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Marcelina from Radziwiłł Czartoryska was born on May 18, 1817 in Podłużne on Polesie as a daughter of Michał Radziwiłł and Emilia from Worcell, her mother died when she was only 5 years old. Educated in Wien (Vienna) by her grandmother Marcelina Worcell, her musical talent was nurtured by her good teachers. In 1840 she married Prince Aleksander Romuald Czartoryski, a supporter of Towarzystwo Muzyczne in Kraków. They generally stayed in Vienna where they supported their Polish countryman. Because of their Polish sympathies and contacts, they were ordered to leave Austria. So they moved to Paris where she studied music. She met and studied under Chopin. She was standing by him during his last hours, and she helped to get his papers to his family after his death on October 17, 1849.


Under threat of property confiscation, in 1850 she was ordered to return to St. Petersburg with her son who was born in 1841 in Paris. She traveled alone and obtained permission to travel abroad for 6 month after selling her property on Russian territory. In 1852 she was again in Paris where she had a house open to both French and Poles. Her guests included Charles Gounod, J. A. D. Ingres, Paul Delaroche, and Eugène Delacroix. She had contacts with Adam Czartoryski and his son Władysław Czartoryski. She started to publicly perform, especially works by Chopin, earning money for charity. She became famous for her performances of Chopin, giving concerts in Paris, London, Wien, Ponznań, Lwów, and Kraków, she was unanimously considered as Chopin's the most faithfull student and only for the sake of her high community position she didn't make a career on the estrade. She had concerts with Franciszek List, Paulina Viardot-Garcia, August Franchromme, and Henri Vieuxtemps. In 1858 and 1859 she gave concerts in Kraków, later being forced to leave the town by Austrian authorities. She returned in 1867 to Lwow and, later,the same year to Kraków, too.

Last moments of Chopin
Teofil Kwiatkowski - "Last moments of Fryderyk Chopin"
1849-1850, Oil, Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw.

Standing by bad Princess Marcelina Czartoryska. On the right sitting Wojciech Grzymała, behind him Teofil Kwiatkowski. On the left sister, Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa, behind her Vather, Aleksander Jełowiecki.
Willa Decius
Villa Decius on Wola
Justowska in Cracow.
She occupied Villa Decius, and thanks to her the residence restored its previous splendor. In Kraków, as in Paris, she had an open house for literary and artistic friends. Her house quickly became the first saloon in the town, mainstay of Polish patriotysm. Fire of the residence in 1882 enforced Czartoryska's temporary removal to the city center. She stayed at house on Sławkowska street, in the house where today in Kraków remains Grand Hotel. Soon, after the reconstruction of the Villa supervised by Tadeusz Stryjeński, the Duchess returned to the palace in the Wola district. That restoration gave Villa Decius its neo-renaissance form and its current layout of rooms. Moreover, she added the impressive wooden stairway leading from the hall on the ground floor to higher storeys which still exists today.
On March 25, 1882 she gave a concert in Kraków with Helena Modrzejewska.
M. Czartoryska by Matejko
Jan Matejko - "Marcelina Czartoryska" 1874, oil, Czartoryski Museum, Cracow.
Cmentarz Rakowicki 1
Tomb of Marcelina Czartoryskia at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow.
After her husband's death in 1886, she spent rest of life working for various charities, she helped to found the Conservatorium, supported the hospital of St. Luis, a Convent and house of St. Jadwiga in Kraków and also boarding-school in Lwow. She felt under Laic Carmel Convent. She died 5-th June 1894 in Kraków. With the death of Duchess Czartoryska in 1894, the halcyon days of Villa Decius came to an end until 1996 when the residence was restored. She was buried dressed in a Carmel convent habit on the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków. Cmentarz Rakowicki 2

Delacroix about Marcelina Czartoryska  
Delacroix was writing to Wojciech Grzymała:
"...I'll let you know when I finish and I will be glad to see you; meetings with you always were a pleasure for me and your good letter those feelings revived only. Who else could I talk with about nonpareil genius [Chopin] whose heavens anvied to the earth, and about who I'm often thinking but I can not to see him on this world, and not to hear his divine accords.

If you're seeing sometimes pleasant princess Marcelina who belongs to persons I give my supreme regards, deign please to lay down my hommage by her feet; her favours still remain alive in my memories and I still admire her talent uniting her with our lost seraph, who is now charming celectial spheres."
January 7, 1861


Eugène Delacroix