Palace and park complex, Pawłowice
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Palace and park complex

Pawłowice

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The palace and park complex in Pawłowice is one of the first and the most outstanding residential complexes in Greater Poland, designed by the German architect Carl Gothardt Langhans, responsible, inter alia, for the design of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as well as of the Evangelical church in Żeliszów in Lower Silesia. It represents a type of layout that is typical for similar complexes in Sierniki, Rogalin and Śmiełów, centered around a palace with side galleries, positioned between the courtyard and the park. The palace features preserved original interiors with stucco decorations and original fixtures and fittings, designed by Johann Christian Kamsetzer, an eminent architect and interior designer who worked at the royal court during the reign of king Stanisław August Poniatowski. One of the most notable features of the palace is the Column Hall, with outstanding plasterwork decorations reminiscent of the greatest designs that were executed in Warsaw during that period.

History

The palace in Pawłowice was erected in years 1780-1793 for Maksymilian Antoni Mielżyński of the Nowina coat of arms, based on a design by the German architect Carl Gothardt Langhans, replacing an earlier manor house with corner extensions which had once stood on the same spot and which was last subjected to alteration works back in the 1770s. The works on the palace were initially directed by an architect named Ignacy Graff from Rydzyna.

The first stage of construction of the palace took place in years 1780-1787. It was then that the palace itself as well as two outbuildings and the semi-circular galleries were erected. The sculptural decorations of the buildings were executed by the sculptor Vaclav Böhm from Moravia. In years 1783-1785, an extensive park was created around the palace, designed by a landscape architect named Rotemberg and featuring a regular garden terrace located behind the palace.

During the second stage of the construction works which took place in years 1790-1796, the interiors of the palace complex were finally completed. The interior decorations were designed by Johann Christian Kamsetzer, with the plasterwork being executed by a number of artists working under the direction of Giuseppe Amadio, including Giuseppe Borghi, Morganti, Józef Perio, Michał Lepo (?) and Michał Ceptowicz AKA Ceptowski. The marble sculptures and fireplace surrounds are the work of Giovacchino Staggi.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the first alterations of the palace complex took place. It was then that the pediments crowning the side avant-corps of the front façade of the palace, emblazoned with the family coats of arms, were removed. In 1908, the sculpture of Atlas, created by the sculptor Władysław Marcinkowski, was positioned on the roof of the palace, replacing an earlier statue of Hercules, executed back in the late 18th century.

Around 1910, Maksymilian Mielżyński decided to extend the southern gallery, build small houses for the gatekeepers near the main gate as well as a number of other utility buildings. However, in 1916, Maksymilian Mielżyński died without any children to inherit his estate, with the Pawłowice palace passing into the hands of Krzysztof Mielżyński, his nephew. It was at his initiative that in the 1920s a number of modernisation and renovation works were carried out, including the repositioning of the staircase from the vestibule to the north-eastern part of the main body of the palace as well as the adaptation of a part of the cellar to serve as a boiler room for the central heating system. It was also at that point that the northern gallery, which had hitherto been an open structure, was converted into an enclosed walkway; another gallery was also erected to connect the northern outbuilding with the stables and carriage house.

The Pawłowice manor remained in the hands of the Mielżyński family until 1939. In 1941, the palace served as a seminary for German teachers. In years 1941-1944, the collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and books kept at the palace was ransacked, with some items being destroyed in the process. Most of the items, however, presented an exceptional artistic value and were therefore confiscated by the Germans and transported to the Reich.

From 1945 onwards, the palace and park complex and the nearby complex of utility buildings remained in the hands of the Animal Husbandry Institute - the State Research Facility with registered office in Cracow; the facility is currently known as the Pawłowice Research Facility.

Description

The palace and park complex in Pawłowice is located in the middle of the village, on the western side of the road connecting Pawłowice and Leszno. The complex consists of the palace and an extensive, formal park. The palace, preceded by a courtyard, is flanked by two outbuildings accessible by means of galleries or walkways designed on a quarter-circle plan.

The three-storey palace was designed on a rectangular floor plan. The roof features a complex shape, with the central section being shaped as a mansard roof; it is clad with roof tiles, with the upper section of the mansard roof being covered with copper sheets. Both the front façade and the rear façade facing the garden follow a thirteen-axis design, while the side facades feature a five-axis layout. The ground floor and the first floor are visually separated by a string course. The rear façade overlooking the garden as well as the side façades feature decorative rustication on the ground floor level. The north-eastern façade (the front façade) is dominated by three avant-corps - the central pseudo-avant-corps which follows a three-axis design and features a colonnaded portico as well as two side avant-corps, likewise following a three-axis design. The central part of the central avant-corps incorporates the main door leading into the palace, flanked by two windows. The windows are rectangular in shape, although the ones on the first-floor level of the central avant-corps are topped with semicircular arches. The first-floor windows are separated from the mezzanine windows - square-shaped and framed by plaster surrounds - by a row of rectangular panels adorned with stucco reliefs - festoons and figures of Muses, personifications of virtues and vices as well as allegorical scenes depicting farm work.

The vertical divisions of the front façade are emphasised on the first-floor level of both the side avant-corps, which are framed by lesenes, and of the central avant-corps which features two pairs of Ionic columns supporting a section of the crowning cornice and a solid roof parapet topped by four allegorical female statues.

The north-western façade overlooking the garden is dominated by an avant-corps positioned in the centre thereof, built on a floor plan in the shape of a section of a circle. The avant-corps features windows in three different shapes, with the ground floor windows being topped with segmental arches, the first-floor windows - with semicircular arches, while the mezzanine windows are square-shaped. A row of rectangular panels separates the first-floor windows from the mezzanine windows, the latter being framed by decorative surrounds. The lesenes (pilaster strips) on the first-floor level and Ionic pilasters on the central avant-corps accentuate the vertical divisions of the façade.

The divisions which are present on the front and rear façades of the palace are repeated on side façades thereof. The tall, rectangular windows on the first-floor level are surmounted by panels adorned with a series of reliefs - repeating the pattern seen on the front façade - while the square-shaped mezzanine windows above the row of panels feature simple plaster surrounds.

The interior is arranged around a two-bay layout, with one row of rooms facing the front courtyard and the other overlooking the garden. Private quarters - the so-called Count’s Apartment and the Countess’s Apartment - are located on the ground floor, on the southern side of the palace. A rectangular vestibule is located in the middle of the front suite of rooms; the staircase leading to the first floor of the palace - the piano nobile - is a later addition, constructed in the 1920s and positioned north of the vestibule. The largest room on the principal floor of the palace is the Column Hall in the middle section of the suite of rooms which overlooks the garden. Three grand drawing rooms are positioned south of the Column Hall - the Silk Drawing Room, the Chinese Drawing Room and the Green Drawing Room. The library (formerly serving as the dining room), located on the northern side, connects the two suites of rooms.

The interiors feature both original period decorations and a few of the original fittings. All of the ground floor rooms feature the original decorative plasterwork, which is particularly lavish in the Round Drawing Room; the motifs and stylistic features thereof make of possible to suspect that these decorations are the work of Michał Ceptowicz vel Ceptowski. The plasterwork in the Blue Drawing Room is no less impressive.

The most impressive of all rooms in the palace is the Column Hall on the first floor; its interior decorations, designed in the Classicist style, correspond with the architectural divisions of the building’s façade outside. The centrepiece of this interior is undoubtedly the set of twenty four giant order columns with marbleised shafts, supporting the entablature above. The interior, partitioned into two levels by a decorative cornice, features lavish plasterwork which adorns many part of the hall, including the panels above the windows overlooking the garden and the mirrors in the north-eastern wall, the splayed window reveals, the ceiling and the portals leading into the hall.

The Silk Drawing Room features extremely valuable original wall decoration in the form of embroidered silk wallpaper adorned with foliage and grotesques joined together to form bands of candelabrum ornament. The ceiling is adorned with decorative plasterwork and a gilt brass Empire-style chandelier. Other period fixtures include a marble fireplace surround crowned with a relief depicting the mythological figure Leda, created by Giovacchino Staggi, as well as mirrors, swan-shaped corbels and a suite of Louis XVI-style furniture.

The palace is flanked by two arcaded galleries designed on a quarter circle floor plan, both following an eight-axis design. The gallery on the northern side of the palace is a glazed covered walkway, whereas the one on the southern side has been converted so that the arcades were bricked up and pierced only by windows which are significantly smaller than the original openings. The vertical partitions of the rusticated front façades are emphasised by pairs of Ionic pilasters framing the individual arches. The galleries are topped with solid balustrades crowned with a series of stone vases.

The corps de logis of the palace is flanked by two outbuildings, designed on a rectangular floor plan and covered with multi-pitched roofs; the outbuildings are connected with the main building by means of the aforementioned arcaded galleries. The façades of these two-storey outbuildings follow a fifteen-axis design. Their composition echoes that of the front façade of the palace itself (albeit in a simplified form), featuring a central pseudo-avant-corps and side avant-corps projecting beyond the body of the buildings. Decorative window hoods in the form of stucco draperies designed to imitate lion’s skin, with lion heads positioned in the centre, adorn the rectangular windows on the ground-floor level. The façades are crowned by profiled cornices, while the central avant-corps are topped by solid roof parapets surmounted by three allegorical female statues. The interiors of the outbuildings follow a single-bay layout. A hallway runs along the entire length of the front section of each building, facilitating access to the suite of separate rooms in the back.

The small gatekeepers’ houses flanking the entrance gate, designed in the Neoclassical style, were built somewhere around the year 1910. Their façades incorporate medallions depicting the monogram of Maksymilian Mielżyński and the Nowina coat of arms (on the front façades), while the image of the Our Lady of Częstochowa and depictions of sheaves of grain adorn the medallions facing the alley that leads towards the palace.

An extensive park founded back in the 1780s is located behind the palace; the palace originally featured a formal layout which, unfortunately, has since become partially diluted. A horseshoe-shaped parterre is located directly behind the palace. Two hornbeam-lined alleys lead off the parterre; in the original design, these were intended to create a view corridor towards a pair of canals in the distance, although this design is no longer clearly apparent. A large pond with an islet in the middle is located north of the alleys.

The Pawłowice palace is open to visitors all year round, with the exception of the following working days and hours of the Pawłowice Research Facility:

- Monday to Friday: 3 PM - 8 PM;

- Saturdays and Sundays: 9 AM - 8 PM.

The park is open to the public. More information can be found on the website:

http://www.zdpawlowice.pl/index.php?op=str,5,0,0&j=

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 01-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Hinrichs W. Th., Carl Gotthard Langhans ein schlessisher Baumeister 1733-1808, Strassburg 1909.
  • Majątki wielkopolskie, t. IV, Powiat leszczyński, oprac. Magdalena Jarzewicz, Szreniawa 1996, s. 119-124.
  • Ostrowska-Kębłowska Z., Architektura pałacowa drugiej połowy XVIII wieku w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 1969, s. 100-116.
  • Ostrowska-Kębłowska Z., Pałace wielkopolskie z okresu klasycyzmu, Poznań 1970.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1780-1793
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Mielżyńskich 14, Pawłowice
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district leszczyński, commune Krzemieniewo
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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