Rogalin – The Palace Complex with a Garden and a Park , Rogalin
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Rogalin – The Palace Complex with a Garden and a Park

Rogalin

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The palace and garden complex at Rogalin was built in 1770–1776 by Kazimierz Raczyński. Originally, the magnate residence was to be located at Białośliwie by the Noteć River, in the estate owned by the aristocrat’s wife, Teresa Moszczeńska; however, due to the then uncertain political situation in the country, Rogalin was finally chosen. The advantages of this location included, on the one hand, the proximity of Poznań – an important centre of political and economic life in the country – and on the other, the charm of the site situated in a picturesque valley of the Warta River and in the natural remnants of an oak forest. Probably, the designs and plans of the complex built at Rogalin were prepared for Białośliwie. A late-Baroque palace and park complex was created in the type of entre cour et jardin (between courtyard and garden), and it included the main palace corpus, the so-called corps de logis, with two symmetrical outbuildings. Cour d’honneur (an honorary courtyard) located between them served as a parade driveway. It was preceded by two access alleys outlining the so-called avant-cour (forecourt) with a stable and carriage house. On the western side of the palace, a French garden and a park were arranged.

The dominant element of this multi-hectare complex is a two-storey main palace body, located in its centre on the east-west axis. The palace is a monumental baroque building with a 17-axial facade, and a two-bay layout. On the first floor – piano nobile – there are representative rooms, including a large dining room and a large lounge called a ballroom.

Soon after the palace was completed, its modernisation began. The works were carried out in 1782–1784 and continued in 1788–1790. The forms used at that time diverged from the Baroque in favour of the classicistic style. By 1790, galleries connecting the outbuildings with the palace were built and the facade gained new decoration. The layout and decor of some rooms was also changed, the former baroque staircase on the palace axis was liquidated and a new one was made, by adapting two rooms in the front bay for this purpose. The palace modernisation concept of the 1780s was developed by two most famous Warsaw architects of those times, working for the king: Dominik Merlini and Jan Chrystian Kamsetzer.

At the end of the 18th century, Kazimierz Raczyński was succeeded at the Rogalin residence by his cousin, Filip Raczyński, who continued the modernisation work started by his predecessor, carrying out, for example, the alteration of some rooms on the first floor. However, all the work started was discontinued after Filip Raczyński’s wife died in 1790. From the designs prepared by Kamsetzer, only the architectural decoration of the so-called Cupid parlour, with a rich stucco cornice, panelling with panneaux, and overdoors, was realised. During Filip’s reigns at the Rogalin residence, a “wild garden” concept was also developed that probably gave rise to a landscape park.

The discontinued work was resumed after 1810 by Filip’s son and heir, Edward Raczyński, who resigned from the already unfashionable Kamsetzer’s designs in favour of solutions reflecting a new style. The chapel built at that time in the park is a copy of the Roman maison carrée temple from Nimes near Marseilles, and as it combines the features of classicistic style with Romanesque-Gothic elements, is an example of historicism. The Raczyński family’s burial crypt with a rich sculptural decor also represents the historicist trend typical of the 19th century.

The palace rooms were also remodelled in a similar vein. After 1815, the vestibule and staircase decorated with monochrome paintings were replaced with an empire stucco decoration and a balustrade with fasces and a chain with thorns, which in some way corresponded to the decor of the armoury created by Edward, decorated with neo-Gothic stucco, stained glass and antique weapons. The armoury decoration is considered as authored by Edward Raczyński himself, a well-known connoisseur of art works, founder and designer of many objects. He also introduced changes in the palace functioning, reducing the number of servants and giving up the sumptuous lifestyle.

During the times of Roger Raczyński, Edward’s son, the first two paved courtyards were joined and a vast lawn was created, enclosed with alleys planted with chestnuts and limes. This was not a prosperous period for the Rogalin residence, constantly harassed by the Prussian army.

It was not until the end of the 19th century that the estate began to recover its splendour, thanks to Edward Aleksander Raczyński who in 1892–1895 carried out a thorough renovation of the palace after Zygmunt Hendel’s design. At that time, the former grand dining room was transformed into a library with neo-Baroque furnishings and a rich stucco decoration of the ceiling. Hendel was also the author of ceiling stucco decorations in the smoking room and dining room on the ground floor and the designer of some furnaces in the main part of the palace. Edward Aleksander also became recognised as a patron of the arts, which resulted, among others, in a rich set of paintings collected by him. He was also known for his philanthropic activities; he supported some artists, for example, an outstanding painter Jacek Malczewski. In 1910–1914, he built a special pavilion with a roof providing additional daylight inside, intended for a gallery of paintings.

The Rococo garden developed since the 18th century, located to the west and north of the palace, was framed with high earth banks. Originally, the garden opened to the Warta River valley with natural backwaters. In later years, the landscape vicinity of the residence was extended, and over time, a terrace of the present park with age-old monumental oak trees was attached to the garden.

Until 1939, the residence at Rogalin was an ancestral seat of six generations of the Raczyński family who had great merit only for Greater Poland, but also for the entire country. During the occupation, the Germans took over the entire estate, robbing the palace equipment and turning it into the Hitlerjugend school. The ground floor of the rococo garden, turned into an assembly square, was destroyed, while in the landscape park a sports field was created. After the war, in 1948, the Rogalin palace and park complex became a branch of the Greater Poland Museum, soon renamed to the National Museum in Poznań.

The palace and the park at Rogalin, together with the chapel-mausoleum (today: the Church of St Marcelin) and the wooden belfry, are one of the most valuable residential premises in Poland. Preserved almost unchanged, it is an example of palace and sacral architecture with late Baroque, Rococo and Classicism features, with a rococo garden and a landscape park. The palace at Rogalin is one of the most outstanding constructions of the second half of the 18th century in Poland, referring to the Warsaw residential architecture and being an inspiration for many objects of this type in Greater Poland.

The Rogalin residence has outstanding values, not only historical and artistic, but also natural, because here is the largest concentration of monumental oaks in Europe.

In the vicinity of the palace, in a pavilion built especially for this purpose, a unique collection of Polish and foreign paintings from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries is exhibited – gathered and made available to the public by Edward Aleksander Raczyński.

General information

  • Type: residential comlpex
  • Chronology: 1770 - 1776
  • Form of protection: Historical Monument
  • Address: Rogalin
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district poznański, commune Mosina - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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