The Most Personal, the Most Mysterious

The history of many Chopiniana could serve as a film script

By The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Paweł Bień (Chopin Institute)

The Church of the Holy Cross demolished and burned down (20. Century) by Antoni SuchanekThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The Fryderyk Chopin Museum

Some of the composer's personal belongings had to be hidden from foreign troops, others smuggled across borders; some have been preserved in their entirety, others in fragments only. 

Once they were mementos kept by the composer's relatives or famous collectors. Today, they are on display at the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw.

List do Ludwiki Jędrzejewiczowej, Moje Życie. Jeżeli możecie, to przyjedźcie… List do Ludwiki Jędrzejewiczowej, Moje Życie. Jeżeli możecie, to przyjedźcie… (25.06.1849) by Fryderyk ChopinThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Private letters

Many of Chopin's letters are personal, even intimate memorabilia. It was in this way that Fryderyk professed friendly feelings and confided about his longing to his family. He also committed his musical plans and reports on his artistic life to paper.

Polonez-Fantazja As-dur op. 61 (1845 - 1846) by Fryderyk ChopinThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Musical jottings

There are objects that can tell us about Chopin's creative process and introduce us to his musical imagination. These are sketch autographs, i.e. Fryderyk's compositional notes.

Mazurek f-moll [op. 68 nr 4] (c. 1846 - 1849) by Fryderyk ChopinThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

We see numerous deletions on them, sometimes there are also traces of trying out a pen, or later notes added by Chopin himself.

Drawings nad notes Page with drawings 2The Fryderyk Chopin Institute


The calendar accompanied Chopin on a daily basis. He wrote down in it when he was to give a lesson, attend a concert or an elegant dinner. Sometimes he also happened to make drawings or hasty musical notes on its pages.

Box for candies belonging to Fryderyk Chopin View 3The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The candy box

Fryderyk loved sweets, and since he ate them often, he needed an appropriate packaging for the candy. This tiny cardboard box with an image of a cat still touches not only the youngest visitors of the Chopin Museum.

Bell belonging to Fryderyk Chopin in the shape of a Chinese god View 2The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Mysterious object

This mysterious-looking object owes its form to Chinese art, very fashionable in the 19th century; for what purpose could Chopin use it?

The Chocolate Girl (around 1744 - 1745) by Jean-Etienne LiotardOld Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden State Art Museums

It was a bell for the servants who helped Fryderyk run the house.

Shirt studs belonging to Fryderyk Chopin View 1The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Chopin pearls

The collection of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw also includes cufflinks used by the composer, well-known for his elegance and exquisite taste. Small jewelry items decorated with pearls were a chic and discreet accessory for evening outfit.

Golden pocket watch with a dedication to Fryderyk Chopin View 1The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

An unusual gift

One of the most interesting personal mementos is a gold watch that ten-year-old Chopin received from the world-famous singer Angelica Catalani who was visiting Warsaw during her tour in January 1820.

Grand piano Pleyel, serial number 14810, Fryderyk Chopin last piano (1848) by Ignace Pleyel & Compie.The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Chopin's piano

The piano was the most valuable piece of equipment in Chopin's apartment. The last instrument belonging to Fryderyk was bought by his student Jane Stirling who then decided to give it to the composer's family.

Upright piano Pleyel, 1847The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The artist's apartment

The piano which Chopin played at the end of his life is the heart of the museum to this day. Looking at the elegant silhouette of the instrument, we can imagine Fryderyk in his home outfit, leaning over the ivory keyboard.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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