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In 1845, in A Souvenir from Kraków, Józef Mączyński mentioned the existence of two “ancient furnaces” inside the episcopal palace in Kraków. Furnaces built of tiles, decorated with the coat of arms of the bishops — Marcin Szyszkowski (Ostoja) and Piotr Gembicki (Nałęcz) — were already in poor condition in the middle of the 18th century, which had been noted in the inspection of the palace. However, thanks to the large, colourful tiles, those furnaces were certainly very decorative. Unfortunately, in 1850, the furnaces shared the fate of the episcopal palace, which burned down during the great fire of Kraków, and only single tiles and their fragments have survived to this day.

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In 1845, in A Souvenir from Kraków, Józef Mączyński mentioned the existence of two “ancient furnaces” inside the episcopal palace in Kraków. Furnaces built of tiles, decorated with the coat of arms of the bishops — Marcin Szyszkowski (Ostoja) and Piotr Gembicki (Nałęcz) — were already in poor condition in the middle of the 18th century, which had been noted in the inspection of the palace. However, thanks to the large, colourful tiles, those furnaces were certainly very decorative. Unfortunately, in 1850, the furnaces shared the fate of the episcopal palace, which burned down during the great fire of Kraków, and only single tiles and their fragments have survived to this day. Copies of the tiles from both furnaces were presented during exhibitions in Warsaw and Kraków as early as the 1850s. Two tiles with the Nałęcz coat of arms of Bishop Gembicki became part of Zygmunt Gloger’s collection in Jeżew; he donated one of them to Count Emeryk Hutten-Czapski in Stańków. His collection — including the tile — was later found in the collection of the National Museum in Kraków.
Fragments of tiles with the Ostoja coat of arms of Bishop Szyszkowski are a great rarity today; significantly more tiles with the coat of arms of Bishop Gembicki survived. These are extremely decorative, vividly colourful tiles, whose main element is the Nałęcz coat of arms on the ochre shield, placed under the green bishop's hat. This hat is surrounded by the letters: PG EC DS, which stand for Petrus Gembicki Episcopus Cracoviensis Dux Severiae [Piotr Gembicki Bishop of Kraków Duke of Siewierz]. In the museum collections, there are tiles in two colour versions: the background on some is white with navy blue letters, on others, there is a dark blue background with white letters.
Piotr Gembicki (1585–1657), bishop of Kraków from 1642, expanded and furnished the Bishop's Palace in Kraków. Therefore, it is not surprising that, like one of his predecessors, he decided to erect a furnace from tiles decorated with his own coat of arms, which warmed and embellished the palace for years to come, at the same time recalling the founder.

Elaborated by Bożena Kostuch (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Tile with the Nałęcz coat of arms of Bishop Piotr Gembicki

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