Palace and park complex, Antonin
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Palace and park complex

Antonin

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The palace in Antonin was erected during the 1820s for Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł of the Trąba coat of arms, the statthalter (governor) of the Grand Duchy of Posen. It was designed as a hunting lodge. Karl Friedrich Schinkel, an eminent German architect, came up with a very unusual design for the palace: the building was to be based on a Greek cross floor plan, incorporating an octagonal central hall and four wings positioned perpendicularly to the hall. The palace is surrounded by a large landscape park in which the other buildings forming part of the complex, including the so-called “garden house”, are located.

The grand hall of the palace features a unique decorative scheme centred around the massive, fluted pillar in the middle of the hall, adorned with stag heads.

History

The palace in Antonin was built in years 1822-1824 for Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł of the Trąba coat of arms, the statthalter (governor) of the Grand Duchy of Posen. It was located in a forested area of his Przygodzice manor. The designer was an eminent German architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Shortly after the mansion itself was built, the western part of the surrounding forest was converted into a landscape park. During the 1820s and 1830s, further buildings were erected to the north-east and east of the palace due to the fact that what was originally designed as a hunting lodge was now becoming a permanent residence of the Radziwiłł family. The new buildings included: a house in the Swiss style, built for Wilhelm, the son of Duke Antoni, the forester’s house (currently used as the office of the Antonin Forest Inspectorate), a stable and carriage house with coachman’s living quarters, the so-called dairy with a salon (which has not survived) and a residential and utility building known as the garden house. On the other side of the road (currently the national road no. 11), north of the Szperek pond, next to the road leading to Mikstat, a school designed by Johann Heinrich Haeberlin (later converted to a residential property) and the tomb shrine of the Radziwiłł family (currently the filial church of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn) were built.

In 1928, the palace underwent renovation and modernisation works which involved the installation of central heating, plumbing and electric lighting.

The palace and park complex in Antonin remained in the hands of the Radziwiłł family until World War II. After the war, it was nationalised and subsequently transferred to the State Forest Administration. During the 1950s and the 1960s, the palace suffered from dilapidation and neglect; at some point, it was converted into a storage facility. In 1973, it was acquired by the Historical Monuments Conservation Holding in Poznań, which began the renovation of the palace in order to adapt it for use as a House of Creative Work. The restoration was completed in 1977. Today, the palace houses the Frédéric Chopin Music Salon and a museum dedicated to the great composer, as well as a hotel and a restaurant.

Description

The palace complex in Antonin is located on the west (the palace complex) and partially also on the east (the former chapel and school) side of road no. 11 which connects Ostrów Wielkopolski and Ostrzeszów. It is surrounded by woodlands and lies in the vicinity of the Szperek pond, lying south-east of the palace.

The central element of the complex is the palace itself, surrounded by a large park (13.2 hectares) which was created on a site previously occupied by a forest. The other buildings of the complex are located in the park. The Swiss house built for Duke Antoni’s son Wilhelm, livestock buildings, and a barn are located to the north-east. To the south-east, there are a forester’s house (a Swiss-style building currently occupied by the Antonin Forest Inspectorate), a residential and utility building known as the garden house, and a stable and carriage house with coachman’s living quarters. A pond with an islet in its midst is located to the south-east of the palace, at the edge of the park. On the islet, there is a symbolic tomb of Duke Antoni’s two deceased daughters, designed in the Classicist style and modelled after the ancient Roman sarcophagus of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus.

On the other side of road no. 11, near the road leading to Mikstat, there is a former school (currently a residential building) and a Romanesque Revival tomb chapel of the Radziwiłł family (currently the filial church of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn). Around the chapel, there are graves of the Radziwiłł family members whose remains were moved there from the crypt.

The hunting palace, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and built in the years 1822-1824 by Johann Heinrich Haeberlin, features a Greek cross floor plan and consists of a central, octagonal hall and four wings positioned perpendicularly to it. The basement walls are made of brick and bog iron. The walls of the palace itself have a post-and-beam structure with brick infills, concealed beneath a post-and-plank style weatherboard cladding. The four-storey central section is covered with a tented roof with a terrace and a chimney in the form of a turret positioned on its top; the three-storey wings have gable roofs. All roofs are copper-sheeted.

The weatherboarded facades of the palace, resting on a tall, plastered plinth made of brick and bog ore, were painted in an ochre shade and embellished with painted decorations in the form of stylised palmettes on the faux lintels above the windows, the pilasters framing the entrance door, and panels below the crowning cornice. The individual storeys are visually separated by string courses supported by brackets; the crowning cornice provides a finishing touch to the design of the facades, being particularly ornate on the octagonal central section. The front facades of the side wings of the palace are crowned with triangular pediments with oculi positioned in the centres of their tympana. All windows, having various sizes and divisions, are rectangular in shape. The entrances to the palace are located on the south-east, north-east, and north-west sides; they are preceded by broad steps.

The most impressive of all palace interiors is the octagonal hunter’s hall with a central fluted column supporting the ceiling, resembling a massive, Classicist tiled stove. The column, which contains chimney ducts, is adorned with three rows of stag heads. The three-storey hall is encircled by two levels wooden galleries with spindled balustrades, supported by wooden pillars and providing access to the former living quarters in the side wings of the palace.

Another interesting building is the so-called garden house reminiscent of a Swiss chalet, designed by Johann Heinrich Haeberlin, who was a disciple of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The house, built in the 1830s on the east side of the palace, has a complex structure consisting of a number of visually distinct sections. Built on an L-shaped floor plan, it is a brick building with timber-framed upper sections (at the height of the building’s attic). The structure, having a number of annexes and wall dormers, is covered by gable roofs clad with roof tiles. The facades feature exposed brickwork; the sections having a post-and-beam structure are clad with weatherboards.

The former tomb of the Radziwiłł family, built in the Romanesque Revival style to the east of the palace, now serving as the filial church of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, was designed either by Karl Friedrich Schinkel or Johann Heinrich Haeberlin and erected in years 1835-1838. It is a brick building oriented towards the east, having an elongated rectangular floor plan with a semicircular chancel. The entire structure is dominated by a tower in its western section, built on a square floor plan with an octagonal upper storey, reminiscent of Byzantine architecture. Inside the chapel, the nave and the chancel are separated by a stone triumphal arch with figural reliefs adorning the columns; the arch, brought by the Radziwiłł family from Italy, was made either in the 6th or 19th century (according to various researchers, the structure is either an early medieval original or an early modern copy).

Limited access to the site. The palace currently houses a hotel and restaurant, as well as the Frédéric Chopin Music Salon. More information can be found online at www.palacantonin.pl and www.muzeum.kalisz.pl (last accessed on 18-11-2014).

The former tomb chapel of the Radziwiłł family currently serves as the filial church of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn. More information on the parish of the Most Sacred heart of Jesus Christ in Czarnylas is available online at www.parfiaczarnylas.pl (last accessed on 18-11-2014).

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 18-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. 5: Województwo poznańskie, z. 16: Powiat ostrowski, Warszawa 1958, s. 1.
  • Libicki M., Dwory i pałace wiejskie w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 1996, s. 11-12.
  • Małyszko S., Majątki wielkopolskie, t. 3: Powiat ostrowski, Szreniawa 1996, s. 1-8.
  • Olejniczak M., Powiat ostrowski. Przewodnik, Ostrów Wielkopolski 2007, s. 37-42.
  • Ostrów Wielkopolski. Dzieje miasta i regionu, Poznań 1990, s. 525-533.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1822-1824
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pałacowa 1, Antonin
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district ostrowski, commune Przygodzice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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