CHOPIN’S POLAND CHOPIN’S POLAND

Warsaw: Kazimierz Palace

Warsaw: Kazimierz Palace Warsaw: Kazimierz Palace

On their removal from the Saxon Palace in March 1817, the Chopin family spent the next ten years in a spacious apartment on the second floor of the left annexe of Casimir Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście street. There the Chopins ran a renowned boarding home for boys, mainly from outside Warsaw, who either learned on site or else attended the Warsaw Lyceum (in the main building of Casimir Palace). From passages in the memoirs of ex-boarders, we can surmise that in the Chopins' modest, but exceptionally well-kept, home there reigned a friendly atmosphere and, in spite of the daily practice in French, Polish customs prevailed. Other teachers and their families lived in the near vicinity, e.g. Samuel Bogumił Linde and Juliusz Henryk Kolberg.

The construction of the palace was completed in 1634. It originally belonged to the wife of King John II Casimir, Maria Ludwika [Marie-Louise] Gonzaga, and served as the royal summer residence. Successive owners were John III Sobieski, his son Konstanty, Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III. In the years 1765-95 the building was home to the Knights' School, founded by King Stanislaus Augustus. From 1815 it housed the Warsaw Lyceum and newly established academic institutions also had their seats there.

The left annexe of Casimir Palace, which the Chopins inhabited, now known as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor's Building, belongs to Warsaw University. It houses, among others, the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Institute of the History of Art.

Set into the gable wall of the Palace's left annexe, at first-floor level, are a bas-relief featuring a likeness of Chopin after a medallion by J. F. A. Bovy and a plaque commemorating the composer's residence, with the following inscription: 'In this building lived Fryderyk Chopin in the years 1817-1827'.


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