Museum of the Tyszkiewicz Brothers in Lahojsk. Part 1

In 1842, the brothers Konstanty(1806–1868) and Eustachy (1824–1873) Tyszkiewicz opened the first in Belarus historico-archaeological museum in Lahojsk. The brothers Tyszkiewicz were well known archaeologists. In fact, they were the founders of scientific archaeology in Belarus.

They excavated and examined hundreds of ancient mounds, explored and described antiquities of almost the whole north-west hill of Minsk region. The archaeological findings of the Tyszkiewicz brothers were taken as the basis of the Museum of Antiquities (Muzeum Starożytności) in Lahojsk. The museum was located in a two-story palace, built on the high bank of the river Hayna between 1814 and 1819. This beautiful classical-style palace covered an area of 70×20 m (It was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War). There were 1140 medals and coins in the Tyszkiewicz numismatic collection. Among three thousand books, gathered in the library of the museum, there were about 500 ancient monuments of national book printing. Manuscripts, ancient maps and deeds were also stored in the library.

Among the unique art objects, a cross of gold and silver was the most noteworthy thing. In 1514 this cross was granted by the Polish king Sigismund II Augustus to the catholic church of the village Hayna, located 10 km away from Lahojsk. There were also two swords with miniature portraits of Stephen Bathory on sword-hilts, with the signature and motto, the sword of Peter I and Swedish flags in the museum. The Lahojsk Museum was a kind of an arsenal with a large set of different weapons. Chain mails, the uniforms of the times of the Franco-Russian war of 1812 were stored here. The museum also had a rich collection of towels, napkins, which were woven at a linen cotton factory founded by Konstanty Tyszkiewicz.

Portraits of representatives of the 500-year-old (12 generations!) Tyszkiewicz family from Lahojsk took up a significant place in the museum. Almost all of the portraits were life-sized, waist-deep or full-figure paintings (a portrait of Pius, the father of the Tyszkiewicz brothers by Damelya, a portrait of a reviewer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Vincent Tyszkiewicz, a portrait of Bishop Antony Tyszkiewicz).

The Big Hall and the Small Hall of the palace was occupied by the works of masters of Rome, Florence, Naples — 200 exhibits. There were 48 copies of the drawings of the Greek Parthenon, the objects of the excavations of Pompeii and things, obtained by the resident of the Lithuanian city of Birzai and archaeologist (1828–1897) Michał Tyszkiewicz during his excavations in Egypt.

Michał Tyszkiewicz

Michał Tyszkiewicz

Many exhibits from the Lahojsk Museum of Antiquities were taken to Lithuania, Lviv, Warsaw, Krakow. Konstanty Tyszkiewicz handed over much of his collections to the Rumyantsev Museum in Moscow (now the State Historical Museum). There was also the Museum of Antiquities in Vilna. The Museum of the brothers Tyszkiewicz left a significant mark in the development of archeology, ethnography, historiography and art of Belarus.

Since the 30-ies of XIX century the Tyszkiewicz dedicated their lives to studying the ancient history of Belarus. The first joint publication by the Tyszkiewicz brothers was Opisanie powiatu borysowskiego (Description of the Barysau District, 1847) in Polish. In 1858, Konstanty issued the book Pomniki Grawerowanie Krajowego (National Monuments of Engraving) in Polish.

The brothers Konstanty and Eustachy Tyszkiewicz were honorary members of the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Archaeology in London and numerous national and foreign scientific societies.

Museum of the Tyszkiewicz Brothers in Lahojsk. Part 2

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