The Potocki Library
In 2020 – after the renovation of the northern gallery on the first floor of the Wilanów Palace is completed – restoration of the historical interiors of the former Potocki library will be possible. Until recently, they housed part of a permanent exhibition established in the 1960s by Stanisław Lorentz and Stefan Kozakiewicz, presenting the history of Polish portraiture from the 17th century.
In the room formerly known as the Sobieski Portrait Room, our guests will see a space dedicated to the memory of King Jan III and a collection of small metal sculptures of patriotic significance, which in the 19th century played an important role in maintaining national awareness. State-of-the-art showcases will show miniatures of royal gravestones, made in bronze and zinc castings at the famous Karol Minter factory in Warsaw, purchased through subscription by the Potocki family. There are also busts of outstanding Poles, from the times of the First Republic of Poland to the 19th century, as well as medallions and statuettes. The models were created according to designs by outstanding architects and sculptors working with Minter’s factory, such as Leonard Marconi, Bolesław Paweł Podczaszyński, Daniel Zalewski, Jakub Tatarkiewicz and Wojciech Święcki.
In another section of the gallery, we enter the interiors referring to the decoration of the 19th-century library in Wilanów, enlarged by successive owners of the Potocki family. Thanks to the raising of the ceilings in the gallery, it was possible to reinsert the original library cabinets, which once housed the Wilanów book collection. The library will be the background of a show about the journalistic activity of Stanisław Kostka and Ignacy Potocki and their descendants. A special place should be given to Aleksandra Potocka née Potocka – the founder and initiator of the album about the Wilanów residence, prepared by Hipolit Skimborowicz and Wojciech Gerson (Willanów: album zbiór widoków i pamiątek oraz kopje z obrazów Galeryi Willanowskiej wykonane na drzewie w Drzeworytni Warszawskiej z dodaniem opisów skreślonych przez H. Skimborowicza i W. Gersona [Wilanów: album of views and souvenirs and copies of paintings from the Wilanów Gallery made on wood at the Warsaw Woodcut Studio with the addition of descriptions penned by H. Skimborowicz and W. Gerson], 1877).
The renovated library interior will be decorated with a gallery of family portraits, fragments of August Potocki’s militaria collection and a set of administrative utensils (including seal matrices) and Wilanów archival materials.
text: Joanna Paprocka-Gajek
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