Palace and park complex, Września
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Palace and park complex

Września

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The 18th-century Baroque residential complex in Września is an interesting work of urban planning where an old housing estate was skilfully merged with a new composition, consisting of an alley connecting the complex with the town and leading to an entrance gate, a square behind the gate (avant cour), a palace courtyard, and a park. The palace preserved up to this day is undoubtedly younger than the urban composition. It was built in the second half of the 19th century for the famous Poniński family from Greater Poland. It is an example of residential architecture built with the use of historicising forms. During the palace reconstruction at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, Gothic Revival forms were applied.

History

The palace complex is situated in a former manorial village Opieszyn which today is incorporated into the town. Its origins can be traced back to the 13th century and are linked to the oldest history of Września which was being founded at that time. The establishment and development of the village is connected with the location at an old route from Silesia to Pomerania near a crossing through the Wrześnica river. In the southern part of Opieszyn, there was a residence of the then owners of Września and the nearby areas - the prominent Poraj-Różyc family, mentioned for the first time in 1472. In the subsequent centuries, the owners of Września changed often. In the 17th century, when the estate was owned by the Działyński family, a modest curia in Opieszyn was substituted with an impressive manor house. In the 18th century, the estate was taken over by the Poniński family. In the middle of that century, a project to transform the old residence into a palace complex connected with the town by a broad alley, with a view at the parish church tower, was prepared. That project was carried out only partially - only two outbuildings and an orangery, which are known from historical sources, were built. The palace itself was not erected.

The palace in Września was built on the foundations of one of the mentioned outbuildings probably in the first half of the 19th century at the initiative of the then owner of the estate Stanisław Poniński (some authors shift the date of its construction to the second half of the 19th century, attributing the initiative to Stanisław’s son - Edward Poniński). Around the palace, there was a park, originally Baroque with an irregular layout, which was transformed into a landscape park in the second half of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the subsequent century, the building was modernised (the interiors were reconstructed, a one-storey residential wing was added at the southern side, and a porch topped with a balcony was built before the front avant-corps). After the northern outbuilding collapsed in 1916, an open veranda was built instead and segmental-arched windows were substituted by rectangular windows. Since 1923, the palace was a property of Helena née Ponińska and Edward Mycielski. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the building was taken over by the German. The valuable fittings were taken far into the Reich or destroyed in fire. In 1945, the building was donated to the District Male School of Agriculture which used it until the mid-90s of the 20th century as the Agricultural School Group. After the war, the complex lost its original character. Fences and gates were eliminated, the moat was filled (in its place, Opieszyn street was created), in the 60s the stable, carriage house and riding hall, among others, were pulled down. On the park area, a primary school was created, as well as an amphitheatre and a restaurant. The palace itself was not spared devastation due to improper adaptation of the building for the purposes of the school.

In 1996, the palace was recovered by the heir of the last owners of the estate from before the war - Roman Mycielski. Today, the palace remains in private hands.

Description

The palace and park complex in Września is situated on the south-eastern side of the town centre, at the left bank of the river Wrześnica which flows nearby. From the side of the market square, a broad castle alley leads to the estate (today’s Harcerska street). Originally, the alley ended at the fence. Behind the fence, there was a rectangular square (avant cour) surrounded by buildings on three sides. On its south, a moat and a fence with a Baroque gate were located, which separated the square from the palace courtyard and the park.

The palace stands at the edge of the Wrześnica river, while its front façade faces the west. In front of the building, there was once a courtyard with a decorative lawn, and on the other side - a garden. In the direct vicinity, several residential and utility buildings were built. A large park of an area of 19.8 ha stretches to the south and the east of the palace. Although the complex - systematically modernised and developed - has lost its original character, its original Baroque spatial composition is visible up to this day. The main axis of the complex ran along the north-south line. It was set by: the castle alley, a symmetrically built forecourt, a bridge, a gate, a courtyard with a planned (not built) palace, and the park with a symmetrical layout of quarters. In the 19th century, to the west of that axis, a palace was built with a courtyard at the front and became a part of the new view corridor along the east-west line.

The palace has a rectangular floor plan enriched by a three-sided central avant-corps from the east. Its two-storey structure is covered with a tall gable roof. From the east, two two-storey outbuilding adjoined the palace corners. In the process of the building’s expansion, an extended one-storey side wing was added to the palace wall, which was covered with the roof hidden behind the balustrade. Also at that time, a small vestibule was built in front of the front avant-corps. Where the open veranda was situated, a rectangular side wing as tall as the main building was built after the war. Today’s shape of the façade comes from the period of the building’s modernisation at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century. They were then divided by cornice and decorated with rustication imitated in plaster. Rectangular windows are framed by profiled surrounds and - in the upper part - angled profiled battens. In the three-sided central avant-corps from the front, there is a spectacular entrance to the palace with semicircular arches, and above it - three windows. The avant-corps is topped with a pronounced bracketed cornice and a roof parapet with frame-and-panel divisions once decorated with stone panoplies. Over the open vestibule added to the avant-corps, there is a balcony with a brick balustrade supported on an arcade cornice. The southern wing façades were framed by overhanging pilaster strips. They are topped with an arcade cornice and brick balustrade.

The palace is a two-bay building with a drawing room and a wide hall on the axis. A full reconstruction of the original divisions and fittings of the palace interiors is currently impossible. On the basis of numerous photographs from before 1912, the function and the appearance of some of the interiors may be reconstructed only hypothetically. The main entrance to the palace was situated on the eastern side. An open vestibule led to the hall. The staircase and the owner’s study, as well as a drawing-gallery room, billiard room, and a dining room occupying the whole southern part of the eastern suite of rooms could be accessed from the hall. Behind the dining room, there was the owner’s study and her drawing room. On the first floor, the central part of the eastern suite of rooms was occupied by a library. Moreover, studies, bedrooms, and guest rooms were located there. The method of arranging some of the interiors (the dining room, two drawing rooms, the tapestry study, smoking room, library), known from photographs, was not distant from the typical décor of mansions from the period of eclecticism of the second half of the 19th century.

The park, formed through an extension and transformation of the former Baroque garden, has been named after the Children of Września. It is characterised by a picturesque shape of the terrain and a free layout of alleys and paths. The main alley is today called Solidarności Alley. In the southern part, four irregular ponds have been preserved. The park is home to a great variety of trees, including among others oaks, lindens, elms, chestnuts, weeping willows, maples and spruces, as well as a number of shrub varieties. Particular attention should be paid to a plane tree with a girth of 380 cm growing by the main path - it is a natural monument.

The former palace park is currently an urban park open to the public. The palace is a private property. The building may be visited from the outside.

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznań, 17-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jodłowski K., Pałac na Opieszynie we Wrześni, „Kronika Wielkopolski”, 2002, nr 3, s. 85-100.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. VII, z. 29: powiat wrzesiński, Warszawa 1960, s. 20;
  • Skuratowicz J., Architektura rezydencjonalna Wielkiego Księstwa Poznańskiego, Poznań 1974 katalog nr 204 [mpis w bibliotece Instytutu Historii Sztuki UAM];
  • Września, miasto powiatowe (woj. Poznańskie) : rozpoznanie konserwatorskie, oprac. A. Rogalanka, Poznań 1960, s. 15 [mpis w Archiwum Wielkopolskiego Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków];
  • Września - park miejski im. Dzieci Wrzesińskich (b. park pałacowy, oprac. H. Rataj, Poznań 1980 [mpis w Archiwum Wielkopolskiego Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków];

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Opieszyn 1, Września
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district wrzesiński, commune Września - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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