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Amelia Załuska

Amelia
Amelia Ogińska
by Józef Grassi, 1808

Amelia Załuska was the daughter of Prince Michał Kleofas Ogiński and his Italian-born second wife, Maria, nee Neri, and formerly the Countess Nagurska. Since their marriage in 1803, following Ogiński’s divorce from his first wife, Izabela Lasocka, they lived at Ogiński’s estate at Zalesie, about half way between Vilnius and Minsk in what is today the Republic of Belarus. Amelia, the eldest of four children, was born most probably in Zalesie on December 10 1803. From an early age she showed a precocious talent for music, dancing, drawing and poetry, and, with her younger sister Emma, joined in the ethos of music-making and amateur theatricals at Zalesie. Both girls played the piano, which they were taught by Giuseppe Paliani. Ogiński wrote duets for his daughters to play, and Amelia also composed piano pieces, as well as plays with songs for home production. In 1822 she wrote a Polonaise in C minor for piano duet, which she dedicated to Emma. She also wrote two romances in the style of her father, “Mon ame aujourd’hui” and “J’aime la nuit.”


In 1826 Amelia married Count Karol Teofil Załuski a wealthy landowner with an estate at Gulbinai, in northern Lithuania, where their first two children were born. In 1831 Załuski led the Insurrection against the Russians from Panevezys, where, in the Market Square, he publicly burned Tsar Nicholas I’s proclamation of an amnesty for all rebels who laid down their arms. The Insurrection failed, and the Załuski family fled to Klaipeda, on the Baltic coast, then the city of Memel, at the northernmost tip of Prussia. There, having lost all their possessions and gained a Russian price on Załuskis head, they spent the next five years in exile. In 1834 their second surviving son, Karol Bernard Załuski, was born.

Count Karol Teofil Załuski Amelia Załuska Karol Bernard Załuski
Count Karol Teofil Załuski Amelia Załuska née Ogińska Karol Bernard Załuski

In 1837 The Załuskis inherited the estate and spa of Iwonicz, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Austrian Galicia, where Amelia, in addition to running the estate and the spa, played the piano, composed, and taught all nine surviving children music. In 1845 her husband Karol Teofil Załuski died. Amelia’s health deteriorated and she moved to the island of Ischia, where she died in the arms of her favourite son, later pianist, composer and friend of Liszt, Karol Bernard.

Amelia’s surviving compositions for the piano include 2 Polonaises, one of them for piano duet, 3 Waltzes, a Polka, a Mazurka, a Marche de Cavallerie, Les Adieux a Joseph, and a set of Waltzes entitled Les Echos d’Iwonicz, published anonymously in Vienna for the benefit of the poor in 1846.