Park und Schloss Pruhonice
The Silva-Tarouca family stems from an old noble Portuguese family. Jan Goméz de Silva (1671–1738) was the Portuguese ambassador in the Emperor’s court in Vienna. His wife, Joanna de Menezes, was the only heiress of the old Portuguese Tarouca family. Thus, Count Silva-Tarouca’s noble lineage came from both sides of the family. The son of Jan and Joanna was Emanuel (Manoell) Tellez, count of Silva-Tarouca and duke of Turnhout. He founded the Austrian branch of the Silva-Tarouca family and was one of the more prominent figures in the 18th century.
Because of Emanuel, this noble lineage also came to the Czech Republic. Before passing away Emanuel Tellez bought the castle estate Čechy pod Kosířem close to Prostějov in 1876. The family settled in the Czech lands and participated in social, cultural and political life during the times of the Czech national revival. His first- and second-generation descendants founded a castle park in Čechy pod Kosířem, first in the Baroque style, and later changing it into a natural landscape park.
Bedřich Silva-Tarouca (1816–1881), the grandson of Emanuel Tellez, was a priest and art lover, who connected the fates of artist Josef Mánes with the Silva-Tarouca family. Count Bedřich renounced his inheritance to his brother August Alexander Silva-Tarouca (1818–1872). Augusta’s wife, countess Isabela Sofie Stolberg-Stolberg, was a refined and artistically talented woman and painter. Social and cultural life peaked with August Alexander’s family. From 1849 to 1871 Josef Mánes spent quite a bit of time here painting landscapes, portraits of family members and even simple villagers.
August Alexander and Isabela Sofie had three children who continued in the family’s cultural traditions. The younger of the two sons, Arnošt Emanuel became the founder of the Průhonice park. He was born on the 3rd of January 1860 in Čechy pod Kosířem and came to Průhonice in 1885 when he married Marie Antonie, neé Nostitz-Rieneck, the only daughter of Albert, count of Nostitz-Rieneck, owner of the Průhonice estate.
Arnost Emanuel Silva-Tarouca (1860-1936)
Count Arnost Emanuel Silva-Tarouca became the founder and creator of what is today the Průhonice Park. The goals he reformulated several times were respected by generations to come, thus the character of the Průhonice Park and the concept of its development has been maintained in its original form. Additionally Průhonice has also become a center for research, initially of gardening and later botanical that both are of high international standing. The creation of the Průhonice Park and the reconstruction of the castle was the main life-long work of Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca, to which he dedicated his name, energy and time.
“Great love is needed to complete this task… love for plants, for nature and all its beauty, for one’s motherland and country. Love is the mastermind of my work’s ideas and spirit, limitlessly guiding me not only in the work on the park but at the same level leading me throughout the reconstruction of the castle… This love is my inheritance from my ancestors and it has influenced my imagination from a very young age.”
From a lecture on the Průhonice Park given by Arnošt Emanuel given at the general meeting of the Dendrological Society in Prague on 27th February 1926.