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Kórnik Library wants to renovate portrait of the White Lady

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, PAP
Kórnik, Zamek: Biała Dama szykowana do konserwacji. Zrobili jej rentgen
Kórnik LibraryThe picture of the White Lady will be renovated

One of Poland's oldest libraries, the Kórnik Library, wants to renovate a portrait of the White Lady from the Kórnik Castle. At the moment, the painting is being examined by experts. It is estimated that its restoration will cost over 100,000 zlotys.

Friday, November 26, marked 231 years since the death of the White Lady from the portrait, a former owner of the Kórnik Castle, Teofilia Szołdrska-Potulicka née Działyńska (1715-1790).

Professor Magdalena Biniaś-Szkopek from the Kórnik Library explains that the White Lady received her name due to the colour of her dress in the famous picture. The canvas by an unknown author, dating back to 1754, has been placed on a dining room wall, next to the portraits of other family members, which were put on display there already in mid-19th century, in the times of Tytus Działoszyński, the founder of the Kórnik Library.

Special birthday session

For her birthday, the White Lady received a special gift - a specialised photo shoot with the use of a portable X-ray camera and ultraviolet radiation.

"We have booked her a professional photo session, which will help us to see what's inside of her," the Kórnik Library said in social media.

All of the above comes ahead of the planned conservation of the painting.

Seven-year struggle for funds

The library has been struggling to receive funds for the restoration since 2014. At the time, the cost was estimated at approx. 80,000 zlotys, but the conservation still has not been done. A full expertise has been ordered to properly assess the condition of the painting.

The expertise is being carried out by scientists from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. In recent days, the aforementioned X-ray and ultraviolet photos were taken, but another round of specialised research has been initially scheduled for February 2022.

"Once we've received the expertise, we will estimate the cost of the renovation according to latest pricing. Initial assessment shows that the price will exceed 100,000 zlotys, while the whole process of portrait's conservation should take around 6 months," said deputy head of the Kórnik Library, Katarzyna Woźniak.

She roams the castle at night

Teofilia Szołdrska-Potulicka née Działyńska was born in 1715, and died on November 26, 1790. Today, due to her depiction stored in the Kórnik Castle, she is associated with one of the best known Polish ghosts. The White Lady is believed to step out of the picture and roam the castle's hallways and alleys of the park surrounding the mansion.

"The White Lady is still very popular. Guides always tell her story to the visitors, especially to countless school trips. During recurring events, such as night sightseeing of the castle, or Kórnik Science Days, one library employee keenly dresses up as the White Lady, talks to the tourists, and plays out certain events from the life of Teofilia," says Prof. Biniaś-Szkopek.

A book about Teofilia Działyńska has been published recently with the help of the librarians from Kórnik. Next year a virtual exhibition devoted to the Kórnik Castle 18th-century moderniser is to launched.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Biblioteka Kórnicka

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