Museum of the Tyszkiewicz Brothers in Lahojsk. Part 2

The brothers Konstanty and Eustachy Tyszkiewicz were the founders of the first Belarusian Historical Museum of Antiquities, opened to the public at their family estate in Lahojsk in 1842.

Only fragments of the left wing of the Lahojsk palace are partially preserved until today and we can appreciate its beauty only by several drawings by Napoleon Orda and a few photos. Laid out at the same time as the palace, the park is in much better shape. This park, a part of the architectural ensemble of the former Tyszkiewicz manor, continues to be one of the sights of Lahojsk.

The Lahojsk Museum of Antiquities took up two or three halls of the palace. At the time the significance of the museum was estimated by such famous personalities as Yu. Kraszewski, K. Tiesenhausen, M. Balinsky and others. Adam Kirkor in his time highly praised the exhibition of the museum and one of its founders — K. Tyszkiewicz:

The vicinity of Lahojsk is rich in ancient settlements, castles and plenty of mounds, most of which were investigated in details by the deceased owner of Lahojsk Count Konstanty Tyszkiewicz. Excavated antiquities laid the foundation of a remarkable prehistoric antiquities museum, situated in Lahojsk even now. According to the number of items and scientific value museum can be compared only with the Universities of Vilnius and Krakow.

In 50-s of XIX century an ethnographer P. Shpilevsky visited the Lahojsk estate of Tyszkiewicz. For many researchers, involved in the study of the museum, his description of the museum’s exposition is considered to be the сlassical description of the Lahoisk museum of antiquities:

Today there are up to 3000 volumes of selected works among which there are 500 ancient books, several manuscripts, autographs and official documents. Most of them are in the French and Polish languages. 1140 units of coins and medals, for the most part related to Polish history, are stored here. Lots of rare items in the archive are worth seeing: a church cross of time of the Polish King Sigismund’s I reign, two swords with miniature portraits of Stephen Báthory, the banner taken away from the Swedes by Stefan Chernetsky, the sword of Peter the Great.

Lots of works of arts are remarkable: 200 pictures of Italian painting, partly copies and partly original works of Rome, Florence and Naples, 48 copies of the bas-reliefs of the Greek Pantheon, several medals with breast images and sculpture busts — works of a famous amateur sculptor and landowner from Navahrudak Raphael Slizen, 220 engraved Lithuanian copper plates of theXVII century, comprising an important material for the study of the history of engraving in ancient Lithuania, and finally, a collection of ancient Etruscan vases from those found in Pompeii and Gerkulanome.

In «Notes of Archaeological Commission of Vilna» of 1856, that is at the moment of opening the Vilnius Museum of Antiquities it is said:The following departments of the museum were formed on the basis of antiquities and other teaching materials donated by Count Tyszkiewicz:

1. The library consisting of 3000 books devoted exceptionally to ancient history and bibliography and donated by Tyszkiewicz.

2. The collection of coins and medals, consisted of about 3000 copies.

3. The collection of engravings, duplicated ornaments, maps and atlases, copper engraved plaques, in number exceeding more than 1000 copies; including some very rare prints made by especially famous engravers: Hodovetsky, Plonsky, Sierakowski and many others.

4. The department of sculpture busts, paintings and portraits.

5. The collection of various diplomas, ancient manuscripts, autographs of all reigning monarchs of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, starting from Alexander.

6. Department of memorable objects. By the way some units here are noteworthy: a silver tabernacle of the Middle Ages, Old Slavonic capital fonts of Suprasl printing house, the ring of the first Uniate Metropolitan, an amber image of Sigismund III and many other things. The seals with depictions of the coat of arms of almost all noble families of this region as well as the seals of different cities, enjoyed Magdeburg Rights, are especially remarkable.

7. The archaeological collection, comprising more than 2000 items, among which some pagan idols, lachrymal vases, ashtrays, urns, various metal jewelry of the ancient Slavs and Lithuanians, excavated from burial mounds, stone core of Vilna, Troki and Minsk castles, about 500 local and about 100 Scandinavian stone hammers brought by Count Tyszkiewicz from Sweden for comparison, attack and offensive weapon, and other things like that.

Naturally, all of the items from the recited list of the Lahojsk Museum were transferred to the Vilnius Museum, founded by Eustachy Tyszkiewicz (he also was a museum trustee) and opened to public in 1856. After the suppression of the 1863–1864 Uprising and after the issuance of an order of the Governor-General of the Vilna district M. N. Muravyov to requisition the museum, EustachyTyszkiewicz declined to carry out his trustee’s duties.

A significant part of subjects from Tyszkiewicz collections was distributed among the museums of different countries: the Moscow Rumyantsev Museum, The Museum of Archaeology in Krakow, the National Museum in Warsaw.

Unfortunately, the present-day museum named after the Tyszkiewicz brothers does not have the original exhibits that once belonged to Lahojsk Assembly. Therefore, to obtain information and render assistance in the acquisition of copies of materials of Lahojsk Assembly, led by counts Tyszkiewicz, its staff members established business connections with:

1. The Russian State Historical Archive.

2. The Archives of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

3. The Moscow Rumyantsev Museum (The State Historical Museum).

4. The British Embassy.

5. The National Archives of Lithuania. The National Library of Vilnius University.

6. The National Museum in Warsaw.

7. The National Library.

Museum of the Tyszkiewicz Brothers in Lahojsk. Part 1

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