Mikołaj [Nicolas] Chopin (1771–1844), Fryderyk’s father
Jan Zamoyski, oil on canvas, 1969, 297 x 220, reconstruction of an oil painting by Ambroży Mieroszewski from 1829, produced from a colour reproduction in Leopold Binental, Chopin w 120–tą rocznicę urodzin. Dokumenty i pamiątki (Warsaw 1930).
Original lost with the collection of Laura Ciechomska in Warsaw in 1939
Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/1179].
Eugeniusz (Wielisław) Skrodzki, author of memoirs and tales, son of a Warsaw University professor, acquainted with Fryderyk and his family, recalls Mikołaj Chopin thus:
‘His father, Mr Mikołaj, was a solemnly austere figure, with a certain refinement of manner, characterising a well-educated man. […] The Chopins ran a male boarding school; the fathers of the best families in the land sought to place their sons there. […] The reason for the popularity of this boarding school was the boundless solicitude and care taken over the boys’ health, their good nourishment, cleanliness and morality, and also a good orientation and guidance in learning.’
Mikołaj Chopin was cast in a most favourable light as a pedagogue by Fryderyk Skarbek, in his memoirs:
‘[…] he was a moral and good-natured man, who, devoting himself to the education of young Poles, never took it upon himself to form them as Frenchmen and to inculcate in them the principles prevailing in France. Respecting Poles and being grateful to the land and its people, among whom he found a hospitable reception and a suitable way of making a living, he repaid them honestly, out of a duty of gratitude, with the conscientious upbringing of their progeny as useful citizens. Under this esteemed teacher, who till his death remained the best friend of myself and my whole family, I received my very first scholarly inclination.’ [Czartkowski and Jeżewska, pp. 7–8].