. Gards - og ættesoge. Bind II. Balestrand 1991.
Intervju med eldre folk i Balestrand.