Palace complex, currently serving as the Maciej Rataj residential care home, Kock
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Palace complex, currently serving as the Maciej Rataj residential care home

Kock

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An impressive residential complex in a picturesque location, this Palladian palace, located at the edge of the broad valley of the Wieprz river, has virtually no equal today anywhere in the region. The palace was built to replace a 16th-century fortified manor of the Firlej family which had previously stood on this site. Its present form is the result of alteration works commissioned around 1780 by Anna Jabłonowska and based on the design by the renowned architect Szymon Bogumił Zug as well as of the subsequent modifications devised by Henryk Marconi in 1825, with the changes made on both occasions being predominantly Classicist in style. The palace is accompanied by an Arcadian landscape park with remains of earlier fortifications.

History

The Kock manor, initially owned by the bishops of Płock, was allocated by the king Sigismund the Old to Mikołaj Firlej, the great crown hetman, in 1522; it was here that he - or his son Piotr - erected a fortified manor that would serve as their country home. The manor remained in the hands of the family until 1669, when it was acquired by Jan Wielopolski; around 1735, Kazimierz Sapieha purchased the manor in order to donate it to his daughter, Anna Jabłonowska. Over the fifty years during which the land remained in the hands of the duchess, the manor has experienced a period of rapid development, with the Kock residence becoming an important centre for cultural and scholarly life. Sz. B. Zug, an eminent architect of the Enlightenment period, was commissioned to transform the entire urban layout of the nearby town as well as to design the new palace and church complex. The palace complex - which has survived to the present times with only slight alterations - was built in years 1779-1782, with the remains of the old Firlej manor being incorporated into the new structure (the eastern outbuilding and, possibly, the middle section of the palace). Following the death of the duchess in 1800, Kock was taken over by her nephews; later on, it was acquired by the Warsaw banker Jan Meissner, who gave it to his daughter Aleksandra, the wife of baron d’Austett, a Russian diplomat. It was at their request that the palace was modernised in the years 1825-1832 based on the design by H. Marconi; the modernisation works included the removal of the mansard roof and the decorative roof parapets above the avant-corps as well as the transformation of the interiors, the galleries and the bridge leading to the palace. In 1862, the land was inherited by the nephews of the baroness, who sold it to Adam Żółtowski soon afterwards; his descendants, Edward and Józef, remained in possession of the manor right until the times of the agricultural reform. During the second half of the 1970s, the palace complex underwent a comprehensive restoration at the request of its erstwhile tenant - the ZREMB enterprise. Later on, the palace served as the seat of the municipal authorities, a community centre and the memorial hall dedicated to the Battle of Kock; today, the palace remains a residential care home.

Description

The palace complex is located on the Wieprz river escarpment, in a place where its tributaries - Tyśmienica and Czarna - meet. The extensive complex consists of the Palladian residence comprising a palace connected to a pair of outbuilding by means of quarter-circular covered walkways, the entire ensemble surrounding a cour d’honneur preceded by a so-called forecourt where remnants of manorial utility buildings can still be seen. A park and garden complex stretches towards the west. The palace is designed in the Baroque-Classicist style, with the front façade facing the north. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the palace follows a five-part, two-bay layout, with a hall and a drawing room positioned on the middle axis of the building, the grand, spectacular staircase being located left of the hall. The two-storey palace is rather compact in shape, covered with a hip roof clad with sheet metal. It is a brick building, its walls covered with plaster. The front façade follows a thirteen-axial design with three shallow avant-corps - a three-axial one in the middle and a pair of two-axial ones at the edges of the building. The middle avant-corps is preceded by a giant order portico with four Ionic columns supporting a triangular pediment above. Another portico, consisting of four rectangular pillars supporting a terrace, is positioned in the middle of the rear façade. All façades feature subtle, horizontal rustication, with individual storeys being separated from one another by a narrow string course and crowned with a simplified entablature with a dentil frieze. The windows are rectangular in shape, framed by flat window surrounds and topped with cornices. Inside, the palace retains its Classicist décor, which can be admired inside the hall, the grand staircase and a number of other rooms. Quarter-circular pillared galleries (covered walkways) adjoin the side façades of the palace, linking it to a pair of outbuildings; the eastern outbuilding incorporates the surviving walls of the earlier structure - the fortified manor - which had once stood on this site. The outbuildings are two-storey structures built on a rectangular floor plan, with brick plastered walls and covered with mansard roofs. The front façades of the outbuildings follow a thirteen-axis design, each featuring a three-axial pseudo-avant-corps in the middle; the walls of the avant-corps projecting out of the eastern outbuilding are adorned with rustication, whereas those of the one in the western outbuilding are partitioned with pilasters. In addition, the complex also encompasses a number of structures erected at the same time as the palace itself, namely the bridges over the former moat, the retaining wall and the gate as well as the former stable with carriage house designed on a horseshoe floor plan and the living quarters for those working at the manor, the latter two buildings being located by the utility courtyard. The English-style landscape park designed by B. Zug uses natural landscape features to its advantage and incorporates the remains of old fortifications. The garden combines the features of a landscape park (such as the promenade alongside the ponds designed to maintain a natural look of untrodden wilderness) with elements of a formal park, with alleys lined with lime, chestnut and hornbeam trees. An impressive stone terrace resting upon a series of arched supports stretches ahead of the rear façade of the palace, providing a broad view of the distant meadows in the Wieprz river valley; the geometric, formal garden at the foot of the terrace is a modern addition.

The palace is partially accessible to visitors, currently serving as the Maciej Rataj residential care home.

compiled by Bożena Stanek-Lebioda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 06-03-2015.

Bibliography

  • Jaroszewski T. S., Architektura doby Oświecenia w Polsce. Nurty i odmiany, Wrocław 1971, Wrocław 1971, pp. 105, 109.
  • Koziejowski W., Rezydencja księżnej Jabłonowskiej w Kocku, Mierzwiński H., Anna Paulina z Sapiehów Jabłonowska (1728-1800), Kock-Lublin 1997.
  • Kseniak M., Parki i ogrody dworskie w województwie lubelskim, part. II - Od Kijan do Dęblina wzdłuż Wieprza, Lublin 1983, pp. 52-60.
  • Kwiatkowska M. I., Kwiatkowski M., Wesołowski K., Znane i nieznane. Rezydencje, ludzie, wydarzenia, Warsaw 2001, pp. 125-139.
  • Kwiatkowski M., Szymon Bogumił Zug architekt polskiego Oświecenia, Warsaw 1971, pp. 178-183.
  • Majewski J., Historia miasta Kocka, Kock 1928, passim.
  • Mierzwiński Henryk, Dzieje Kocka, Warsaw 1990, passim.
  • Omilanowska M., Polska. Pałace i dwory, Warsaw 2005, pp. 71-73
  • Rolska-Boruch I., „Domy pańskie” na Lubelszczyźnie od późnego gotyku do wczesnego baroku, Lublin 2003, passim.
  • Rolska I., Firlejowie Leopardzi. Studia nad patronatem i fundacjami artystycznymi XVI-XVII wieku, Lublin 2009, passim.
  • Sroczyńska K., Podróże malownicze Zygmunta Vogla, Warsaw 1980, passim.
  • Trzebiński W., Działalność urbanistyczna magnatów i szlachty w Polsce XVIII wieku, Warsaw 1962, pp. 94-100.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1779 - 1782
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kock
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district lubartowski, commune Kock - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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