Palace and Park Complex, Dobrzyca
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Palace and Park Complex

Dobrzyca

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The classicist palace in Dobrzyca is one of the three Greater Poland buildings designed by the architect Stanisław Wielkopolski, the others being the palace in Lubostroń and the palace in Śmiełów. The palace features the original wall paintings and decorative plasterwork made by Antoni Smuglewicz, Robert Stankiewicz, and Michał Ceptowicz aka Ceptowski. The building is surrounded by an irregular English-style park bearing Romantic features, containing an outbuilding and two garden pavilions — the Monopteros and the Pantheon — which were also designed by Stanisław Zawadzki.

History

The palace in Dobrzyca, designed by Stanisław Zawadzki, was erected in the years 1795-1799 (the works on the interior were only completed in 1804) on the initiative of August Gorzeński, the contemporary owner of the estate, the royal chamberlain and a deputy to the Great Sejm. The building replaced a medieval fortified manor of the Dobrzycki family, which was the family seat of the first owners of the village of Dobrzyca. Antoni Smuglewicz, Robert Stankiewicz, and Michał Ceptowicz aka Ceptowski made the lavish interior decorations, comprising both decorative plasterwork and wall paintings. An irregular English landscape park was established around the palace. It was designed by Giencz and Lange, most likely with the participation of Stanisław Zawadzki, who designed the structures which can still be seen in the park — an outbuilding, the Monopteros, the Pantheon, and the no-longer-existing: gatehouse, artificial ruins known as the castellum, and stables.

The palace continued to serve as a residence in its original form until 1939, its successive owners being the Turno family (1816-1835), baron von Kottwitz and the Bandelow family (1836-1890), and the Czarnecki family of the Prus III coat of arms (1890-1939). World War II marked the beginning of a period of gradual decline of both the palace and its surroundings, lasting to the late 1980s. During the war, the palace served as living quarters for relocated Germans and a grain storage facility. After the war, the palace had numerous owners, both private individuals and public institutions. It housed e.g. the State School of Agriculture, a community cultural centre and a local library, a school, and offices. During the period in question, the palace only underwent essential maintenance works, although some of the wall paintings were renovated in the years 1952-1958. In the 1960s and the 1970s, the castellum by the pond in the north-eastern part of the park and the stables and the carriage house located in the northern part of the park were dismantled.

In 1988, the palace and park complex in Dobrzyca was handed over to the National Museum in Poznań to become its branch (the Museum of the Freemasonry). The branch operated until 1995, when the palace once again became the property of the local government as the “Palace and Park Complex in Dobrzyca” Museum. Its current name is the Museum of the Polish Nobility in Dobrzyca - Palace and Park Complex; the palace is managed by the Marshal Office of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship. Following the decision to adapt the palace and park complex in Dobrzyca as the Museum of the Freemasonry (a branch of the National Museum in Poznań), restoration and conservation works were commenced. When they were completed in 2006, the original appearance and the former glory of the palace had been restored.

Description

The palace and park complex in Dobrzyca is located in the south-eastern part of the town, on the south side of the market square. It comprises a park having an area of approx. 9.5 hectares and a palace situated in its northern part. On the south side of the palace, there is an outbuilding and the Pantheon — one of the two surviving park pavilions. On the east and west sides of the road leading to the palace, there are four park ponds, the largest of which is located in the immediate vicinity of the palace, surrounding it on the west and north sides. An artificial islet was made in the pond and the Monopteros was built on it.

The palace in Dobrzyca is a result of the modification of a residence of the Dobrzycki family, built in the 2nd half of the 17th century. Built on an L-shaped floor plan, it owes its current, classicist appearance to Stanisław Zawadzki, who redesigned the building in the years 1795-1799. The palace is a two-storeyed building with basements. The walls are made of brick and covered with plaster. Each of the two rectangular parts of the palace is topped with a gable roof with a hip end, covered with galvanised steel sheets; the two roof ridges intersect at a right angle. The walls, having two rows of windows, feature horizontal plaster decoration at the ground floor level and quoins at the corners of the building. The two floor levels are divided by a string course, above which there are rectangular panels decorated with festoons; their arrangement corresponds to the window arrangement. Above the panels, there is a continuous window sill. The façades are crowned with an entablature with a triglyph and metope frieze and a projecting, stepped cornice adorned with dentils. All window openings are rectangular; the ground floor windows are adorned with voussoirs and the first floor windows are embellished with plasterwork window surrounds. The front (south-east) facade of the building, bending at a right angle, has five axes; in the centre, there is a portico featuring two pairs of giant order columns and crowned with a triangular pediment whose tympanum incorporates the Drogosław and Nałęcz coats of arms, framed by a decorative acanthus motif and topped with a five-tined crown. A rectangular door opening leads into the palace; above the entrance, there is a round-arched French window. The west façade has seven axes, the north façade has six axes, and the east and south façades have three axes.

The interior has a two-bay enfilade layout corresponding to the shape of the building, i.e. bending at a right angle. The narrower, inner suite of rooms contains private chambers and two staircases — a side staircase and an elegant staircase located in the southern part of the west wing, leading from the ground-floor vestibule to the ballroom on the first floor. The wider, outer suite of rooms contains both refined rooms intended for the eyes of guests and residential rooms.

All rooms inside the palace are embellished with paintings and decorative plasterwork. The walls are decorated with landscape paintings and rich ornamentation. One of the most impressive paintings can be found on the south wall of the so-called “landscape room” on the ground floor, in the northern suite of rooms. It depicts a fantasy landscape and was probably painted by Antoni Smuglewicz. The middle room in the western suite of rooms on the first floor, referred to as the “stucco room”, features ornamental stucco decorations of the walls, with medallion, panoply, festoon, acanthus, cornucopia, and griffin motifs in an antithetic arrangement. They are attributed to Michał Ceptowicz aka Ceptowski, who also created the plasterwork decorations in the Pawłowice and Lubostroń palaces.

Some of the original buildings of the complex, designed by Stanisław Zawadzki and built in the park in the early 19th century, have survived to this day. In the immediate vicinity of the palace, on its south side, there is an outbuilding — a brick structure with plastered walls, built on a rectangular floor plan and covered with a Cracow-style säteri roof, currently housing the administrative and office facilities of the museum. The Pantheon — a brick structure built on a circular plan, topped with a brick dome covered with galvanised steel sheets — is situated in a straight line from the palace, near the southern boundary of the park. The entrance is preceded by a colonnaded portico built on a rectangular plan. Three pairs of columns support an entablature with a triglyph and metope frieze crowned with a triangular pediment covered with a gable roof. The building originally served as a meeting place for Freemasons — the founder of the palace, Augustyn Gorzeński, was one of them. The Monopteros, a smaller building, also made of brick and having a circular floor plan, is situated on an artificial islet in the middle of the pond located west of the palace. Its eight Tuscan columns, supporting an entablature adorned with a triglyph and metope frieze topped with a protruding, profiled cornice, rest on a tall plinth covered with plaster with decorative horizontal and vertical lines. The structure is covered with a dome on a timber frame covered with boards and galvanised steel sheets.

The English landscape park features a variety of tree species, including oaks, plane trees, beeches, lindens, chestnut trees, and hornbeams; more than thirty plants growing in the park have the status of natural monuments. The most important of them are the maple-leaved plane dating back to the mid-18th century, which grows next to the entrance to the palace and park complex, and the field maple from the late 17th century, located opposite the outbuilding.

The palace and park complex currently houses the Museum of the Polish Nobility in Dobrzyca. Visitors can explore the interior of the palace, including a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of the nobility of Greater Poland and temporary exhibitions. The park and the interior of the Pantheon, where small-scale meetings and exhibitions are held, can also be visited. The Monopteros is accessible by a small bridge connecting the small islet with the park. The most recent addition to the complex is an orangery housing a café, built in 2011.

Detailed information, the opening hours, and the admission prices are available on the website: www.dobrzyca-muzeum.pl.

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 01-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Andrzejewska E, Witkowski J., Salon ze Sztukateriami Pałacu w Dobrzycy, „Quart” 2006, nr 1 (1), s. 3-17.
  • Karalus M., Zespół pałacowo-parkowy w Dobrzycy, „Kronika Wielkopolski” 1999, nr 2 (90), s. 69-81.
  • Karalus M., Dzieje rezydencji w Dobrzycy [pow. pleszewski], „Kronika Wielkopolski” 2001, nr 4 (100), s. 193-196.
  • Kąsinowska R., Dobrzyca. Fortalicja - Pałac - Muzeum, Dobrzyca 2007.
  • Małyszko S., Gajda Ł., Majątki wielkopolskie, t. 2: Powiat pleszewski, Szreniawa 1994, s. 49-54.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1795-1804
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pleszewska 5a, Dobrzyca
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district pleszewski, commune Dobrzyca - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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