Henryk Sienkiewicz palace complex; today a museum, Oblęgorek
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Henryk Sienkiewicz palace complex; today a museum

Oblęgorek

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An apt combination of different parts of the structure originating in different historical periods in an eclectic palace, located in the picturesque surroundings of a landscape park. Of key importance is the aura of our outstanding novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz retained in the interiors and chattels.

History

The current shape of the palace goes back to the early 20th century when a series of projects were undertaken of the expansion and redevelopment of the edifice integrated with some pre-existing buildings. The earlier buildings were hunting manors: of the Tarło family (built between 1864 and 1883 - now the east wing) and of the Halik family (erected in 1895 as a west extension - now the central part of the complex). In 1900 the committee organizing the jubilee of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s work purchased the property and gave it as a gift to the writer. In the years 1900-1902, the architect Hugo Kudera built a new palace in Oblęgorek and incorporated the pre-existing buildings (slightly transformed) into the new body. As a result, an eclectic building was created of a residential nature with visible wooden structures and ornaments. At the same time, an English scenic park was designed and developed by Franciszek Szanior in the close vicinity. Sienkiewicz moved into the palace in 1902 and stayed there with his family in the summer season. He left Oblęgorek in August 1914 before WWI after securing the fittings and memorabilia. After the war, the writer’s wife and children returned to the house and made it their permanent home. During WW2, the building was briefly occupied by the Germans who destroyed some of the equipment and structure, yet most items were saved deposited at the local farmers. The land reform of 1945 did not spare Sienkiewicz’s estate in Oblęgorek; the family was relocated to the estate administrator’s house and had the right to retain some land. The palace was taken over by Marie Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (in practice, it was used by the local agricultural cooperative). In 1949 the vandalized building was returned to the Sienkiewicz family, but the novelist’s children - Henryk and Maria - bequeathed the palace to the state for exhibition purposes in 1956. After some necessary repairs, in 1958 Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Museum opened in the palace. Initially, the recovered or purchased fittings and memorabilia were exhibited in a part of the ground floor, but the museum was gradually enlarged to occupy the whole lower level of the building in 1974. In the 1960s and 1970s replaced were the wooden walls and the roof truss and ceiling. Also, the road access to the property significantly improved. In 1976 the museum became a branch of the National Museum in Kielce. At the end of the 20th century, the building was upgraded and renovated several times without altering its body and appearance; also, the surrounding greenery was ordered and maintained. The latest reconstruction project was held at the beginning of the 21st century: the façades went through a major renovation along with the internal building technology. The exhibition area expanded.

Description

The registered complex includes a palace and park; it lies in an undulating terrain, north of the village; it can be reached by a quadruple alley lined with lime trees and closed with a gate (neo-Gothic of the early 20th century); behind the gate, the alley climbs up the hill to the palace. The plan of the park is irregular; it is extended along its north-south axis and occupies the south and west inclination of the hill. This is a scenic landscape, shaped by freely scattered clearings and clusters of trees and shrubs; some of the trees are natural monuments. Located in the central part of the park, the palace is a building on an irregular and fragmented plan with avant-corps, semi-circular tower on the east, a loggia on the south, and terraces facing south and west. It is a one-storey edifice, yet with part of the attic in the form of small floors and with a large basement. The individual parts of the complex are covered with different styles of roofs of various layout and height; the front façade with a driveway and porch is richly decorated. From the south, the wooden elements of the roofs, balconies and porches are exposed. The interior reveals the combination of various structures, and the main body is basically arranged on a two-bay, free plan derived from the architecture of the building. The rooms are filled with exhibits of the writer’s time, such as original furniture, paintings, fabric and small memorabilia. Besides, an impressive collection of documents and photos can be seen related to the writer.

The site is accessible to visitors during the museum opening hours.

Compiled by Włodzimierz Pedrycz, 10.04.2014.

Bibliography

  • Karty ewidencyjne, Zespół pałacyku Henryka Sienkiewicza, Pałacyk ob. Muzeum Henryka Sienkiewicza, Brama wjazdowa, oprac. M. Gorzelak, 1999, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. III: Województwo kieleckie, z. 4: Powiat kielecki, oprac. zbiorowe, Warszawa 1959.
  • Putowska L., Oblęgorek Muzeum Henryka Sienkiewicza, Kielce, 2008.
  • Rębosz. I., Henryk Sienkiewicz i jego Oblęgorek, Warszawa, 1996.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1902 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Oblęgorek
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district kielecki, commune Strawczyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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