KTU Library virtual exhibition

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From The Library of the Counts Kossakowskis: Albums


The collection of the Counts Kossakowskis in the Stock of Rare Books contains 171 books, 46 periodicals, 2 unique manuscript albums and a genealogical tree.

The Counts Kossakowskis, from 16th to 18th century, were a noble family of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and in the 19th and early 20th centuries they were a noble family of Lithuania. Originating from Mazury, they acquired most of their manors in the GDL in the mid-17th century by marriage. From the 18th century, it had manors in central Lithuania.

The Vaitkuškis manor near Ukmergė was bought in 1760 by Marcin Kossakowski (KLKŽ*, p. 59), the governor of Viciebsk, where he established a family residence. Around 1842, the Polish-Lithuanian collector, writer, painter and Russian diplomat Stanisław Feliks Kossakowski (1795-1872) lived in his inherited manors in Lithuania, amassing a collection of works of art and books in Vaitkuškis (where his residence resides). After his father’s death, the manor was inherited by Stanisław Kazimierz Kossakowski (1837-1905), a writer and a genealogist, after 1890 he established a photo studio in the manor. At the beginning of the 20th century, the manor’s library consisted of about 12,000 books and manuscripts in various languages.

In 1907, the Lyduokiai manor was acquired by the son of Stanisław Kazimierz, Michał Stanisław Kossakowski (1883-1962), a Polish nobleman in Vilnius region and a Polish diplomat of interwar period. He amassed a rich library and family archive at the manor.

According to the Library’s inventory book records, part of the collection of books and manuscripts belonging to Counts Kossakowskis was obtained in 1934 from the Central State Bookstore.

The chronological boundaries of the collection span from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century, but the majority of the collection is made up of publications from the 19th century. Both manuscript albums were created by the Counts in the first half of the 19th century. In terms of language, the largest number of books are in Polish, with fewer in French and the smallest number in German and Russian. The thematic structure of the collection is very diverse. It contains informative publications, especially valuable books on history, law, politics, religion, art and other sciences. Publications that tell the story of the Kossakowski family occupy a special place.

The collection has exceptional variety of ownership marks on the books: 3 super-ex-librises (imprints on the cover of the book, consisting of the book owner’s coat of arms or a drawing of the book owner’s coat of arms or their motifs and/ or a monogram), 3 ex-librises (small slips of paper with a graphic artwork, the owner’s personal name pasted on the cover of the book or the flyleaf of the book), and 6 seals of the book made varying from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, and also ownership records. Some books contain dedications of the authors to the counts, while others are full of stickers or marginalia (handwritten notes in the margins).

The exhibition presents two sketch albums belonging to the collection of Counts Kossakowskis.

According to the Library’s inventory books, the first sketch and cut-out album to be presented was recorded on 6 December 1934. The album is given an inventory number and the “Author” field is filled as “A. K.”, and the “Title of the book” filled as “Album”, indicated year is 1888.*** In the notes field, there is an entry that the album is being deleted from this inventory book and moved to the Carvings section. On 23 March 1950, the album was returned to the Inventory Book as “Album of French Monuments of Antiquity”.

The album is bound in dark red leather; the edges of the block are painted in gold. The edges of both hard covers are decorated with gold ornamentation, and the middle of the front cover is stamped with a golden super-ex-libris: the letters “A. K.” and a crown, which is part of the Kossakowski coat of arms.

The second album presented was added to the Library’s inventory book on 23 March 1950. The name field reads “Fortification de Campagne”. The title page of the album states that the sketches were made by Stanisław Kossakowski.

*Kisarauskas, Vincas. Lithuanian Book Marks, 1518-1918, Vincas Kisarauskas; Central Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Lithuanian SSR, Voluntary Society of Book Friends of the Lithuanian SSR. Vilnius: Science, 1984. 221 p.: iliustr., faks. (Further – KLKŽ).
** Album of the Counts Kossakowskis, [compiler and author of the text Eglė Lukaševičiūtė]; [translators: Jurgita Bačauskaitė (English), Joanna Ostaszewska-Nowicka (Polish)]. Kaunas: M.K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art, 2004. 143, [1] p.: iliustr., faks. (Further – LKA).
*** It is not clear why the Inventory Book shows 1888, as the latest year recorded in the album is 1843.

The exhibition has been prepared by Dr. Edita Korzonaitė, Head of the Rare Publications Group,, tel. 300 658.