The Ossoliński family palace, Rudka
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The Ossoliński family palace

Rudka

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An example of a grand palace which began its life as a typical, 18th-century manor house with a traditional interior layout. One of the few surviving examples of a magnate’s residence in the Podlasie region which attained its current, Baroque Revival form during the first half of the 20th century.

History

The original, masonry manor house was erected on the site of the current palace by Franciszek Maksymilian Ossoliński in 1718. It was a single-storey building designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, featuring a pair of narrower wings terminating in two round towers on the garden side of the building as well as a two-storey, three-axial avant-corps with rounded corners positioned on the axis of the garden façade; the manor house also featured corner extensions and a colonnaded portico. The interior followed a two-bay layout, with the vestibule and drawing room positioned on the middle axis of the mansion. Its second owner, Franciszek’s son Józef Kanty, later divested himself of the Rudka manor, entrusting it to his cousin, Aleksander. In 1763, the new owner conducted a comprehensive redesign of the manor house, which was now accompanied by a new grange and an ensemble of utility buildings. Following his death, the manor was acquired by Józef Kajetan Ossoliński, the castellan of Podlasie, and then to his son, Wiktor. After Wiktor’s death in 1860, the manor was inherited by his daughter, Wanda Potocka. In years 1913-1914, the existing manor house was thoroughly remodelled once again, this time at the initiative of countess Joanna Janina Potocka. The design for the new palace was prepared by Jan Heurich, a renowned architect from Warsaw. The building was redesigned in the Baroque Revival style, with its corps de logis being extended upwards by a single storey and receiving a new, multi-hipped roof crowned with a belvedere. The towers flanking the building were likewise extended. During the war of 1920, the palace was ransacked by the Bolsheviks, with the Ossoliński family library and collection of paintings suffering the most in the process. The last private owner of the palace was Franciszek Salezy Potocki, who entrusted the management of the manor to his son, Ignacy. In years 1936-1939, the palace underwent alteration works once again. In 1937, four axes on each side of the avant-corps projecting from the corps de logis were torn down, with only the middle section remaining. It was in this reduced form that the palace survived into the early 1960s. In 1963, the renovation works began, the aim thereof being to recreate the pre-1937 appearance of the palace.

Description

The palace complex in Rudka is located in the north-western part of the village, with Brańska street serving as the southern boundary of the site on which it stands. The complex consists of the palace, the outbuilding, the stable and the carriage house, all surrounded by a landscape park. The edifice was designed in the Baroque Revival style. The front façade of the palace faces east. The palace was designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, with a middle avant-corps and a pair of wings adjoining the northern and southern sides of the corps de logis, with both wings featuring cylindrical towers at the corners. The southern wing is linked to the outbuilding by a connecting section. The interior layout is comprised of two bays. The palace consists of a number of distinct sections. The two-storey corps de logis is covered with a multi-hipped roof crowned with a parapet wall adorned with an openwork balustrade. The three-axial middle avant-corps features an entrance positioned inside a small vestibule with rounded corners, topped with a balcony with a decorative balustrade. The entire avant-corps is topped with a triangular pediment incorporating an oval oculus. Above the pediment rises a sculptural ensemble centred around an ornate escutcheon, with further sculptures of putti brandishing smaller escutcheons positioned at the edges of the gable. The outermost axes of the main body take the form of pseudo-avant-corps accentuated with rustication and covered with cupolas with decorative dormers. The side wings are covered with two-tier roofs, their surfaces likewise enlivened by dormers. The cylindrical towers at the corners of the side wings are covered with cupolas crowned with pinnacles. The façades feature a plaster finish, with the wall base being made of stone. Each façade is topped with a profiled crowning cornice. The individual storeys of the corps de logis are separated by a pronounced string course, partitioned with pilasters and accentuated by corner rustication. The windows of the main body are rectangular in shape, while those of the side wings are topped with semicircular arches; all windows are framed with decorative surrounds with window headers.

Accessible all year round.

compiled by Joanna Kotyńska-Stetkiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 30-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Romaniuk Z., Rudka. Dzieje majątku, wsi i parafii, Rudka 2002, s. 31 - 156.
  • Rudka. Pałac. Dokumentacja historyczna, oprac. E. Żyłko, Warszawa 1960, mps PPKZ, archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Białymstoku.
  • Karta ewidencyjna, Pałac, ob. szkoła, opr. B. Tomecka, M. Dolistowska, 1984, w zbiorach Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Białymstoku.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1763 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ossolińskich 1, Rudka
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district bielski, commune Rudka
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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