The summary of the selected article appears at the bottom of the page. In order to get back to the contents of the issue this article belongs to you have to access the link from the title. In order to see all the articles of the archive which have as author/co-author one of the authors mentioned below, you have to access the link from the author's name.

    STUDIA HISTORIA ARTIUM - Issue no. 1 / 2013  

Authors:  .
  Abstract:   Historicist Country Houses from the Former Cluj County. The topic of my study consists of country houses that were built or substantially transformed between 1840 and 1918 in the former Cluj county, a wealthy and important Transylvanian county of the time. In the period under research a total of eight country houses were built in this county, among which the most important ones were concentrated around the city of Cluj. These are the residences from Borşa (Kolozsborsa), Răscruci (Válaszút), Bonţida (Bonchida) şi Jucu de Sus (Felsőzsuk). The first three of them belonged to the famous Bánffy family. The country houses from the nearby localities of Gilău (Gyalu) and Vlaha (Magyarfenes) were situated south-west to Cluj, the country house from Dragu (Drág) was in the region of Sălaj (Szilágyság), and the one from Beliş (Jósikafalva) was isolated in the Gilău mountains, in the south-west corner of the county. Apart from these buildings, the noble residences from Ciucea (Csucsa) and Zimbor (Magyarzsombor) appear in the public opinion as country houses, but in my view they can be considered only manor houses or villas. In order to dissolve these contradictories, these two buildings are presented in the first subchapter of this study. From the eight country houses built (or transformed) between 1840 and 1918 three were not addressed in the present study. The architectural history of the country house from Gilău is still unclear and needs further research, as well as the one from Dragu. The country house from Vlaha was demolished at the beginning of the 1930’s, but it is known from the descriptions made by Lajos Kelemen, and my research did not yield new results. I concentrated on five country houses, describing their architectural history and their stylistic features. In some cases, I dealt also with the interior design (or the most relevant elements of it) and the garden design. The most spectacular country houses of the era were the residences of the Bánffy family from Bonţida and Răscruci, which were conjoined visually by their gardens, and are the best known in the literature also. I presented them in a subchapter, emphasizing only the newest results of my research regarding the architectural history and the interior design of these buildings. The transformation of the western and south-eastern wing of the ensemble’s from Bonţida (presumably between 1844 and 1850) in the Gothic Revivalist manner marked the beginnings of this style in Transylvanian country house architecture. This is the reason for the lengthy elaboration on the possible architects engaged in this work. The later, Neo-Gothic transformation of the western wing, executed somewhere between 1935 and 1941 is also addressed in detail. The historical value of the Bánffy country house at Răscruci is mainly due to its lavish interior design, the elements of which have been preserved until our days. The furniture of the dining room, several tiled stoves, the wooden paneling and the coffered ceilings were all designed and manufactured by the owner of the house, Baron Ádám Bánffy (1847-1887). Thus, I presented especially the artistic creations of the baron, and identified the models (the engravings of Peter J.N. Geiger, a fashionable Viennese painter) of the reliefs placed on the great tiled stove, representing victorious scenes from the Hungarian history. The former Bánffy country house at Borşa and the one at Jucu de Sus were presented in another subchapter, emphasizing the stylistic resemblances between these two neighbouring residences. No archival documents have been preserved about their construction. Thus, I tried to identify the commissioners and the architectural history based on the reconstruction of the estate’s history and old military maps. I described in detail the park surrounding the country house at Borşa, and also the most important interior design elements in the house, such as the wrought iron railings and chandeliers and an Art Nouveau wardrobe. Regarding the former Teleki country house at Jucu de Sus, I focused on presenting the similarities with the previous building, and also on the activity of count Géza Teleki (1881–1937), whose important art patronage resulted in prestigious works of art from famous Hungarian artists, also presented in this study. The last subchapter dealt with the country house of the Urmánczy family at Beliş, which is almost unknown in the scholarly literature, because it was destroyed. It is known only through a few postcards from the early 20th century. Supposedly it was built between 1906 and 1910, probably after the plans by Virgil Giacomuzzi, resembling the country house of Jeromos Urmánczy at Topliţa (Maroshévíz, 1903–1906). This building was important due of its structural composition and its Art Nouveau architectural elements, which are very different from the stylistic trends still in use in the first decades of the 20th century. 

Keywords: country-houses, Historicism, architectural history, Bonţida, Răscruci, Borşa, Jucu de Sus, Beliş, Antal Kagerbauer, the Bánffy family, the Teleki family.
      Back to previous page