In memory of a wedding

Last year, the 250th birthday of Michal Kleofas Oginski was celebrated

Last year, the 250th birthday of Michal Kleofas Oginski — author of the famous Farewell to the Homeland polonaise — was celebrated
Last year, the 250th birthday of Michal Kleofas Oginski — author of the famous Farewell to the Homeland polonaise — was celebrated. The final and most solemn part of the festivities took place in Minsk where a precious goblet belonging to his grandson Bogdan, went on show at the National History Museum.


Oginski’s musical bench in Minsk

The silver cup is actually one of the few original artefacts which once belonged to the famous family and is now kept in our country. It arrived in Belarus from Bogdan Oginski’s home of Rietavas. Lyudmila Tolkacheva — a senior research assistant at the National History Museum — reveals some fascinating historical details related to the cup. “Its ‘Retow’ inscription, the Oginskis’ emblem, the date of April 16 (28) 1877, the engraved ‘In memory of the wedding’ words indicate that the artefact was presented to Bogdan and his wife Gabriela Maria by forestry staff and other workers at their mansion. The cup was unlikely to be used for drinking; it was a decorative part of the Rietavas interior. The palace was situated to the west of Klaipeda and sadly burnt down in 1909. The cup is one of the very few surviving items.”

The museum’s Director — Oleg Ryzhkov — explains how the Rietavas museum was eager to own the cup but the Belarusians were the first to obtain it. Next year, the rarity will go on show in the Lithuanian city. “I’ve visited Rietavas; the city has almost no belongings of the Oginskis. We also suffer similar problems in other places. The Belarusian mansion of the magnates, in Zalesie for example, also lacks any original items. With this in mind, the National History Museum’s acquisition is truly valuable. We’ve bought the cup with the help of our sponsor, from a private collector. This event at the end of the Oginski’s anniversary year is a worthy contribution to the preservation of the memory of the great musician’s family.”

By Viktar Andrejev

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