Palace and park complex, Zakrzewo
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Palace and park complex

Zakrzewo

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The impressive palace in Zakrzewo was erected in the 1960s for Count Albin Belina Węsierski in the French Renaissance Revival style, inspired among others by 17th-century architectural works by François Mansart. In the interiors, the original decorative plasterwork and sculptures have been preserved, and in some of the rooms - also the woodwork. An extensive landscape park which surrounds the residence was designed and established at the same time by Augustine Denizot.

History

The earliest mentions of Zakrzewo date back to the 15th century when the village was owned by the Zakrzewski family. In the second half of the 16th century, it became the property of the Mieliński family of the Wczele coat of arms, and it remained in their hands until the end of the 16th century when the Zakrzewo estate was bought by the Miaskowski family of the Bończa coat of arms. In 1751, they sold it to Kazimierz Węsierski of the Belina coat of arms. At the end of the 18th century, his grandson Wincenty erected a new manor house in Zakrzewo, and, at the initiative of his son, Albin Ludwik Ballenstaedt, he built the existing palace in the place where the manor house had been situated.

The construction of the new residence commenced in 1867 after the return of Albin Belina Węsierski from Paris where he had probably purchased plans for his future seat. The works proceeded quickly - in 1871, they were already carried out in the interiors. The Zakrzewo palace is clearly inspired by French architecture of the 17th century and the works of one of the most outstanding architects of that period - François Mansart.

Concurrently with the construction of the palace, an outbuilding at its south-eastern side was being built. The works related to the establishment of the park, whose design was entrusted in 1859 to a French gardener Augustine Denizot, were also proceeding. On the area of nearly 15 ha, he created a landscape complex, using for that purpose the natural shape of the terrain, a stream flowing nearby, and two ponds on the southern side.

A few years before, around the mid-19th century, the construction of new buildings of the manor farm complex located on the south-eastern side of the palace and park complex commenced. A cowshed (the end of the first half of the 19th century) and a distillery (1864) were built then.

In 1878, after the death of Albin Węsierski, the Zakrzewo estate was sold to Wojciech Chełmicki of the Jastrzębiec coat of arms. It remained in the hands of that family until the Second World War.

In the late 19th century or in the beginning of the 20th century, a carriage house (rebuilt in the 1990s with a new function) was built on the southern side of the outbuilding. At that time, further extension and reconstruction of the manor farm complex took place. Around a separate yard, an administrator’s building, a granary and, slightly further, a forge were built.

In 1940, the estate was seized by the German. After the end of the Second World War, it was taken over by State Treasury and transformed into a state agricultural holding. During the 1970s and the 1980s, a children camp centre operated in the palace. Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has remained in private hands. During that time, it was also completely restored, renovated, and adapted to new functions. The works also covered the outbuilding and the carriage house.

Description

The palace and park complex in Zakrzewo is located 20 km to the north-west of Gniezno, on the western side of the road leading to Wągrowiec. It consists of a palace whose front façade faces the west, an outbuilding and a carriage house on its south-eastern side, and a park surrounding the buildings. The majority of the park spreads on the western side of the residence, borders the channel of the Mała Wełna river on the northern side, and manor farm buildings on the south.

The palace was built of bricks and plastered in the years 1867-1871 on a rectangular floor plan. The cuboidal body of the palace has five storeys in the false central avant-corps and four storeys in the side wings adjoined with two-storey pavilions on the northern and southern side. In the corps de logis, it is covered with sheet metal mansard roofs, with oval dormers and wall dormers in the avant-corps, providing illumination to the usable attic. The side pavilions were covered with flat roofs where terraces with spindle balustrades are situated, accessible from the upper storey of the palace.

All façades are rusticated and lavishly decorated, particularly in the false central avant-corps and the frames of the window openings. A dominant compositional element of the front and rear façade are the false triaxial central avant-corpses covered with a tall mansard roof with a viewing terrace at the top. Their vertical articulation consists of fluted columns with Ionic capitals, connecting two storeys and supporting the cornice with panoplies’ sculptures situated above it. In the rear façade, their corresponding elements are pilasters on high plinths.

On an impressive ground floor, the main part of the palace’s body has a two-bay interior layout, with two-storey hall in the central part and rooms arranged in an enfilade, and two-and-a-half-bay layout on the upper floors where private and guest rooms are located.

Inside, lavish decorative plasterwork and sculptures have been preserved in an impressive hall (with coats of arms of the owners, busts of ancient gods and heroes, and medallions presenting seasons), as well as in the central drawing room of the suite of rooms overlooking the garden (among others, puttos supporting flower garlands).

The palace is surrounded by a landscape park (area of approx. 15 ha), established in 1859-1867, and preceded by a decorative lawn with an impressive porte-cochère at the front. On its southern side, there is an outbuilding (approx. 1869), and behind it - a carriage house (the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century; rebuilt in the 1990s), built of bricks and plastered, with references to historicising architecture in the form of crenellations topping the roofs and overhanging turrets in their corners. Behind the buildings, on the southern and south-western side, there are two park ponds.

On the southern and south-eastern side of the palace, there are manor farm complex buildings surrounding a rectangular courtyard. The most interesting buildings in architectural terms are the distillery (1864) and the administrator’s building (the turn of the 19th and the 20th century) connected with each other and built of brick and fieldstone in the northern frontage of the yard, on an irregular floor plan. The gable-end façades of the administrator’s building (northern and western one) are crowned with decorative gables reminiscent of Baroque architecture. At the front, where its two wings connect at a right angle, there is a tower with a round base, octagonal on the upper storey, topped with a serrated cornice. The multi-tiered roofs incorporate wall dormers with decoratively framed oval window openings.

Limited access to the historic building. The palace, the outbuilding, and the carriage house currently house a conference centre. More information can be found at its website: zakrzewo.bzwbk.pl (last accessed on 20-11-2014).

Bibliography

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 20-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Libicki M., Libicki P., Dwory i pałace wiejskie w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2003, s. 440-441.
  • Majątki wielkopolskie, t. IX/2, pow. gnieźnieński, red. M. Strzałko, Szreniawa 2013, s. 509-518.
  • Strzałko M., Pałace i dwory w dawnym województwie kaliskim, t. 2, Warszawa 1997, s. 159-176.

General information

  • Type: palace
  • Chronology: 1867-1871
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zakrzewo 15
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district gnieźnieński, commune Kłecko - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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