Palace on the island

The palace on the island in Łazienki gardens began as a menagerie for the Mazovian princes and became the site of a 17th century baroque pavilion, which was in turn refashioned by architects, sculptors, and painters in the second half of the 18th century into the summer residence of the last king of Poland.

At the beginning of WW2 a lot of the treasures of the National Museum were stored in the underground warehouse there to protect them from savage bombardment. The Germans looted the palace, and in 1944 set fire to the interior. They drilled holes for explosives to demolish the whole building, but luckily they ran out of time to complete this barbarism. The restoration was carried out between 1945 and the 1960s under the auspices of the Warsaw Reconstruction Board.

Now the reconstructed palace is the Royal Łazienki Museum. It’s a pleasing size as palaces go. Inside there’s enough white to counter the necessary gold, and the parquet floors are stunning. I love the blue tiles in the bathing room, fireplaces supported by Cerberus and Pan, the painted wall panels, the white ceiling flowers, the marble stairs. And who can resist the glare of a lion doorknocker? And the unexpected sculpture of the Pan family, Mrs Pan and a couple of small Pans, one playing the pan pipes?

Near the dining room displaying the botanical dinner service are two figures, the female one wearing a simple white dress with a pink posy at the neckline; the male one in full paraphernalia, wearing the blue sash of the Order of the Elephant, Denmark’s most distinguished order, dating from the fifteenth century. I’m intrigued by an elephant in Norway: apparently the elephant represents chastity and piety.

I’m not a fan of the portraits of dignitaries. The only portrait that catches my eye is a rare one of a woman who actually looks human. However, I am intrigued by a painting of a room full of portraits – the artist, Gonzales Coques and others; the date, 1667-1706; the subject, the collector and his family in front of the display of his collection. This painting is on loan to the Royal Łazienki Museum from the a royal Cabinet of Painting in The Hague.

I walk through the palace in a leisurely way, delighted with the company of my Australian daughter. I, who usually prefer solitude.

For what caught my eye on a 2013 visit and to assess my photographic development since then, click here 

About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
This entry was posted in architecture, art, photos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Palace on the island

  1. Sue says:

    I love your eye for the smaller details, Meg! Your collages are always full of interest


  2. BeckyB says:

    Love the blue tiles, and what a shame the Order of the Elephant is so exclusive. I’d happily wear that little elephant on a blue sash!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. restlessjo says:

    I’m rubbing my jaw because it’s sore from hitting the floor when I opened this post!!! It’s fabulous, Meg, and I’m stealing it for my Monday walks- no arguments brooked 🙂 🙂 Even on Sundays!
    Seriously, I love it! I never imagined it would be so beautiful inside. That lady with the barque and the exquisite blue tiles! Those ceilings, and the long picture panels- I don’t know the correct word for them? Like stencils? And the cloven hooves! And that first image of the palace, so perfectly reflected! I thought it was your entry for Mirror 🙂 🙂 Hope you’ve had a peaceful Sunday,hon. I’m at a temporary standstill, lost in the splendour of Lazienki.


    • I’m always very glad to have one of my posts appropriated for Monday walks, although there wasn’t much walking involved in this exercise, which is why I wouldn’t have offered it. I don’t know the correct word either. In fact I could compile a dictionary of all the correct words I don’t know! An early walk for me today along the river: it put a smile on my face. Then a bit of cooking and planning. My Australian friend will be here this time tomorrow if Prague turn-around time of an hour proves long enough. Otherwise – eek! I hope your week is pleasant: I’ve hidden a hug at every door you walk through.


  4. Heyjude says:

    How luxurious! And my head is still spinning from looking at all the details your eye and your camera captured. Nice one Meg – hope your friend arrives without hassle and you all have a great time together. Now I am off to the old post to see how good that one is/was.


  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : South Shields to Souter | restlessjo

  6. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Well Pan is rather cute, and even Cerberus is looking benign! Lots of lovely detail treats here Meg, and I wonder if someone went to Portugal and found inspiration in the Azulejos there. 🙂


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