CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Lost Seventeenth-Century Dutch Tiles Returned to Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw

The Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw received an anonymous package in the mail containing twelve late seventeenth-century Dutch tiles that once decorated the baths there and were lost during the Second World War, The Art Newspaper reports. The surprising delivery was announced by the Polish Ministry of Culture on Facebook stating that “the museum received a shipment of original tiles from a mysterious sender from Canada who, just before his death, asked for their return.”

Some tiles have cracks and missing pieces
(Photo: Polish Ministry of Culture and Heritage via Facebook)

The returned tiles are on display in a temporary exhibition about Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski, the Polish nobleman and intellectual who founded the estate. The bathing pavilion that he commissioned in the seventeenth century became famous when it was expanded by King Stanisław August, with the baroque baths, known as the Palace on the Isle or Baths Palace. A spokeswoman for the museum told The Art Newspaper that the tiles, dating to around 1690-1700 and probably made in Utrecht, “were sent to us just before the exhibition” and “are very important to us because those are the original tiles that decorated the walls in one of the rooms in the Palace on the Isle.”

View of the exhibition with the recovered tiles in the center. (Photo by Paweł Czarnecki

In 2016, CODART published a survey of Dutch tiles in Poland by Piotr Oczko and Jan Pluis. The article includes pictures of the Royal Baths and reconstructed Dutch titles, twelve of which have now been recovered.