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Wąsowiczowa of house Tyszkiewicz and her ties to Białystok


Wąsowiczowa of house Tyszkiewicz, primo voto Potocka Anna (1779-1867), diarist. She was a granddaughter of royal brother Kazimierz Poniatowski, her childhood spent in Białystok at her great-aunt, royal sister, Izabela of house Poniatowska Branicka, “lady of Cracow”, widow after Great Crown Hetman Jan Klemens. Thanks to her journals we know how the palace looked like and how was the life of its inhabitants.
She married in 1805 a grandchild of duchess of marshal Aleksander Potocki, so she became daughter in law of Stanisław Kostka Poniatowski and Aleksandra of house Lubomirska. She lived with her husband in Wilanów.
Well read, charming company, intelligent but of her beauty and manners different opinions were stated nowadays. Quite good at drawing, gained most fame with her drawings of gardens in Natolin, Zator and Mokotów. In two last estates she rebuilt residences in romanticism spirit (neo-gothic). She was also the initiator and cofounder of monument of her uncle priest Józef Poniatowski in Warsaw. She owed much to her father in law, a great art and antiquities connoisseur, but had bad relations with her mother in law and husband. In 1817 she divorced Potocki and married Stanisław Dunina Wąsowicz. Anetka’s (as people commonly called her) social status took a blow with that. From 1851 she lived in Paris, where she avoided Lambert Hotel. She left a diary that was published 30 years after her death and caused quite a commotion in both France and Poland. Despite historians being angry for subjective opinions and inaccuracies, she was a great help for scientists researching social life in first half of XIX century and napoleon times. Her review from travel (in 1899) named “Voyage en Italie” was published as well. Anna died in Paris and was buried in Zator.


wasowiczowaExcerpt from diary of Anna of house Tyszkiewicz Potocka Wąsowicz years 1795-1808

“When king left, we came back to Białystok, residence of his beloved sister, called lady of Cracow, widow of duke Branicki, castellan of Cracow, last heir of this great house. He played a vital part in barska confederation as his wealth and birth put him to the front of nobility. In 1764 he was pretending for Polish throne and when his brother in law party turned out stronger he retreated to his estates where he lived like royalty. I saw yet Białystok created with rare magnificence. French upholstery brought at high price were bringing furniture, mirrors, panelling worth of Versailles Palace. The size of salon and halls decorated with marble columns were surpassing all imagination. Countless apartments decorated not less fancy and comfortably were visited by all great people of the country and some greater travellers. Caesar Paul, a great duke at that time was staying there for few days with his wife under the name of Count du Nord while on his journey that got the attention of entire Europe. The layout of gardens and parks, glamor of various greenhouses, beauty and the sheer number of orange trees – everything added up for a truly royal residence. During lady of Cracow’s life two troupes, French and Polish, were held, as well as ballet on his cost, shorten with plays many long winter evenings. Theatre, decorated by Italian artist could hold three to four hundred people. Building this completely separated from palace was near the entrance to zoo. I’ve seen it in quite good condition. This was the life of great nobles of opposition. In my times that was already past, which at my request hundred years old servants would bring. Widow of Count Branicki, simple and modest in her taste but noble and great in deeds spent for charities sums as great as her husband did for entertainment and parties of all sorts. Upholding with honor her status set by birth and wealth, to limit the excess she used it as source to help, which she never denied those in poverty and adversity.