Palace building

Photo M. Pietraszak-Dmowski Photo M. Pietraszak-Dmowski

Raczyńscy Palace in Rogalin, a branch of the National Museum in Poznan, is one of the leading examples of residential architecture in Poland. It has special place in the history of Polish culture due to the artistic value of the building, its advantageous layout and compositional planning and the tradition of cultural and artistic patronage attached to the Raczyńscy family . The achievements of this family include the patronage activities initiated by Kazimierz Raczynski in Poznan in the times of Stanisław August; the Library in Poznan founded by Edward Raczynski and the Chapel of Polish Kings in the cathedral there which was erected as a result of his efforts; his brother, Atanazy’s excellent collection of paintings - today the core collection of the National Museum in Poznan; and Edward Alexander’s Rogalin Gallery. The last of the family, Edward B. Raczynski, the president of the Republic of Poland in Exile, created the Foundation of Raczyńscy at the National Museum in Poznan, unique in the country, to which he donated collection of paintings from the gallery and other works of art from the palace and the rights of ownership of the residence.

The Rogalin residence was built in the years 1770 to 1776 on the initiative of Kazimierz Raczyński as the headquarters of this prosperous nobleman, who held the office of the Writer of the Crown. Its splendour was associated not only with the building in the image of the family, but also the political role he played as Governor-General of Wielkopolska and the Marshal of the Crown.

Both the choice of location and the designer were not accidental. The picturesque location in the Warta valley, surrounded by ancient oaks, allowed for the creation of a headquarters whose artistic value, corresponding to classical assumptions, satisfied the ambitions of its founder. The location of the residence in such close proximity to Poznań enabled the family to continue to participate in public life and social activities.

For the construction of the mansion, designs by an unknown architect from the royal circle were used, which were associated with Warsaw and Dresden. On this basis, a team of builders under the leadership of Antoni Hoene, the greatest architect working at the time in Wielkopolska, erected a stately palace-garden complex stretching along a common axis. At its centre was a palace with a quadrant shaped wings, behind which lies a well-preserved regular garden, and two further large courtyards stand in front of the palace where a coach house, stables, an old woodshed and court blocks were built. The style of the residence is derived from the French baroque tradition which can be seen in the type of entre cour et jardin (between courtyard and garden), although the same garden, both because of its small size and its varied composition, also displays obvious characteristics of the rococo style. With a nod to early classicism, the Rogalin residence binds its picturesque location and attention to scenic relationships, accessible not only from the windows of the palace, but also from the garden, and dominant in the composition is an observation mound called Parnas.

The palace itself also reveals a complex mixture of styles with the building being baroque in its origins as well as including rococo solutions and decorations. The classical nature of the hallway and parade stairs from the project of J.Ch. Kamsetzer and D. Merlini were further enriched by new empire decor in the nineteenth century, thanks to Edward Raczynski. At that time, the ballroom obtained a neo-Gothic costume forming the background for the Armory, which was furnished on his initiative. The decoration is complemented by an historical library from the late nineteenth century, designed for Edward Aleksander Raczynski by the project of Z. Hendel in the former banquet hall on the upper floor of the palace.

Author: Ewa Leszczyńska