The rabbit farm

There are so many treasures on my doorstep, and I take so long to find them! On Wednesday afternoon I travel a few tramstops to Królikarnia Palace. The surrounding walls are thick with vines, new tendrils springing out from a mat of leaves. The gates are imposing, a stylised figure embedded in each side. 

I’m barely inside before I’m lured by the sight of weathered stone statuary and a pillar of blue, white and red mosaic. I wander amongst these fallen unlabelled bits and pieces – female figures, fantastical fish, a ram, groups in a bas-relief frieze.

There are modern pieces too, the first I see, “The kiss”, a counterpoint to the ancient pitted lovers.

I ramble along paths patterned with the first harbingers of autumn and come to a crumbling bridge.

Across the bridge are the sculptures of Xawery Dunikowski: a massive pair of white figures that I take to be a man demanding submission from a woman, but which in fact is called “The soul escaping the body”; and a lineup of busts, including Kosciuszko, with stunningly distinctive faces.

Near the bronzes is a dramatic 20th century bust in Carrara marble of Władysław II Jagiełło, 14th century King of Poland.

In contrast to bronze, marble and stone there is glass. First an installation of panels, damaged when a tree fell in a recent storm, and then an odd little glasshouse with an array of blown glass, bubbles and vases.

By now I’m approaching the palace itself, a grand domed building fronted by a circular path and a lush lawn. A few people have taken deck chairs from the pile and loll and chat and read in the grey afternoon light. A couple of old woman do genteel laps. Around the corner a circle of supercilious cows connected by garlands keep a stern eye on a chained pushbike.

Why the rabbit farm? Królikarnia translates as “the rabbit house.” It’s a lavish Palladian palace in Mokotów so named because it was King Augustus the Strong’s rabbit warren, stocked for hunting. Destroyed in the war, it was meticulously rebuilt in the 1960s. It is now part of the National Museum of Warsaw, housing the largest collection of Polish sculptures from the 15th century on. That’s for another visit.

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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13 Responses to The rabbit farm

  1. Sue says:

    What a fascinating, sculpture-laden place! Love the supercilious cows, and note you have included a pushbike!!


  2. restlessjo says:

    A palace for rabbits! Got to love it 🙂 🙂 How on earth do you find these places, Meg? 🙂 This post reminds me a little of Pommepal’s farewell, in respect of the wonderful sculptures. I love that dancer with her arms folded and a ‘don’t you mess with me’ expression. Happy weekend, darlin!


    • Pommepal’s farewell????? Have I missed something crucial?

      As for how I find these things, tardily! I visited Arkadia parkland way back, and saw the Królikarnia buildings through the fence and thought no more of it till my daughter mentioned a Sunday breakfast market there. She’d mentioned the glass panels and the sculptures, but I’d located them somewhere else.

      I hope your weekend is restful – or wild. Take your pick! But whichever way, take hugs too.


  3. Lucid Gypsy says:

    What an abundance of statuary, and sculpture, wonderful! Not too sure about the glass work but perhaps it looks better in real life. The old statues make me wonder about the mythology of Poland, I’m sure it’s rich. So this is yet another place that is for the people to use, did you have to pay? Beautiful and interesting open spaces are plentiful in Warsaw. Have a lovely weekend honey 🙂


    • The glass work was quite unexpected, outside in a glass room, with not a label in sight. A lot of the fallen statues looked like Italianate stuff. I’m not sure about Polish mythology: I suspect Jagiełło is part of the Polish legend, which is different from mythology – the mermaid’s mythology!

      Didn’t have to pay for the gardens: you just walk in. You pay a bit (2.65£ sterling) to go into the building for the sculpture exhibition.

      I’ve just found a patch of extensive forest (which of course wasn’t lost!) out near Powsin and the Botanical Gardens, but I want to go there with J once he gets over his study and long walks in the late afternoon regime, and once we are back to intermittent twins – which will be a double-edged sword.

      May your weekend be wonderful. As a working woman, you have well and truly earnt it.


  4. Heyjude says:

    Love the first section with all the old bits and pieces in disarray, and how can I resist the cows. Supercilious or not they look enchanting and the bike is just the cherry on top! Carry on exploring Meg, I am with you every step of the way 🙂


  5. Pingback: Heads | 12monthsinwarsaw

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