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Factoids about the Icelanders: Solon Íslandus

Iceland vagabond Sólon ÍslandusThis illustration is by Iceland’s most famous vagabond, Sölvi Helgason, who called himself Sólon Íslandus. If the name sounds familiar it is because there is a restaurant/bar in downtown Reykjavík by that name. Sölvi was born into poverty in 1820 and from the age of six was fostered out to various farms. He started roaming the country around 20 years of age, yet he did not have one of those papers authorizing him to be a vagabond so he was repeatedly arrested and flogged. He was one of those people thought a bit odd, yet he was also entertaining and a talented artist. As “payment” for food and lodging he used to leave behind drawings or paintings that he had done, which today are held in high esteem. The illustration accompanying this post is a self-portrait by Sölvi Helgason, a.k.a. Sólon Íslandus.