Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Wiktoria Skarbek

Wiktoria Skarbek

*1791, †1828

Wiktoria Skarbek was the person to whom, in 1817, the then eight-year-old Fryderyk Chopin dedicated his first printed composition (Polonaise in G minor). She was the daughter of Eugeniusz Skarbek (1761-1842; coat-of-arms Abdank) and Agnieszka Dąmbska (c.1772-1837), and granddaughter of Jan Skarbek of Izbica, Castellan of Inowrocław. Her father, after a brief military career, entered the civil service, working as scribe to the gentry of the voivodeship of Brześć Kujawski. Her mother was the daughter of Stanisław Dąmbski, Voivode of Brześć Kujawski, and Józefa Wessel. Wiktoria was the only known child of Eugeniusz Skarbek and Agnieszka Dąmbska until recently, when it was established that there was another daughter, Izabela, who died at an early age soon after 1810. Both daughters were born during the period 1782-1792. Shortly afterwards, their parents' marriage broke up, and Agnieszka and her two daughters were left with no source of income. At least in the years 1809/1810, they were given refuge by Ludwika Skarbek at Żelazowa Wola (as mentioned in his memoirs by Fryderyk Skarbek), and so were witnesses to the birth of Fryderyk Chopin, which may explain the aforementioned dedication.

Wiktoria married Aleksander Brodzki. He was born c.1784 in Galicia, to Wojciech and Marianna, and was a civil servant with the rank of state counsellor, director-general of the state lands and forests in the Government Commission of Revenue and the Treasury. The Brodzkis lived in Warsaw, on Leszno St. (land registry no. 656). Wiktoria died there on 20 February 1828; her husband died in retirement on 17 April 1836 in Warsaw and was buried two days later in the Powązki cemetery. Wiktoria had one daughter, Agnieszka (‘Jagusia') (b. 21 Jan. 1825). On the death of her mother, followed shortly by that of her father, the child was most probably cared for by her grandmother, Agnieszka Skarbek, but when she died the orphaned child had to be placed under the care of a Family Council, established by notary in 1837 (it included Mikołaj Chopin). ‘Jagusia' received from her grandmother Skarbek the estate of Leszno in the district of Przasnysz and 55,000 zloty in letters of pledge. In 1841 Agnieszka married Stanisław Kisielnicki (coat-of-arms Topór), owner of the estate of Zielona in the province of Płock (Fryderyk Chopin was informed of the wedding by his sister, Ludwika, in a letter sent to Paris: ‘Jagusia Grocka is getting married [...]'). In spite of these friendly relations, there are no known traces of any closer contacts between the Brodzkis and the Chopins.

Piotr Mysłakowski and Andrzej Sikorski (December 2006)

Bibliography:
Piotr Mysłakowski and Andrzej Sikorski, Chopinowie. Krąg rodzinno-towarzyski [The Chopins. Their Family and Social Circle] (Warsaw, 2005).

 


 

Dedicated first editions:

Polonaise in G minor (Polish)

By category: