|State chateau Valtice, Zámek 1, Valtice
Carpenter workLocksmith and tinsmith work
|National Heritage Institute
|GEMA ART GROUP a.s.
|09/2014 – 04/2015
The first written record of the local castle situated at the current site of the château appears in the 12th century. The year 1395 represents an important milestone as the estates were acquired by the Liechtenstein dynasty whose continuous ownership lasted until 1945.
The historical site saw its golden age after 1560 when the Liechtenstein family lost their possessions in Mikulov and chose Valtice and the nearby Lednice as their new seat. The castle was subsequently reconstructed in the Renaissance style.
New Baroque modifications, in which architects D. Martinelli and J. B. Fischer of Erlach played a significant role, took place between 1643 and 1730. Stables and a riding hall were built in the Spanish Baroque style and achieved their final shape thanks to the then-owner Anton Florian (1656-1721), who had spent a number of years in the Spanish court. The plans themselves were drawn by Anton Ospel, a builder who had also lived in Spain. The Spanish character of the riding hall was very much unlike the contemporary standards in Central Europe and was sure to cause a sensation.
The château interiors were continuously being modified for the following two hundred years. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the château park also attracted attention and now counts among the most beautiful in Moravia.
The château went through a dark period following the end of the Second World War, when it suffered looting. After seizure by the Czechoslovak state, the complex was used as a forced labour camp for women, hops drying plant and a storage space for agricultural machinery. For a while, some have even proposed to convert the château into a factory! Fortunately, the heritage site was later transferred under direct control of the heritage administration, which saved the complex despite its continuing deterioration.
Following in the Velvet revolution in 1989, the château has finally received proper attention and care.
Restoration of the stone elements:
The late-Baroque stone elements are situated primarily in the connecting corridor and the eastern forecourt terrace. There is a balustrade, decorative portal elements, window jambs with stone parapets, vases and sculptures at the terrace.
The largest part of the work concerned the 17th–18th century balustrade. The surface of the Mušlov marble was degraded through exposure to weather effects. In many places, the stone was showing mechanical damage consisting in the loss of binding materials, cracks and broken edges.
The surface of the stone first had to be gently cleaned of dust deposits and unsuitable patchings. This was followed with repeated infusions of suitable strengthening agents and the cracks were injected with sealants. After installation of replica pieces, armatures of stainless steel had to be fitted. A part of the buttress wall was completely missing and had to be rebuilt; the missing pieces were replaced using Božanov sandstone. After refilling the joints with artificial stone, the balustrade was consolidated in terms of colouring.
The western forecourt façade:
Works performed by GEMA ART GROUP a.s. included also a comprehensive reconstruction of the façade in the area of the western forecourt. Considering the historical character of the structure, a façade lime paint with high air permeability was used to prevent build-up of moisture in the walls and plasters. Before application of the selected tone, a colour test had been performed. A selection of eight colour shades ranging from very light to dark yellow was consulted with the National Heritage institute.
Structural stabilisation of the connecting corridor:
The ground-floor structure with a total area of 92 square metres forms a connecting element between the château and the adjoining gardener’s house. After a careful analysis, a significant structural damage due to moisture and cracks was found. The foundations of the external walls had to be stabilised using 16 micropiles. Wide cracks in the interior walls had to be mended using staples sunk into mortices anchored using poly cement mortar.
In the transverse direction, the structure was newly stabilised using four rods ensuring transverse rigidity and eliminating the tilt of the south and north facing side of the structure.
Considering the cultural and historical value of the carpenter elements, all works had to be carried out using traditional crafts. As a result of either major damage or missing parts, replicas had to be made also of window frames and shutters. However, most windows, doors and doorframes were preserved.
Following disassembly and transport to the workshop, unsuitable coatings were removed and, where necessary, jointing, gluing and sealing was performed. This was followed with sanding, impregnation and application of an outer coating.
Metal elements and locksmith works:
The work was performed chiefly on disassembled metal elements of doors, window swivels, steel grilles and staircase handrail anchors. The original parts had to be cleaned, rid of old coating layers, conserved, repaired and their construction joints had to be cleaned.
A part of the steel grilles had to be replaced. The new grille surfaces had to be sandblasted in order to gain the desirable patina.