Along with the widely known sponsors and patrons who have supported the restoration processes of the palace, other well-wishers must be mentioned who have given us items, information and advice, participated in joint work at the palace, or given public speeches or played music. Dr. Gerhard Wulffius (Germany), a descendant of Biron family, during all his life has been collecting information about items that belonged to the dukes of Courland. His donation – an oak-wood bookcase from duke’s library – can be seen now in Rundāle Palace and has served as a model for eleven copies. Highly valuable is the information about family portraits; very significant is his contribution to the communication with the members of Biron family. The first arrival of the Biron family in the Rundāle Palace took place on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Duke Ernst Johan (1990). In the course of time the ties have become closer; communication with less known family members has expanded. At the celebration of the 275th birthday of the castle (2011), the family arrived not only from Germany, France, Finland and Sweden, but also from Canada, South America and South Africa. Günter Brüninghaus (Finland) contributed to the unification of the family and gathering of information. The head of the family the Prince of Courland Ernst Johann Biron (Germany) regularly supports restoration. With his financial support duke’s parade bedroom parquetry was restored, the restoration of the audience room was completed, copies of the library cabinet were made, paintings were purchased and other projects carried out. The Prince of Courland Michael Biron (Germany) regularly supports the implementation of small projects.
The support of philanthropists Boris and Ināra Teterev to Rundāle Palace began in 1997. The first step in the extensive restoration project was the restoration of the stairs on the west side of the palace. In 1998, with the support of philanthropists, the Duchess’s boudoir was restored, where at that time the works were suspended due to lack of funds. In the following years, the philanthropists financed the restoration of the Duchess’s dressing room and bedroom, as well as the Duke’s first work cabinet and dressing room. Between 2010 and 2014, the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation’s grant program “Rundāle Palace Restoration Completion Programme” was implemented, which allowed to open for the visitors the fully restored billiard room (2011), Duke’s second work cabinet (2013), Duke’s library and the Grand Gallery (2014).
The restoration of the Library ceiling painting began with the support of the State Inspection for Heritage Protection under the Ministry of Culture, Aizkraukles Banka and the funds of the World Monuments Fund – the ceiling painting was first strengthened. The Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation financed the refinement, retouching and full restoration of the room. The restoration of the Grand Gallery paintings in 2011 was supported by Skonto Būve. Gradually, retouching and lost elements were returned. The complete restoration of the Grand Gallery was completed in 2014. The production of parquetry, panels and doors for the Italian Salon in 1998 and 2000 was funded by firms Robert Bosch and Centra Jaunzemji. The restoration of the southern facade and the renovation of the stairs (1999/2000) were sponsored by Headley Trust.
The reconstruction of the boiler house and the modernization of the heating system were supported by “Løgstør Rør” and “Bek-Konsult”. We received a great deal of response when the storm damage had to be repaired in 1995 – the roof over the Duke’s Reception Room was ruined. Roof renovation was supported by the “Soros Foundation-Latvia“. Forestry supplied planks for roofing.
For five years Rundāle Palace Rose Garden was financed by “Latvijas Mobilais Telefons”. However, it would not be possible without the assistance of many volunteers who helped with the complicated work of digging rose pits. In the first two years alone, around 1800 people worked in the garden. Particularly important was the support of the Latvian National Armed Forces. Tulips and other bulbous plants are regularly donated for the Dutch basset by Jaco van Rijssel (Netherlands). Since 1978, various institutions and individuals have taken part in the renovation of the garden. Students from the student corporation “Gundega” regularly participate in joint work in the garden. In 2005, “Kemira GrowHow” contributed their support. Particularly mentioned should be the gifts and dedications of the breeders and collectors – Aivars Baroniņš for dahlia ‘Rundāles pils’, Juris Švarcs for tulip ‘Rundāle Palace’ and André Ève (France) for rose ‘Château de Rundāle’. Austris Plaudis worked on the selection of the greenhouse rose ‘Rundāles pils’. The employees of the National Botanic Garden of Latvia continue to provide support and advice and give lectures at the Garden Festivals.
Various restoration works were supported by Count Serge von der Pahlen, Baron Georg Alexander von Engelhardt, Mamerts Vaivads, „Puses” Ltd and „Dresdner Bank”.
Restoration of exhibits and particular museum publications are regularly supported by the United Foundation of Courland Knighthood (Germany). The restoration of the sarcophagi of the ducal vault has been supported by Dr. Rüdiger Zellentin (Germany), Baron Nicolas von Behr (Germany), Biron family and Latvia State Culture Capital Foundation.
Doing the carving protection program, significant contribution was received from the Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry and “Römer Biotec” (Germany).
The purchase of exhibits was sponsored by Robert and Dagnija Rūsis, Ernst Johann Biron, Prince of Courland, and Baroness Benigna von Twickel.
The articles and books have been given by: Jolanta Zariņa, Jānis Strupulis, Valdis Villerušs, Edīte Jansone, Ilga Kreicberga, Aija Celtniece-Blite, Viktors Astaņins, Sandra Kalniete, Kārlis Baumanis (Latvia), Maija and Māris Zuikas (USA), Karina Orlova (St. Petersburg), Povilas Šverebas (Lithuania), Baron Ulrich von Behr and Count Hagen Lambsdorff (Germany), Countess Anna de Bagneux (France) and Günter Brüninghaus (Finland). Books owned by minister Roberts Feldmanis were handed over to the museum by the library of the consistory of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia.
Regular additions to the museum library are received from Renate Adolphi, Friedrich Blum and Princess Elizabeth Biron of Courland (Germany).
Since 1997, the publishing activities of the museum have been regularly sponsored by Benita von Egen (Germany), she has also given the museum a relic of the family. The publishing of catalogues in 1997 was supported by the Baltic Association of Knighthoods and the Wilhelm Hirte Foundation.
Businessman Aldis Pauga has regularly supported helicopter flights to take aerial photographs.
THE FRIENDS OF THE MUSEUM
Dr. Burkhardt Göres and Wassilissa Pachomowa-Göres (Germany) were advisors during the creation of the museum collection and dealing with restoration issues applying the experience of the Prussian palace association.
Cooperation with the State Hermitage Museum and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Peterhof, Catherine Castle in Carskoye Selo and Pavlovsk Castle, the State Historical Museum in Moscow and the palaces of Kuskovo, Ostankino and Arkhangelsk were very important at the beginning of the castle restoration and museum construction. Good cooperation has been established with the employees of the Gattschina Palace.
At the beginning of the restoration of the palace, the Russian restoration school was important – the restorers of easel-painting, ceramics and textiles of the Rundāle Palace Museum studied restoration in Moscow; restorers from St. Petersburg worked in the Rundāle Palace Museum. Now cooperation with Czech restorers has developed.
It was important to work in the Russian archives, collecting information about the construction of the castle and the duke’s exile. Work on the theme of the Duchy of Courland, contacts with countries and places where the duke’s possessions and objects were located came into being. In Poland, with the Żagań, the Wroclaw Museum and the Jelenia Góra Archives, in the Czech Republic – with the Castle of Ratibořice, the Náchod Palace, the Pardubice Archives and writer Helen Sobkov, in Germany – with the Museum of Posterstein Palace, Sabine and Klaus Hoffmann, and the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Berlin. In France, friendly relations are mainly with the descendants of the Biron family. The exhibition about the Duchy of Courland in Marais Palace was also exhibited in Versailles Town Hall in 2005.
Klas Lackschewitz (Germany) took up the German-language publication of series “House that does not exist” earlier published in “Māksla +” magazine.