What is a mermaid doing at Carlsberg Breweries? She is there because the original world-famous statue of The Little Mermaid was commissioned in 1909 by Carlsberg’s owner Carl Jacobsen. A ballet based on the story of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, and the ballerina portraying the mermaid, fascinated Jacobsen, and he asked the ballerina to model for a statue of the mermaid.
The ballerina declined modeling in the nude for the statue. So instead the sculptor enlisted his wife Eline Eriksen as the model for the sculpture. There is a persistent story that the ballerina Ellen Price modeled for the face of the sculpture, but there are reasons to doubt this. First, there are other sculptures by Eriksen, notably at the tomb of King Christian IX, whose faces look very similar to the face of the little mermaid sculpture, and these all look more like Eline’s face than Ellen’s face. Secondly, Edvard stated clearly to his family that his wife Eline modeled for the entire sculpture.
Carlsberg’s Little Mermaid sits in the center of a small fountain at the end of a little tree-lined walkway, and was placed there in 1937.
You will find more information and photos on this page dedicated to this mermaid.