Jan Klemens Branicki

Count Jan Klemens Branicki of a Gryphon Crest (21 September 1689 - 9 October 1771)

He was a Polish nobleman, magnate and Hetman, Field Crown Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between 1735 and 1752, and Great Crown Hetman between 1752 and 1771. Branicki was one of the most powerful and influential magnates in Poland of the 18th. The owner of 12 cities, 257 villages and 17 palaces including the one in Bialystok.

Around 1726 Branicki started the great rebuilt of the bialystok’s residence - palace and the neighboring buildings. Among the contractors one can find both, well know masters admired in Europe and local craftsmen. With the help of a group of architects the whole building was raised by one storey. Walls were decorated with pillars, risalits and porticos. The delightful decor was created by plasterers and painters the class of Antoni Vogt. Furniture, wall covers and lace curtains, gdansk and Saxon ceramic tiles on fire places, mirrors and clocks, musical instruments and paintings; all aroused nothing but admiration. Canopies sparkling with colors, ostrich feathers excited the imagination. Gold-plated embroidery, alabasters and ivory accessories demonstrated the wealth of Branicki family. The peak of modernity were some sanitary facilities and floor heating. Palace had its closely-guarded secrets, rooms for kings with king’s souvenirs, chapel, treasury, library, vast storerooms, and basements full of exquisite liquors. To count them all there were 178 rooms in the palace.

It is also very difficult to describe the beauty of garden in few sentences. The upper one was constructed in the French style and the lower with the passage of time acquired the English style, and above all flower garden, orangery (with its splendor it could compete with the Drezno’s one) and zoo. You could get lost in the garden paths full of monuments. At the back one could see preying deer and fallow deer. Further from the palace there were pheasants, partridges and trout farms. Thanks to Hetman, waterfalls and pavilions were erected.

The Branicki gathered around them many well known artists, poets and scientists. It is here where a polish baroque poet Elzbieta Druzbacka resided for many years. It is here where Franciszek Karpinski created his poety. Morover, there were many painters among others, Antoni Perliczka, Sylwester Artur Mirys. Theater, courtly orchestra and ballet group had there their activity. On Branicki’s manor you could see August II (the king) who visited him or resided in the manor; King August II with his wife and sons Ksawey and Karol, Kurland prince Karol, bishop Ignacy Krasicki, Stanisław August Poniatowski, the Emperor Jozef II Habsburg, King Ludwik XVIII.

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