Composers / Fryderyk Chopin / Places catalog

Fryderyk Skarbek’s apartment

Fryderyk Florian Skarbek opens his Pamiętniki [Memoirs] thus: ‘I was born in the final decade of the eighteenth century, and I am still alive in the second half of the nineteenth. Several decades of change and extraordinary events have passed before me, leaving a huge store of events and recollections in my mind. Now that I am in the twilight of my years, these would be well worth preserving for those who come after me’. Skarbek was an outstanding economist, a Warsaw University professor, a senior civil servant and a talented writer. What concerns us most in the context of the Chopin family, however, is that he was tutored by Mikołaj Chopin at Żelazowa Wola in 1802–1805 and was the godfather of Fryderyk Chopin.

Fryderyk Skarbek, like the rest of his family, played a major role in the life of the Chopins and their children, and he remained on familiar terms with them the longest. He might have held little Fryderyk at his baptism, just after his birth at Żelazowa Wola (this very fact could imply that the future great composer was born on a date other than the one commonly accepted, as Skarbek was staying at Paris on a scholarship in 1810 and could only have assisted at the baptism if it had been performed in 1809).

Count Skarbek was close to his childhood teacher, Mikołaj Chopin, and modelled the main character of his novel Pamiętniki Seglasa [Seglas’s memoirs], set in contemporary Warsaw as seen through the eyes of a tutor from France, on him. He was a grateful pupil, who described Mikołaj Chopin in his memoirs by stressing his upright nature and even-tempered disposition: ‘respecting Polish people and being thankful for the land and its people, among whom he found a hospitable reception and an adequate means of making a living, he repaid them honestly out of an obligation of gratitude by conscientiously educating their offspring to become useful citizens’.

Skarbek led a highly productive scholarly, and especially public and political, life. The decisions he made and the measures he undertook frequently exposed him to controversy. Eventually, however, he earned the recognition and gratitude of his contemporaries. This appears to be summarised in an obituary written by Kazimierz Wójcicki, an expert on Warsaw: ‘Count Fryderyk Skarbek passed away on the 25th of this month aged 75 […]. Count Skarbek will not only be mourned by his family: the loss of such a person leaves society bereft. […]

‘He was the first to elevate the priesthood of learning above vanity. He combined an ancient and dignified name with the rank of Warsaw University professor and writer, and did not conceal his contempt for mitred idlers.

‘Count Skarbek revered the beautiful memories of the past and preserved them in his writings. He felt deeply obligated to make his personal contributions worthy of standing alongside those of his august forebears and to be able to place his hand on his heart and say: “I hoed the field I was allotted; I worked as best I could and knew how”.

‘The infirmities of old age did not bend his body, wrinkle his face or bedim his eyes. […] He rejoiced in every acquisition that was useful to our community. He worked for as long as he had breath in his body. Only death could snatch the pen he wielded in aid of serious learning, literature and domestic politics from his hand.

‘With the passing of Count Skarbek, we lose the last member of the Warsaw Society for the Friends of Learning’.

The townhouse at the rear of the seat of the Warsaw Society for the Friends of Learning on ul. Nowy Świat, where Fryderyk Skarbek lived in 1826–1829 (if not longer), no longer exists.

Place Category
Antoni Brzezina’s bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Antonin Manors / Palaces / Castles
Apartment of Dominik Magnuszewski Flats
Apartment of Stefan Witwicki Flats
Apartment of the family of Alfons Brandt Flats
Augsburg Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity Churches / Places of worship
Belvedere Appearances
Bielany, Camaldolese monastery Churches / Places of worship
Blue Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘Botanika’ Other
Brochów Churches / Places of worship
Brühl Palace Appearances
Buchholtz’s instrument store Other
Casimir Palace Flats
Chopin Monument in Łazienki Park Other
Czapski (Krasiński) Palace Appearances, Manors / Palaces / Castles
Dal Trozzo bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Duszniki Zdrój Hotels / Inns
Dziewanowski home Flats
Engraving studio of Fr Izydor Józef Cybulski and Antoni Płachecki Education
Franciszek Klukowski bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Fryderyk Chopin Museum Other
Fryderyk Skarbek’s apartment Flats
Gdańsk Hotels / Inns
Gładkowskis' apartment Flats
Golub Other
Holy Cross Church Churches / Places of worship
Home of Jan Matuszyński Flats
‘Honoratka’ Coffeehouses
Jabłonowski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Jan Böhm’s townhouse Flats
Kalisz Other
Kikół Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kolbergs' apartment Flats
Kowalewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Kozłowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Krakow Other
Ludwik Dmuszewski’s house Flats
Magnus's bookshop Publishers / Bookshops
Marceli Celiński’s apartment Flats
Maurycy Mochnacki’s home Flats
Miss Kicka's Salon in Lubomirski Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
National Theatre Appearances
Obory Churches / Places of worship
Obrowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Ojców Other
‘Old’ Merchants' Hall Appearances
Patisserie Lourse Coffeehouses
Pieskowa Skała Other
Płock Other
‘Pod Kopciuszkiem’ and ‘Dziurka’ Coffeehouses
Poturzyn Manors / Palaces / Castles
Powązki Cemeteries
Poznań Other
Presbytery of St Jadwiga (Hedwig) parish church in Milanówek Other
Pruszak Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Residence of Józef Reinschmidt’s parents Flats
Rościszewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Sanniki Manors / Palaces / Castles
Saxon Palace Flats
Saxon Post Office Other
Skating rink Other
Sochaczew Other
Sokołowo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Staszic Palace Manors / Palaces / Castles
Strzyżew Manors / Palaces / Castles
Szafarnia Manors / Palaces / Castles
Toruń Other
Turzno Manors / Palaces / Castles
‘U Brzezińskiej’ Coffeehouses
Ugoszcz Manors / Palaces / Castles
Viceroy's Palace Appearances
Vilnius (Wileński) Hotel Hotels / Inns
Visitandine Church of St Joseph Churches / Places of worship
Waplewo Manors / Palaces / Castles
Warsaw Other
Warsaw Charitable Society Appearances
Warsaw Conservatory Appearances
‘Wiejska Kawa’ Coffeehouses
Wieliczka Other
Wojciech Żywny’s apartment Flats
Wola Tollhouse Other
Wrocław Appearances
Żelazowa Wola Flats
Żychlin Manors / Palaces / Castles