The varied accomplishments of Roman Szewczykowski (1849-1901), craftsman, social activist, collector and teacher, deserve to be recalled. A complete record of Szewczykowski's oeuvre has still not been made. His works are scattered across Poland, and in particular within the former Russian partition area. Numerous examples of fencing designed by him are to be found in Protestant cemeteries where the unique planning of the graves and sprawling space have become the reason why the fences surround an extensive area and feature sophisticated composition forms. The Powazki cemetery is the site of numerous doors/gates of grave shrines. Designing them, Szewczykowski as a rule referred to the repertoire of historical forms and generally accepted symbols of death and new life. The diverse gate ornaments played a programme-like role and harmonised with the architecture of the shrines. The Warsaw works include objects linking Szewczykowski's oeuvre with town architecture. One of the most interesting examples is the magnificent two-wing gate which once must have led to a prosperous town house or palace, and today is one of the highlights of the park in Grochowska Street. The artist was also celebrated for small-scale works such as lamps, candlesticks, clock cases, vases, paperweights and inkwells. In October 2005 one of his vases was offered for sale by the REMPEX auction salon. Szewczykowski was one of the most outstanding Polish craftsmen of the turn of the nineteenth century. In accordance with the conception of an integration of the arts and crafts, formulated by William Morris, he was never a passive copier of styles but created his own designs and devised a floral style with a distinctive rose motif. Well aware of the demands made by the market upon professional artisans Szewczykowski signed all his works, which facilitates their identification; his output has become part of the valuable legacy of late nineteenth-century crafts. One of the greatest enemies of cast iron objects is rust, which causes irreversible damage. The fundamental purpose of all conservation in such cases is the prevention of further corrosion by, i.a. using durable anti-corrosion safety measures, and in the case of permanent damage - by recreating the missing elements and their stable installation.
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