Patrician palace, currently serving as the Jan Kasprowicz Museum, Inowrocław
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Patrician palace, currently serving as the Jan Kasprowicz Museum

Inowrocław

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The most intriguing example of 19th-century patrician architecture in the city, standing out among the numerous villas and guest houses positioned alongside Solankowa street, their presence a legacy of the period during which Inowrocław served as a renowned health resort.

History

The building, erected in 1896, was originally conceived as a patrician residence of Bernhard Schwersenz, a Jewish trade counsellor and entrepreneur operating in the construction sector. Its location - Solankowa street - was considered to be the most prestigious location in Inowrocław at the time. The first buildings began to spring up along the street somewhere around the mid-1870s, when the local health resort opened its doors to the public and when the very first of the city’s many spas was erected. It was at that point that the development of the newly established street has commenced, with numerous guest houses and luxurious mansions owned by the city’s elite beginning to emerge. The palace itself was a grand, impressive building, its now-vanished front entrance preceded by a lavishly designed terrace and leading straight into the main hall and the spacious first-floor drawing rooms. The main, representational staircase was located in the north-eastern section of the edifice. The rear wing of the building contained the utility areas and came equipped with a separate set of stairs and hallways. In 1924, the palace was purchased by count Emilian Nałęcz-Skomorowski. During that period, the edifice underwent a redesign, with the entrance being moved to the side façade, while the former front entrance was walled up. This change made it possible for two large rooms to be added on the ground-floor level. Following the completion of alteration works, the building no longer served as a private residence and became a guest house for the patients of the local health resort. During the Nazi occupation, then edifice served as a health facility for German troops. In 1984, the building was purchased by the State Treasury from the heirs to the late count Nałęcz-Skomorowski; the building was subsequently adapted to serve as the main edifice of the Jan Kasprowicz Museum. The very first renovation works began in 1991; in the years that followed, the sgraffito decorations were restored, while some of the original window and door joinery was replaced. In May 2006, a comprehensive restoration of the building began, while in 2010 the cellars beneath the structure were adapted to serve as exhibition space dedicated to the history of the “Solino I” mining facility, located in Inowrocław.

Description

The building is situated in the western part of the city, forming part of the southern frontage of Solankowa street. Standing amidst an expansive parcel of land, the building is separated from the street by a broad green area. Behind the palace itself stands the former carriage house, which currently also serves the needs of the museum. The palace is a two-storey building, designed on a rectangular floor plan and featuring an avant-corps on the north-western side as well as an annex adjoining the north-eastern section of the façade; in addition, the building also features a southern wing, likewise designed on a rectangular floor plan. The north-eastern part of the edifice features an additional attic section. The entire structure is covered with a flat roof. The interiors of the palace follow a two-and-a-half-bay layout. The window openings are rectangular in shape and feature highly decorative, architectural surrounds which grace the front and the side façades, with the rear façade featuring a simplified variation on the same theme. The building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style. The front façades feature a plaster finish and rusticated wall base; the walls are lavishly decorated, featuring profiled cornices, with the moulded crowning cornice supported by a row of sculpted corbels. The north-eastern façade features an annex which incorporates the main entrance. The walls of this façade are graced by decorative blind windows adorned with faux plasterwork window shutters. Higher up the façade, the walls are pierced with windows flanked by pilasters supporting volute-shaped split pediments incorporating decorative cartouches in the middle. The garret section of the façade is accentuated by a rhythmic arrangement of engaged columns, their bulbous shafts adorned with acanthus leaves; the composite capitals of these columns support the decorative corbels and arched lunettes above. The spaces between the columns are occupied by blind windows topped with semi-circular arches and adorned with sgraffito decorations incorporating figurative and foliate motifs. The façade facing the street features an avant-corps with Venetian windows flanked with pilasters, their composite capitals supporting an elaborate entablature above. The second-floor window is flanked by herms supporting an architrave and a triangular tympanum incorporating an ornate cartouche. A lavishly decorated panel incorporating the date “1896” is positioned directly below the window. The garret section of the façade features a row of engaged columns identical to those of the north-eastern façade, flanking the two middle windows and the two side niches adorned with sgraffito ornaments. The remaining windows of the palace feature corbelled window sills and volute-shaped split tympanums with garlanded plinths in the middle, each surmounted by a large cartouche of monumental design. The walls of the garret level are punctuated by œil-de-bœuf windows framed by plasterwork surrounds. The western façade consists of two slightly offset sections, its overall design similar to that of the other façades, with blind windows adorned with faux window shutters as well as simple, rectangular windows framed with plaster surrounds. The rear façades, including the distinct southern wing, feature exposed brick surfaces and are much less lavish in terms of decorative flourishes, which are limited to moulded cornices and oval windows at the garret level. A large, monumental staircases window opening pierces the wall at the second-floor level, incorporating an ornamental stained glass window. Directly above the staircase window there is another, paired arched window accompanied by a recurrent arrangement of lunettes, blind windows and engaged columns. The wall of the side wing features a rectangular doorway leading into the side staircase.

Surviving parts of the original décor include the period wooden main staircase as well as the decorative stained glass window illuminating the staircase landing.

Opening hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays - 9 AM to 4 PM, Wednesdays - 9 AM to 5 PM, Saturdays - 10 AM to 2 PM, Sundays - 10 AM to 1 PM, Mondays and days which follow national holidays - closed. Permanent exhibitions: “The life and work of Jan Kasprowicz”, “Stanisław Przybyszewski - a legend of the Young Poland movement”, “The study of Stanisław Szenic”, “In memory of the artists of Inowrocław” and “The city on salt”.

compiled by Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 26-11-2014 - 8-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • J.Sikorska, “Przyszłe muzeum”, “Gazeta Pomorska”, 29.07.1995.
  • Architectural monument record sheet, January 1996.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1896 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Solankowa 33, Inowrocław
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district inowrocławski, commune Inowrocław (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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