Palace complex, Łopuszno
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One of the most visually striking examples of late 19th/early 20th century eclectic architecture with historicist influences, designed at the renowned atelier of Władysław Marconi and enjoying the status of a regional landmark.

History

Łopuszno is a village with medieval roots where a church is known to have existed from the 15th century – perhaps even earlier – although nothing is known of any kind of nobleman’s residence right until 17th century, when the settlement was acquired by Stanisław Derszniak, the alderman (starosta) of Radoszyce. It was most likely he who erected a wooden palace in Łopuszno, subsequently acquired by Jan Dobiecki, the cup-bearer (podczaszy) of Radom, who became married to the alderman’s daughter. It is from that period that the surviving Baroque entrance gate is believed to originate. In the 1890s, Eustachy Dobiecki replaced the wooden palace with a new, masonry one, completed somewhere around the year 1897, at least according to the description provided by Michał Rawita-Witanowski, who paid a visit to Łopuszno during that time. The building was reportedly constructed above the cellars of the previous manor house, even though the description provided by the aforementioned author would seem to indicate that the building in question had stood in a different location. The design for the palace was created by Władysław Marconi, one of the most eminent Warsaw architects of his time, responsible for the design of such landmarks as the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw or the Borkowice palace; in addition, Marconi is also known as the co-founder of the Society for the Protection of the Monuments of the Past. Sadly enough, after merely two decades, the palace was lost to the blaze after being targeted by artillery fire during World War I. It was only in 1936 that it was rebuilt by Zbigniew Dobiecki, the last private owner of the manor. During World War II, the palace became the headquarters of the local military police; after the war came to an end, it was handed over to the authorities in charge of education. Today, the manor remains the property of the Kielce district authorities, with the building itself serving as an upper-secondary school complex. Right after the war, conservation and preservation works were carried out in the years 1947-1948. Another series of renovation and conservation works encompassing the roof cladding and façade detailing took place in the years 2009-2012, accompanied by the overall cleanup and maintenance works conducted in the park, where many venerable old trees still grow.

Description

The palace complex is located in the northern part of the village, on the western side of the road leading towards the town of Końskie. It consists of the palace and the surrounding park along with the preserved 18th-century entrance gate; the entire complex lies on the slope of an extensive hill at the top of which rises the local parish church. The palace, erected by Eustachy Dobiecki and subsequently rebuilt in the 1930s, was designed as a two-storey edifice covered with a system of low gable roofs concealing a converted attic illuminated by a series of dormer windows which were added at a later date. It is believed that originally the palace may have featured a low mezzanine level right above its second storey. The palace features a tall semi-basement level; its walls are made of split sandstone, with the absence of plaster finish on the walls allowing the beautiful bond to be admired in its entirety. Only a few sections of the walls are covered with plaster, including, in particular, those adorned with stucco decorations as well as the corners of the avant-corps which are adorned by rusticated lesenes. A three-storey Gothic Revival tower topped with a conical roof adjoins the eastern façade of the palace. The uppermost storey of the tower is separated from the rest of the structure by a sophisticated arcaded stone frieze resting on decorative corbels. The entire edifice was designed on a remarkably complex floor plan, featuring a number of asymmetrical avant-corps positioned projecting from both the main (northern) façade and the southern façade overlooking the garden; the avant-corps on both sides of the palace are arranged so that they do not lie on the same axes of symmetry, thus adding complexity to the already flamboyant design of its asymmetrical main body. The eclectic architecture of the building incorporates features of all the imaginable historical styles, including both Gothic Revival (the tower), Neoclassicism (arcaded portico preceding the main entrance) as well as various Art Nouveau influences (such as the asymmetrically positioned balcony which projects from the southern façade). The windows come in various shapes and sizes – from simple, rectangular ones, framed with plain, plasterwork surrounds, sometimes adorned with window headers in the form of cornices or triangular pediments, to more ornate items topped with semicircular arches and featuring profiled surrounds or stucco keystones taking the form of heraldic escutcheons. The walls of the palace are topped with an entablature incorporating a profiled cornice. The eastern avant-corps of the main façade as well as the western avant-corps of the garden façade are particularly ornate; both of them are topped with gables exhibiting numerous Baroque Revival and Neoclassical influences, adorned with stucco foliate friezes, conch motifs, volutes and stone urns. Inside, the palace features a marble portal on the ground-floor level, flanked by a pair of Doric columns supporting the vaulted ceiling above and featuring a wedge-shaped keystone.

At the eastern edge of the park lies a Baroque gate, its main passage flanked by elliptical walls and featuring vaulted wicket gates on each side. The entire structure is adorned with decorative panels; up front, there is a pair of Tuscan columns above which one can still admire fragmentarily preserved sculptures of semi-reclining knights facing one another. The park surrounding the palace is extensive and well looked-after. A regular, longitudinal depression commonly referred to as the moat and spanned by a stone bridge lies in front of the palace, on the eastern side thereof.

The site is accessible to visitors during the upper-secondary school opening hours.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 08-12-2015

Bibliography

  • Łopuszno, Pałac z bramą wjazdową (Łopuszno, palace with entrance gate), prepared by D. Kalina, R. Mirowski, 2005, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 4, Warsaw 1957.
  • Rawita-Witanowski M., Dawny powiat chęciński, prepared by D. Kalina, Kielce 2001.

General information

  • Type: manor house
  • Chronology: 1897 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Konecka 2, Łopuszno
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district kielecki, commune Łopuszno
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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