New exhibition at Chinese Cabinets – restoring the memory of the collections of Stanisław Kostka Potocki and his descendants
In 2019, a new exhibition commemorating the collector's passions of Stanisław Kostka Potocki and his descendants was opened at the Wilanów Palace.
In the exhibition, we present objects from the Wilanów Far East collection, previously hidden in warehouses. Visitors are able to admire craftsmanship products made of ceramics, glass, as well as lacquers and mixed techniques. An important part of the exhibition is the presentation of a unique table in the nanban style, made in the 17th century in Japanese workshops, which regained its shine thanks to careful conservation, preceded by tests conducted by specialists in the workshop of the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów.
The exhibition is enriched with educational content related to the history and conservation of this unique piece of furniture, presented at a modern multimedia stand. One of the important scientific and educational events connected with the new exhibition was the international seminar “Nanban. Far East. Close Art”. In the seminar, were presented the results of research and conservation work carried out in recent years on a priceless monument and its importance for the Wilanów collection.
The new arrangement for the Chinese Rooms combines the exhibition on the south floor of the southern wing of the palace with the recently opened modern Warehouse Gallery in Markoniówka. The updated exhibition expands and supplements the most important narrative themes in these rooms, which clearly emphasises the interests of the successive owners of Wilanów and their fascination with oriental art.
The interior design by Dr Barbara Kowalewska, prepared on the basis of the conception of Joanna Paprocka Gajek and Karolina Alkemade, refers to the decoration and furnishing of Chinese Cabinets carried out by Stanisław Kostka Potocki on the first floor of the main body of the palace in the first quarter of the 19th century. Archival photographs of these rooms are presented in supplementary material to the exhibition.
The implementation of the project requires numerous conservation works and the implementation and installation of a modern museum display: display cases, showcases and lighting for the safe presentation of valuable collections, as well as a multimedia stand. The implementation of this stage would not be possible without financial support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, thanks to which it was possible to purchase specialised display cabinets, lighting and a multimedia stand in 2019.
The Museum continues the idea of making as many objects as possible available to the public. In 2018, the Storage Gallery was opened to the public. The arrangement of the new exhibition is the next step on the path to presenting historical collections in an attractive way, while at the same time meeting the requirements of modern preventive maintenance and thus simply safe for monuments.
The task “New Exhibition at the Chinese Cabinets – restoring the memory of the collection of St.K. Potocki and his descendants” was financed from the funds of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage from the Fund for the Promotion of Culture.
Thanks to the financial support from the Japanese Sumitomo Foundation and cooperation between the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów with outstanding experts in Asian lacquer, it was possible to take the conservation works of the Nanban style seventeenth-century table in the Wilanów collection. It was one of the first conservation projects involving both Japanese and European specialists. It was part of cooperation started in the 1990s and involving science and conservation, between Japan and world institutions that keep in their collections artworks decorated with Oriental lacquer – unique witnesses of early modern contacts between East and West. Owing to exchange of experience and expertise, a strategy for the preservation of those very fragile Oriental artefacts has been devised.
Nanban, or the “art of the southern barbarians”, denotes sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Japanese works of decorative art, reflecting a discernible …
Visitors to the Wilanów Palace can admire newly renovated Chinese and Hunter’s Rooms. The 19th-c. rooms, located in the right wing of the Palace, underwent conservation and restoration works, as part of a 3-year-long project entitled ‘Restoring the interiors of the Wilanów Palace Museum – the very first museum of fine arts in Poland’.
On October 4–5, 2019, the Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów hosted the International Conference “Nanban. Far East, …