WARSAW COLLECTIONS OF HISTORICAL MILITARIA DURING THE PARTITIONS. PART I. ARMOURIES AND COLLECTIONS (Warszawskie kolekcjonerstwo militariów historycznych okresu zaborow. Cz. I. Zbrojownie i zbiory)
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In the wake of the last partition of Poland (1795) the gathering of militaria, especially Polish ones, in a country deprived of its political independence became the imperative of etery patriotic collector, and constituted a sui generis service performer for the sake of the country, enhancing an awareness of national identity. Warsaw, the capital of the subjugated country, became the site of several noteworthy collections. One of them was the property of Marceli Bacciarelli, the court painter of the last king of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. The second collection belonged to Prince Jozef Poniatowski, and yet another, composed of armoury exhibits, was featured at the Royal Arsenal in Dluga Street. Nonetheless, the only public collection of militaria at the time of the Kingdom of Poland was the armoury belonging to General Jan Henryk Dabrowski, located since 1818 in the building of the Warsaw Society of Lovers of Science. After the defeat of the November Uprising in 1831 all the collections ceased existing. The more important collections of historical militaria shown up to the last war, and created in the first half of the nineteenth century by members of the Warsaw aristocracy, included the collections of the Krasinski, Zamoyski, Potocki and then the Przezdziecki families. The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of private collections of historical arms and armament created in Warsaw by enthusiasts representing the local intelligentsia. These collectors included Justynian Karnicki, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Antoni and Antoni Jan Strzalecki, Gustaw Soubise-Bisier, an antiquary, Wojciech Kolasinski, painter and conservator, and Artur Oppman, poet and man of letters. The Museum of Antiquities, briefly a part of the Main Library in Warsaw, also collected historical arms.
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