Life in the resort and how people travelled to summer apartments to Roztoky
We are entering into the interior of an imaginary summer villa located in Roztoky near Prague on the left bank of the Vltava River. The origin of the resort was connected with construction of the Northern state railway from Prague to Dresden finished in the year 1851. The resort faced the biggest building bloom in the last third of the 19th century and at the end of the 20th century was almost built-up.
The concept of „villa" in our exhibition should be understood as a type of a family house with a yard but without any economic facilities and built out of the city for the summer habitation and to rest. Villa as a building has existed for already two thousand years and was formed by patricians in the Ancient Rome. For many centuries it was the prerogative of the richest social class. The big change was caused by gradual democratization during the 19th century. Villas had already been built by towns` citizens on the territory of Austria and Hungary in the alpine, coastal or suburban resorts in the first half of the 19th century and remained in the Czech lands only in connection with the aristocratic sphere until the middle of the 19th century. Villas got into the centre of interest of businessmen from the middle of the 19th century. Representative villas in Prague started being built around the year 1870 and in the seventies of the 19th century similar villas started also appearing in the suburban resorts.
The appearance of Roztoky villas was not stylistically different from similar buildings of the former Austrian - Hungarian empire (neo-classical, historical styles in transition into romantic eclecticism and so-called Alpine or Swiss style) in the second half of the 19th century. Difficulty and quality of the buildings, however, could not reach the level of contemporary buildings in Prague or villas in resorts nearby such as Dobřichovice, Všenory or Černošice. For their summer residences villas` owners always chose strikingly similar landscape sceneries. In the surroundings of Prague they chose localities in the agricultural landscapes with proximity of forests and sufficiently remote from the industrial peripherals. The sites were expected to ensure a healthy living and immediate contact with nature.
The main part of the resort in Roztoky was concentrated in Tiché údolí (i.e. Silent valley) in the vicinity of a stream. Villas were rebuilt from the existing houses, vineyard houses or were built as completely new buildings on a "green field". Chronologically, the development of the Roztoky resort can be divided in several stages: 1851–1874, 1874–1890, 1890–1930. The biggest growth was noticed from the 70's to the 90's of the 19th century.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th century owners of Roztoky villas were, in most cases, wealthy factory-owners or traders from Prague, whose families spend the summer season in their own villa or in just parts of villas rented by the owner. Family villas were matter of heritage in few generations.
According to the historical pictures villas of the Silent valley acted similarly until the period of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia. A great majority of villas had two floors with an attic and was surrounded by an extensive garden. Necessary complementary building element was a gazebo or extension in the form of a garden cottage. Older buildings of the last third of the 19th century were characterised by wooden verandas or balconies, uncovered carved gables under the roof typical for the Swiss architecture.
In the basement service space was situated (e.g. a kitchen, a laundry, a cellar) often with a room for a maid or a concierge. The remaining two floors were, according to the character of villa, of the same layout. On the last floor or attic there were only the rooms meant for lease. Even in larger family villas at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century attic premises were rebuilt for summer guests. They were often just small rooms without any kitchen or any other facility.
We are located in the entrance room, called a hall, later also a hallway. This space was not designed for a longer stay. Its function consisted of a connection or on the contrary a separation of home from the outside world. Hall served as a reception room according to the English example in large villas. That is why there had to be a sitting garniture where guests were waiting for welcome from residents.
It consisted mostly of a clothes wall, a cabinet or suspended cabinets, a small suspensive table with a seating group. A vase with flowers also welcomed the residents at home. (The hall is equipped with furniture in the art nouveau style, which corresponds to the painting of the walls.) The equipment of the hall corresponds with the fashion trends of the first decade of the 20th century. The walls are adorned with art nouveau stencilled paintings, and chairs and the suspensive wall refer to the style of the geometric modernism.
The project documentation of Roztoky villas, period clothing, English travel suitcase of a closet type suitable for transport by the train, phone exchange for 3 participants from 1906 to operate public networks of the German mail called the Reich’s Telegraph Administration.
From the construction documentation of the design of can not be seen only changes in the aesthetic vision, architecture or construction technology, but it reflects lifestyle changes, new demands on the culture of living, cosiness and privacy. The period ideal was to separate privacy of a family from servants. The interior of the house was divided into a space designed for social representation and private family rooms. Composition of the rooms did not depend only on the economic position of the builder, but also on the purpose of the building. Summer residences had a different plan of the internal space, the layout of the interiors of residential villas for permanent residence was designed differently.
Large residential two-storey villas for the permanent residence had separated rooms and private rooms of the landlord and landlady on different floors. Separation of family members inside of the house was considered as manorial. Apart from the gentleman’s room it could also be a study, sometimes also a library or a boudoir was laid out for a lady.
Purpose and furnishing of rooms was not different at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Technical equipment of the kitchen and bathroom improved, in the residential areas differed and stylishly transformed the appearance of the interior and its equipment, according to the varying tastes and fashion. In the plans began to emerge children's rooms at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century when architecture was affected by the English influence. The greatest burden of responsibility for running of a household rested on mothers and wives. Especially for these, the stay at a summer apartment did not automatically mean any rest.
A significant feature of the stay in a summer house, transposition of the household from city to countryside were directly based on the assumption that family lived in the summer house in domestic conditions. Women did not shake off their household duties at all. They often demanded a good company in the summer houses to have some fun and to get rid of duties such as cooking and child care. For some families, there was a solution to eat at local restaurants or dwell in a hotel. The quality of rural pubs and restaurants used to be considerably volatile. Women, however, had at least a little more time for themselves in the morning, which could be spend by e.g. bathing. Therefore dining at the inn was among the biggest benefits of their holiday.
That used to be different in better-situated families that brought their maid to the summer residence or summer apartments. Such women could live with worries about their social life and about increasing their personal prestige only. They mostly cared about what to wear.
In the boudoir there was a desk or a table for manual work, a sofa, or a sofa set, number of smaller tables and a wardrobe, an etagere (shelves), a dressing table with mirror. Except for the higher-class, children stayed in one room with their parents and siblings, only older children were separated according to their sex. The evidence of presence of a child in the house was a working table for children and Thonet chairs, books, a spelling book. Equipment of the room was eclectic, rather in the Neo-Baroque and the Neo-Rococo styles (e.g. a glass cabinet, a desk - the end of the 19th century, so-called third rococo).
- Tapestry, machine-woven - The romantic scene from nature, end of the 19th century
- M. Pirner (1854-1924), The lovers in the garden, oil
- A. Sequensová (1872-1949), The azaleas (copy only), watercolor, 1893
- Jos. Jelínek (1871-1945), The lady on promenade, oil
- A. Chittussi (1847-1891), The landscape with pond, oil
- J. Ullmann, The late summer, 1910
- Ot. Lebeda, The landscape with thistles, 2. half of 90s of the 19th century
- Bohuš, The birds, the turn of the 19th century
The embroideries in the boxes above the sofa were typical for the period. They expressed interest of women on the domestic folk art. The laces and embroideries were collected and shown in the Roztoky villas by Mrs A. Braunerová, Mrs L. Bráfová, Mrs A. Rýznerová and others. In the period of The First Republic of Czechoslovakia also by Mrs Alice Masaryková, who set up so-called Embroidery salon at the Prague castle.
The lifestyle is illustrated by the vintage fashion from the years 1910–1920.
A dining room was a shared room where all the family could meet to eat. A lounge fulfilled this role in smaller summer villas where the salon was missing. In the case of small summer rented apartments in villas, guests had usually a room and a kitchen at their disposal there.
The basic piece of furniture was a dining table and a set of chairs, according to the number of family members. The second largest piece of furniture was a cupboard, a high dresser, later a low dresser (called “buffet”). In the bottom shelf, closed by a small door, porcelain was stored, in the drawers were tablecloths, napkins, and other things for setting the table, but also cutlery, if they were not kept in a special dresser for silver items (called “stříbrník”). A serving table or a tray to transport dishes and to put away used dishes was also necessary. Sometimes the dining room used to be in the neighbourhood of a winter garden or a bay window separated by a curtain. There could also be a table with chairs for some conversation and social games.
In Czech families of office workers and freelancers beef meat and beef soup were reportedly very popular. On Sundays they preferred roast beef: “…and if I mentioned to him that we are used to the English meaty breakfast and I am happy to pay more for that.” During summer meat was cooked almost every day. But guests could not get any sausages or similar products, which were rare in the countryside.
From the point of nutritionists of that time, meat had to be replaced by eggs and furthermore, it was recommended to eat fresh vegetables and dairy products, especially cheese and butter. Risotto, potatoes with butter and white cheese, noodles, macaroni (spaghetti) with sauce, goulash, dumplings filled with fruit etc. were among the most common dishes in the summer apartments.
The dining area was equipped with neo-renaissance style furniture of the last third of the 19th century (a cupboard with coloured stained glass, lower cupboards on the sides so called “vertika” and a table with chairs. In interiors of upper middle classes oriental accessories were also numerous. They were imported from the Near East (the corner with a table and a mirror, both elements inlaid with nacre and ivory).
- Fr. Muller (1833-1917), Portraits of the spouses Kraus, the owners of the house n.99, oil 1890
- Fr. Maschek (1790-1862), Portraits of the spouses Gerzabek (Jeřábek) - parents of Albína Ledr, wife of Joseph Ledera, owner of the manor, oil 1820
- Fr. Veselý, The castle in Roztoky, oil, 1895
- D. J. Kotula, The view over Roztoky from Žalov, 1840
- Q. Manes, The castle of Roztoky near Prague - The night arrival of a guest to the castle, 1858
- The lifestyle is illustrated by lady's evening dresses from the years 1910-1912.
The extensive gardens belonged inextricably to the villa’s construction and to the period's ideal of harmony with nature. We do not always know their original appearance because the plans documenting the appearance of the garden creations remained only exceptionally. We do not know much about lawns, flowerbeds, rocks, trees and bushes or what kind of trees, bushes and flowers the owner of the garden let planted etc.
In Roztoky we can find both types of usual garden layouts. An example of historicist return to the baroque type is the plan to the garden next to the villa no. 98 from the end of the 19th century. And on the contrary, the attempt of a landscaped park can be found in the plan of the garden of the villa no. 124 with an artificial pond. In some cases, a part of a garden was earmarked to sports, such as tennis court or skittles alley. Winter gardens situated mostly in the glazed terraces or verandas in the house served as a resting place of the owners or for smaller social gathering in the case of a cold or rainy weather. Except flowers and flower arrangements the space was equipped with small seating furniture and often with a cage with "a feathered friend”.
In the twenties of the 20th century a Czech traveller and writer Joe Hloucha, who loved Japanese culture, lived in Tiché údolí. He placed his collections in his villa that was rebuilt in a Japanese style. He lived there just very shortly and sold it in 1926 when new owner built a Japanese tearoom here.
The owners in the neighbourhood were inspired by the oriental style and Hloucha`s villa and built a hotel Sakura just next to the original villa of Mr Hloucha. An architect Mr Eduard Hnilička from Prague designed its interior.
The hotel was surrounded by a Japanese garden with typical wooden architecture, a lake, stone lanterns and mascarons. The hotel staffs were dressed in Japanese kimonos. The Beauty association used the hotel`s garden for the Festival of flowers. In the winter garden the oriental motifs were used on the walls or textiles. Two-pieces trouser’s suit inspired by the oriental style, a long tunic with embroidery decorated with a trim (decorative hem), embroidery with a Japanese motive - flowers and a peacock, from the 30s of the 20th century.
The Salon was originally the best room where visitors were received. From the second half of the 19th century it was intended in the construction plans of larger houses and it was placed in the largest room with a scenic view.
The Salon was not a commonplace in each summer villa. It was typical for houses in Roztoky from the 70s and 80s of the 19th century. It was often a central room designed for receiving visits, social pastimes and concerts. The centre of social life in the villa fulfilled the salon of the size of 35 to 70 square metres. It was not only the largest, but also the nicest room facing the street or the garden. It was the only of the rooms, where strangers could come in.
That used to be equipped with the best furniture of different styles and supposed to demonstrate the wealth of the family. Children were prohibited in the salon to not damage precious objects in there (glass, porcelain, paintings).
In the salon there needed to be enough pieces of seating furniture including a sofa and at least six chairs or seats. A large table together with some smaller tables were requisite. A musical instrument was expected, such as harmonium, a sewing table for women's occupants of the house or a library. Flowers were significant, placed in different containers in the area. On the pictures family portraits or landscape motives prevailed.
Unlike the urban villas where there were held regular social events and gatherings, at the end of the 19th century in the summer villas were rather preferred individual rooms just for family members. A garden and a gazebo served for meetings and social events. The Salon already lost its function in the first decades of the 20th century when it was replaced by functional space – usually by a room allowing more privacy for the family. Visits could be received in the dining room or in the living room.
Some critical opinions about too much vacant space predominated. The contemporary trend displaced this room from the construction plans.
Most of the furniture presented here is in the Biedermeier style. It corresponds to the theory of the most sumptuous rooms in the house.
- The Karlštejn castle, oil, 1840-1850, characteristic by veduta from the Biedermeier period, unsigns.
- J. Nentwich??, Portrait of the spouses Kubrov (important family from the neighborhood - near the Přední Kopanina or Kněževes??), oil, end of the 19th century.
- St. Holeček, The house near a lake, 1905
- Unknown author, the veduta above the library - probably a mountain park and the castle Wilhelmshöhe, oil painting on canvas, around 1860 (the largest and the most important mountain park in Europe, founded in the late 17th century, today part of the city of Kassel in Hesse; the painting of the salon in villa no. 97).
- In the frames vedutas of castles and chateaus (copies)
The lifestyle is illustrated by three representative women's evening dresses from the 20th and 30th years of the 20th century.
Availability of the town enabled the family breadwinner to commute regularly every Sunday during summer to see his family residing in the resort, without interrupting his work.
That was typical for leaders in industry or banking area who could afford to let their business to be operated basically “by gravity” and could enjoy the well-deserved vacation. Therefore many of those were managing their business from their summer residences at the time of the summer season.
Similarly, many university professors spent their long vacations at their summer residences where next to the recreational activities dealt with scientific activities or other common agenda associated with their employment. This is why a long-term stay was even more frequent. They also could bring a number of papers for their activity, especially if they were writing an essay or a book.
However, the owners did not only work but also did modern leisure activities e.g. cycling, tennis, hiking, swimming. In Roztoky`s gardens there were two private tennis courts in the 20s of the 20th century.
Talking about prominent personalities from Roztoky, it is necessary to mention a lawyer and a member of the Imperial Council Mr August Brauner 1810 – 1880 (no. 5), Mr Albín Bráf 1851-1912 (no. 99), a lawyer, a university professor, an economist, a politician and a journalist (his family had stayed at the summer apartment of Brauners in the no. 5), who bought the house from Mr Leopold Krause, the owner of few houses in the Royal Vinohrady and co-owner of the firm Gebrüder Kraus, in 1903.
From businessmen we must mention: Mr Sigfrid Bohm, (no. 12,13,15), the owner of company S. F. Bohm, a shop with drapery and white linen; Mr Hynek Brdička (no. 19) a lawyer and the owner of the house in Jindřišská no. 16; Mr Haurowitz Sigmund (no. 110, 125), the factory warehouse of Kosmonosy calicos and a shop with craft goods Václavské square no. 14; Mr Haurowitz Felix, a German physician, a senior lecturer of medical chemistry on the German University in Prague from 1925;
Mr Sigmund Schlesinger (no. 97), the main representative of the company Kotva (“Anchor”) in Hybernská street no. 34, a head of the insurance company Kotva and a chairman of the Prague stock exchange association; Mr Karel Werfel (no. 79) – a manufacturer of a factory for margarine and consumables in Hloubětín, Lvov, Krakow Mr Gabriel Antonín (first no. 10, land subdivision no. 144 and 145), a builder and the owner of the house in Truhlářská no. 21 - II, Mr Josef Gottwald (no. 60), the owner of the company Ignatz Gotwald with cotton goods and drapery, wooden and iron furniture, a manufacturer of umbrellas and parasols, Na Příkopě no. 19. Etc. A physician, a non-professional archaeologist and the explorer of Únětice culture Mr Čeněk Rýzner let rebuilt a villa here too (no. 70).
With few exceptions, the builders of newly built villa houses in Roztoky were famous architects. At the birth of a newly built villa constructions are the names of Mr Anthon Rosenberg, Mr Franz Pavíkovský, Mr Anthon Gabriel, but Mr Jiří Gočár was also mentioned in the project documentation. Name of Mr Josef Hladký often appears among names of local builders. He was a bricklayer master, or in the first decades of the 20th century Mr Franz Illich, a builder and Mr Antonín Landa, an architect and a builder (in the 20s years he built a villa in the upper part of Roztoky).
In the social class the gentlemen`s room was a necessary part of the house. It served especially to the landlord but in the case of a social event gentleman gathered here for a simple conversation. The most important part of the furniture was a desk, seating furniture, a library, a smoking table. The equipment of the room falls to 20`s - 30's of the 20th century.
On the walls we present samples of the project documentation of the most interesting summer villas in Tiché údolí. The inner layout shows trends and diversity of family and rented summer villas (esp. the number of kitchens which is a clear attribute for identification, whether it is a villa for a family or just rented apartment in a villa).
The globe was made in the company of Mr Jan Felkl in Roztoky, located nearby (on the parking lot) since 1870. At the beginning of the 50s of the 19th century Mr Felkl took over the production from the famous cartographer from Prague Mr Václav Merklas. In 1854 Felkl`s factory was registered for the production of globes and other didactic gadgets. While in 1855 the company produced 800 different products, in 1873 it was already 15 000 products. At the beginning of the 20th century the AustriaHungarian market took control of the globes Felkl and the son. The production was active in Roztoky until 1950.
Gramophone of English production and case for records from villa no. 98 (Ed. Hartl) On the desk there is a portrait of Mr Joe Hloucha on a pedicab from his visit in Japan. He was already mentioned in connection with the winter garden. In 1924 Mr Hloucha bought the house no. 81 in Tiché údolí which with the help of a builder Mr Antonin Landa from Prague (later he built a house in the upper part of Roztoky) and Mr Franz Illich from Roztoky was rebuilt to full year-round occupied villa. There he placed his collection from his travels. His stay here lasted only 2 years and then he returned to Prague. But the villa was an inspiration for the business idea in the form of construction of the Hotel Sakura.
- K. Tomsa, The cottage in the Foothills (ferry in Sedlec) watercolor, 1905 - from Bráfs family.
- Z. Braunerová, Levý Hradec, drawing, dedicated to Mr Eduard Hart from no. 98, 12. 9. 1922
- The monument of Mr Hartl with a drawing of villa and with dedication to Mrs Z. Braunerová
- Z. Braunerová, The view from the Roztoky bank of the Vltava river to Klecany, drawing dedicated to Mr Ed. Hartl, 27. 9. 1921
- Ant. Dvorak (a painter from Litomyšl, 1817-1881), The portrait of Mr August Fr. Brauner, oil, 1868
- Ot. Bubeníček, The landscape, around 1900
- Jan Autengruber, Rome (Palatin), 1914
- Ruffr, The old fish shop in Roztoky, 1949 and group of drawings from Roztoky
In the study you can see a men's domestic coat from years 1915-1920.