The Castle of Karlštejn

KarlstejnExcerptSmallThe Friends discussed with Petr Pavelec and Kateřina Cichrová of the NPÚ (Czech National Heritage Institute) South Bohemia office the conservation of the 14th-century gate at the castle. The castle, see photo, right, is a very significant emblem of Czech history being built by Charles IV, Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor, who would have passed through it on numerous occasions.

DoorSmallThe gate was conserved and formed a prominent part of the  popular exhibition 'Castles and Châteaux Rediscovered and Celebrated' at Prague Castle from December 2014 to 15th March 2015

The gate measures 3.8 x 2.7 metres. The inset door is 1.55 metres tall. The NPÚ asked us to help finance the project and we agreed to provide a grant for the conservation work. The project was generously supported by our sponsor, The Hargreaves and Ball Trust.

Grant £2000


Church of the Assumption, Monastery of Kladruby

CrownSamller Kladruby IanKWe have supported the completion of the restoration of the high altar by the renowned 18th century architect Santini-Aichel. Extensive work was carried out in the 1970s but the crown was not replaced for ideological reasons.

The NPÚ are the custodians of the monastery and were responsible for the conservation work. They obtained a grant for part of the work from the Czech Ministry of Culture and The Friends agreed to pay the balance with the help of London-based Velehrad. The conservation work has been completed and the crown restored to its original position in time for the monastery to celebrate this, its 900th anniversary year.

Grant £1500


St. Nicholas's Church, Petrovice, North-West Bohemia

CORRpetroviceThe conservation work to the three memorial stained-glass windows has now been completed. Installed in 1908, the windows commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession of the Emperor Franz Joseph. After World War II the church was abandoned and became a ruin but the windows survived. The local community has taken on the task of re-establishing the church and we are very glad to have been able to make a small contribution towards this.


The Czech National Trust

With the help of The Friends the Czech National Trust (CNT) was established and legally registered in the Czech Republic as a charitable organisation.

10382296 643909819023217 8806756061373027507 oThe Czech National Trust was officially inaugurated in the UK in June 2014 at a formal dinner in the Reform Club in London, attended by HE The Czech Ambassador Mr Michael Zantovský, representatives of Parliament and the Czech Government, and many distinguished members of the international heritage community, including Sir Simon Jenkins, CEO of the National Trust.

Messages of support were received from HRH The Prince of Wales; the Austrian Ambassador to the Court of St James's, Dr Emil Brix; Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust; Simon Molesworth, Chairman of the Executive Board of the International National Trusts Organisation; and many others.

The Czech National Trust is modelled on the principles established by the National Trust here in the United Kingdom and its aim is to preserve and restore buildings, gardens and landscapes of historical importance in the Czech Republic through sponsorship and volunteer work, creating sustainable sources of income from their use and encouraging community involvement.

Eva Žallmannová, General Director of the Czech National Trust, introduced the Trust’s pilot project, the restoration of the tomb and chapel of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach near Kroměříž in the south-east of the Czech Republic.

Baroque Statue of Apollo, Château of Valtice

ValticeApolloConservedSmallThe work of conserving the statue has been completed and Apollo, who is part of a group, now joins his compatriots in a fit state to compete with them in that other world that they inhabit. This has been an important project for The Friends, firstly because Apollo is within the UNESCO World Heritage site, and also because it has involved techniques that have attempted to overcome some of the unfortunate results of the very insensitive restoration carried out in communist times.

The video below gives an overview of the remarkable site within which the statue stands.

Grant £2,000









Château of Mnichovo Hradistě

A new permanent exhibition, The Meeting of the Monarchs of the Holy Alliance, at the Château of Mnichovo Hradistě, was opened on 30 April 2013.The Friends contributed £3,000 towards the restoration of a Baroque tiled stove, which was made in Southern Bohemia.




Nové Město nad Metují in Moravia: Restoration of the Château Gardens


We gave a small grant to help with the extensive works being carried out on these gardens, originally designed by Dušan Jurkovic between the years 1911 and 1912 for the owner Josef Barton-Dobenin. The garden area is formally dividend into two areas. The upper area, which is closest to the castle building, is separated into the terraces with rose flower beds and white wooden fences. The middle part of the formal garden is edged with box on the outside of the grassy area, and in the middle with hornbean hedges and pathways. A Baroque-style fountain fulfills the decorative function together with a parade of stone sculptures called 'The Dwarf Cabinet'. When the castle and gardens were returned to the previous owner's grandson, Josef Barton-Dobenin, they were in an extremely neglected condition but a programme of restoration is well underway

The Château of Děčín, North Bohemia

PortraitRestoredWebWebGrant towards the restoration of a portrait of Princess Royal, Maria of Habsburg, future consort of Ferdinand III, thought to be by a follower of Velasquez. The Friends gave £1500 toward a total of cost around £4000. The château of Děčín stands high on a rock above the river Labe. In the 17th century the château came into the possession of the Thun-Hohenstein family. In 1932 Count Thun was compelled to sell the château for financial reasons to the Czechoslovak state, which converted it into barracks. After the departure of the Russian army in the early 1990s, the town of Děčín acquired the building. Many rooms are now open to the public but they lack most of the original contents. The family owned an important collection of paintings that remains largely in store.The aim is to see them hang once again on the château walls where they belong. The curators chose the portrait of the Princess Royal, Maria of Habsburg, future wife of Emperor Ferdinand III, for restoration. The first member of the Thun-Hohenstein family who settled at Děčín, Christoph Simon, (died in 1635), was a courtier to Prince, later Emperor Ferdinand III

Château of Lysice, South Moravia - Restoration of the 18th century statue of Apollo

WEBApolloLysiceRestoredWebThe Apollo is one of four 18th century statues that grace the entrance to the Baroque castle, all in need of conservation. The Friends gave £2000 and restoration has been successfully completed



High Altar painting and associated statuary in the Abbey Church of Žd’ár nad Sázavou, Moravia

In November 2008 we appealed to the Headley Trust for funds to support the restoration of the magnificent High Altar painting of the Assumption of the Virgin and the smaller painting above of the Trinity, both by the important Baroque artist, Michael Leopold Willman (1630-1706), together with the splendid associated statuary by Řehoř Theny (1695-1759). In March 2009 we learnt that our appeal was successful and the Headley Trust generously donated £20,000 towards the restoration. The Altar painting and associated sculptures were subjected to extensive scientific analysis by the conservator prior to restoration.{youtube}YWuC-f53ZC8{/youtube}

Portrait, thought to be of Thomas Vinciguerra Collalto et San Salvatore (1710-69)

CollaltoMinThe Friends gave £2000 towards the cost of restoration. Work completed in early 2011. The Collaltos were one of the oldest aristocratic families of Northern Italy, who had come over to the Czech lands as mercenaries in the Thirty Years War. They came to own large estates in Moravia, with their main Moravian seat at Brtnice (currently in decay). Uherčice was their country seat. Thomas Vinciguerra Collalto was a lover of art and music and in October 1762 hosted in his palace in Vienna the six-year-old Mozart’s first public performance. For years the collection of family portraits from Uherčice has been in store and their gradual restoration and return to the house is important in reuniting both house and the family who owned it until confiscation in 1945.

The Pheasantry at Červený Dvůr

CervDvurPheasantWEBIn 2009 The Friends gave help by obtaining a grant from the Headley Trust towards the restoration of the murals in the Breakfast Room of this historic house and towards the restoration of most of the Pheasantry, which lies in the magnificent park. Dr Jiří Dvořáček, the director of Červený Dvůr, the Czech National Heritage Institute and the Friends' Committee are extremely grateful to the Headley Trust for their generosity in supporting these two projects. We have continued the connection with Červený Dvůr with our first working holiday there in 2011, and two working holidays in 2012, see Past Events

Restoration of the eighteenth-century Rococo Garden Arbour from the gardens of Český Krumlov

ProkysCeskyKSampleLRCompleted Spring 2010. The Friends’ offer of a grant of £1000/ €1100 towards the restoration of the Rococo garden arbour at Český Krumlov acted as a catalyst which enabled the South Bohemian Institute of Historic Monuments to obtain funding of the further £3000/ €3300 needed to complete the restoration. The great castle of Český Krumlov was once part of the huge Schwarzenberg estates in South Bohemia. The château gardens were originally laid out in the late seventeenth century as a series of Baroque terraces, which were modified in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many eighteenth-century features survive, such as the charming Garden Arbour, which once stood in the centre of a maze, and is thought to have been a Music Pavilion. It was painted in 1752 with allegories of the Four Seasons by the local court artist, Jakub František Prokyš (1713-91)

Uherčice: Restoration of the allegorical 18th-century sculpture of Winter -  £2000

WinterAllegoryUherciceWebUherčice is a great gabled Renaissance château situated in the countryside of South Moravia, close to the Austrian border. In the Baroque period many rooms were enriched with splendid plasterwork, attributed to the important Italian stuccoist, Baldassare Fontana. A richly decorated Baroque chamber theatre is an outstanding feature of this period. Work on the statue was carried out in 2008


Žd’ár nad Sázavou, Moravia

The conservation of a Baroque confessional from the great monastery church, completed by April 2009.