Palace and park complex, Lewków
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Palace and park complex

Lewków

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The palace and park complex in Lewków is an example of a Classicist residence of a kind popular with the nobility in Greater Poland in the second half of the 18th century. Its architecture is reminiscent of one of the most exceptional designs of the period - the palace in Sierniki, the design of which is attributed to Johann Christian Kamsetzer, a renowned architecture and interior designer who enjoyed great popularity during the reign of king Stanisław August Poniatowski. Notable features of the palace include the stucco decorations of its façade as well as the surviving original interior décor (including the wall paintings attributed to Antoni Smuglewicz or one of his followers).

History

In 1786, the Lewków estate was purchased by general Wojciech Lipski of the Grabie coat of arms. It was at his initiative that the Classicist palace was erected in years 1788-1791, modelled after the most outstanding residence of the period - namely the palace in Sierniki (1786-1788), built for Katarzyna Radolińska by the eminent architect Johann Christian Kamsetzer. The interiors of the palace, completed before the year 1800, featured a lavish decorative plasterwork, with some interiors being additionally adorned with wall paintings attributed to Antoni Smuglewicz.

In years 1792-1795, two identical outbuildings - the east and the west outbuilding - were erected alongside the palace. Along with the construction of the palace complex, works were being performed on the landscape park located on the southern side of the palace, featuring a pond with an islet in the middle, located in the central part of the park. The manor farm complex is located north of the palace. At its centre lies the farm yard positioned on the axis of the palace; originally, the surrounding buildings were positioned both west and east of the yard. A now-defunct vegetable garden used to be located in the western part of the manor farm.

In the first half of the 19th century, the wagon and carriage house as well as stables for workhorses and draft horses were erected in the south-western part of the farmyard, in the immediate vicinity of the palace courtyard; none of this buildings have survived to the present day. In the 1840s, the church of St Adalbert was erected at the south-western edge of the park.

In the second half of the 19th century, intense construction works were being performed in the manor farm, which experienced a period of rapid growth at the time. It was during that period that the now-defunct granary (1851), the administrator’s building (third quarter of the 19th century) were erected in the western section of the manor farm complex. In addition, a children’s shelter (1866), residential buildings for workers (third and fourth quarter of the 19th century) were built on the south-western side of the park, with a distillery being added in the 1880s on the eastern side of the palace courtyard.

Construction and renovation works also extended to the palace itself, with a now-defunct rosarium being added to the western outbuilding towards the end of the 19th century, while renovation works on the palace itself were carried out in 1918.

The palace and the surrounding manor in Lewków remained in the hands of the Lipski family until 1943. In 1945, the palace has suffered extensive damage. It was restored in years 1960-1961, with further renovation works carried out in years 1973-1989 for the purposes of adapting it to serve as the branch of the Kalisz District Museum.

Description

The palace and park complex in Lewków is located in the central part of the village. At the centre of the complex stands a Classicist palace, with its front façade facing the north. The palace is preceded by a formal courtyard flanked by two identical outbuildings in the east and west. On the axis of the palace, north of the palace itself, there is a farmyard with a number of period buildings located to the east and west, originally separated from the palace courtyard by a wall. The expansive landscape park with a surface area of 8 hectares spreads out to the south of palace; notable features of the park are the pond with a surface area of approximately 0.67 hectares as well as an ice house. The parish church of St Adalbert stands in the south-western part of the park, with the tombs of the Biernacki and Lipski families - the latter having provided the funds for the construction of the church - still present in the surrounding cemetery. A gateway situated west of the palace courtyard leads into the complex itself; having passed through the gateway, which takes the form of two separate arched wicket gates with rusticated walls covered by small hip roofs, one may proceed down the broad alley towards the palace itself. Originally, one could also access the palace from the north, down a tree-lined road leading through the farmyard.

The two-storey palace is a brick building with plastered walls, cuboid in shape and designed on a rectangular floor plan. The tall hip roof is clad with roof tiles. The façades are symmetrical in design, with the front and rear façades following a nine-axis design, with a five-axis design used for the side façades. Both the corners of the palace and the basement level feature decorative rustication. All façades of the palace feature lavish stucco decorations on the first floor and mezzanine level; these include the panoplies positioned between the windows of the principal floor (the piano nobile) on the front façade, tondi incorporating decorative busts in foliate surrounds on the façade facing the garden, panels with festoons, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs as well as the string course and the crowning cornice embellished with stylised foliage. A colonnaded portico with two pairs of giant order columns dominates the front façade; it is preceded by a flight of steps and crowned with a triangular pediment with an inscription in the tympanum which says “To Thyself, to Thy Friends and Successors”. Above the pediment there are two sculptures of knights in a half-lying posture. A three-axis, two-storey avant-corps built on a floor plan in the shape of a section of a circle serves as a visual counterpart to the front portico; the avant-corps is covered with a conical sheet-metal roof rising above a parapet wall with a cartouche incorporating the date “1791” - the year when the palace was completed - positioned in the centre. The parapet wall is topped by three sculptures representing female figures. The vertical divisions of the avant-corps façade is emphasised by pilasters topped with stylised Ionic capitals. A small terrace with two curving flights of steps is positioned beneath the avant-corps; originally, a hall which could be accessed from outside the palace was located underneath the terrace.

The interiors follow a two-bay layout in the eastern section and a three-bay layout in the western section, with the vestibule being positioned on the axis of the front row of rooms (with stairs positioned west and east of the vestibule); a drawing room designed on a circular plan takes pride of place in the row of rooms on the garden side of the building. The palace interiors boast impressive, lavish painted and plasterwork decorations.

Two identical, two-storey outbuildings designed on a square floor plan rise west and east of the palace; both of them are brick buildings with plastered facades, their hip roofs clad with roof tiles. The façades of the outbuildings feature decorative rustication at the corners and are divided into sections by a plasterwork string course. The front sections of the roofs incorporate wall dormers with a pair of oculi each, topped with triangular pediments and covered with gable roofs. The interiors of the outbuildings originally followed a two-bay layout with a vestibule on the axis, although they have subsequently undergone alteration works.

A landscape park spreads out behind the palace, on the southern side, its overall shape approximating that of a rectangle. A pond with an islet is located in the middle of the park; originally, a small bridge led from the park to the islet. The alleys in the park follow an irregular pattern. The most notable trees in the park are the ancient pedunculate oaks which hold the status of natural monuments.

The monument is open to visitors. The palace and park complex in Lewków currently serves as a branch of the Kalisz District Museum. More information can be found at http://www.muzeum.kalisz.pl/oddzialy_lewkow.html (last accessed on 16-10-2014)

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 16-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. V: Województwo poznańskie, z. 16: Powiat ostrowski, oprac. Kodurowa Aleksandra, Ruszczyńska Teresa, Sławska Aniela, Warszawa 1958, s. 6-7.
  • Libicki M., Dwory i pałace wiejskie w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 1996, s. 136-137.
  • Małyszko S., Majątki wielkopolskie, t. III: Powiat ostrowski, Szreniawa 1996, s. 103-110.
  • Olejniczak M., Powiat ostrowski. Przewodnik, Ostrów Wielkopolski 2007, s. 80-85.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: l. 1788-1791
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kwiatkowska 6c, Lewków
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district ostrowski, commune Ostrów Wielkopolski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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