One of the many places to visit being in Poland, is a small town Kórnik, near Poznań [google maps link], where one can find beautiful Neo-gothic mansion of noble family Dzialynski. The castle – as it is called – was build on the base of much older, medieval castle, as a summer residence for the familiy and the place for their collection of art, arms and library.
THE DZIALYNSKI FAMILY
There are few members of this family, that were highly influential on the image of the castle and its history.
The first one worth of mention was Teofila Dzialynska (1714-1790) who ran her landed property in very modern and enlightened way, what led to greater prosperity of her estate. She also founded a garden near the castle and rebuilt slightly the building. She is famous also because of legends that call her “white lady” and tells she still shows up in the castle at midnight to take a ride through the gardens.
But the most important person for the history of Kórnik was Tytus Dzialyński (1796-1861). At the very young age he started to collect old manuscripts and prints thinking already about founding the library to serve the non-existing and partitioned country. He was also lover of history who printed some great historical and source-documents publications and also started to build his antiques collection. In 1830 he joined the Polish uprising against conqueror countries (Prussia, Russia and Austria) but in the face of the accusation and suffering a sequestration of his property, he escaped from Poland to other European countries.
After return to Kórnik in 1842, he managed to gain back his estate and collection. He was the originator of the todays look of the castle, rebuilt in neogothic style. The “new” castle was already designed for the collection as a feature museum, just as the Czartoryski museum in Pulawy (gallery here). The Czartoryski name isn’t accidental here, because his son, Jan Kanty, was married to Izabela Czartoryska, the grand-daughter of the great Izabela, founder of the Czartoryski museum.
Jan Kanty Dzialynski inherited the love to antiques and books after his father. Apart of this he also was interested in old arms, also Oriental ones, and undertook many trips, even to the Far East to collect some interesting objects for his collection.
Just like his father, Jan also was involved in patriotic movements and in 1863 he took part in “January uprising”. The Prussian government has (again) sequestered family collection and sentenced a death penalty upon him. Dzialynski, after few years spent in Paris, was allowed to return to Kórnik in 1869. After return he put a great effort in his library and publishing work, printing (just as his father) many fundamental source-documents on Polish history. Before his death Jan donated his Kórnik estate to Wladyslaw Zamoyski.
Both Tytus and his son were also very interested in taking care of the huge garden. Thanks to Tytus the garden was transformed into kind of botanic garden, where many rare flowers and trees were planted. The garden was designed in the “Romanticism” style with long alleys, small rivers and ponds between them and is a great place of relaxation too.
Todays musem and library keeps very interesting collection of antique furnitures, paintings, arms and also huge collection of manuscripts and old prints in volume of 14000. Todays castle is also a museum of old interiors. The rooms of Dzialynski family has been recreated and because they were not destroyed during the wars, one can still admire the beautiful wooden floor and woodwork on the walls, doors and ceilings.
The collection of arms isn’t huge but interesting. I don’t know if there are some objects in the stores or if a part of the collection is now missing after the wars. Anyway, the most striking part of the exhibition are hussars armours. There are also SE Asian weapons and from Oceania, particulary brought from the trip to Australia, presented in the hunting room.
The light condition for photography is a real pain in Kórnik, so the pictures below might not be of the highest quality. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy them. You are free to use contact form if you have any questions.