František Antonín II. hrabě Kolowrat-Liebsteinský
(baptised on 31st January 1778 in Prague – 4th April 1861 in Vienna)
Chamberlain and the True Imperial Privy Councillor
1807 – 1810 – hetman and marshal of Prague
1811 – 1826 – Supreme Burgrave of Bohemia - In his position, he raised the economic and cultural standing of the country – he was involved in the establishment of the Patriotic Museum (The National Museum nowadays).
1836–1848 As Minister of State and Minister of Conference, he was practically the second most powerful man of the empire, opposing the policy of Klemens, the Count of Metternich
29th April 1830 – Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of St. Stephen
Knight of the Order of Leopold
Bearer of the Golden Civilian Merit Cross
Honourable Bailiff and Grand Cross of the Order of Malta
Grand Cross of the Alsace Royal Order of the Rue Crown
Knight of several Russian orders – First Class Knight of the Order of Saint Anne, Second Class Knight of the Order of Saint Vladimir, Order of St. Andrew , Order of Alexander Nevsky and the Order of White Eagle
Received the title of Dr.h.c. at universities in Bologna and Milan
5th user of the monetary family fideicommissum deed and the user of the Kolowrat-Nowohradsky fideicommissum (i.e. Přimda and Košátky).
Became the Styrian incolate on 18th October 1831, Carniolan incolate on 20th September 1833, Tyrolian incolate on 12th September 1836.
Founder of the Patriotic Museum in Prague (the National Museum in Prague)
František Antonín II., Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat, was the only son of František Josef II., Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat (1747 – 1829), who was the Imperial Chamberlain, True Privy Councillor, Honourable Bailiff, bearer of the Grand Cross of the Order of Malta, and of Kateřina, Countess Krakowsky of Kolowrat (1747 – 1812). He was the last member of the Liebsteinsky branch of the family.
He was a Czech and Austrian politician and an outstanding statesman. He embarked upon his career in Czech provincial politics. From 1807 – 1810, he was the hetman and marshal of Prague. On 13th April 1811, he was appointed the Supreme Burgrave of Prague, a position he held until 1826. When Emperor Franz I. fell seriously ill in 1826, he sent for Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat who then went to Vienna to manage the political section of the Council of State as a member and a State Minister. After several months in office, he went on to become head of the financial section, too. In 1829, Count František Antonín became the director of the budgetary commission which was the first one to be able to produce a balanced budget even though the country had a considerable sovereign debt and a great amount of funds was being spent on Metternich’s foreign policy, which Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat disapproved of. The very question of a balanced budget was the source of many disagreements between Clemens Wenzel, Count of Metternich (1773 – 1859), and Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat.
After the death of Emperor Franz I., his son Ferdinand V. ascended to the throne, not being able to rule on his own. A State Conference of Ministers ruling on his behalf was established. The count served as the State and Conference Minister from 12th December 1836 until 13th March 1848. As a minister, he promoted the development of transport infrastructure and industry. His liberal inclination made him competent for interior policy and finance.
On 13th March 1846, revolution came to Vienna, resulting in the resignation of Metternich. Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat was appointed new Prime Minister. From 20th March until 19th April 1848, he headed the newly created ministerial presidium as the first constitutional Prime Minister of the Austrian monarchy. After the abdication of the Emperor and the ascension of the new ruler, Franz Josef I., to the throne, the monarchy was consolidated again and Felix, Count of Schwarzenberg was elected the new Prime Minister. The Imperial Constitutional Assembly was dissolved and the period of neo-absolutism was introduced.
In 1848 Count František Antonín stepped down from state service, returned to Bohemia and devoted himself to the improvement of his estates. For his merits, he had been made a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1830, by Emperor Franz II. In Rychnov nad Kněžnou, the Count had a new school built and had the Church of the Holy Trinity repaired and restored. In Černá Voda he operated a glass factory and in Skuhrov nad Bělou he established an iron foundry, which he named after his wife Růžena – “Růženina huť”. In the years 1822–1825 he rebuilt the castle in Černíkovice, turning it into his summer residence. In 1836, he was responsible for the construction of the Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Nové Domky near Rozvadov, which was executed by Tachov builder Anthon Thurner. The church was built on the original stone foundations of an older wooden church dating from 1791–1808, in the Empire style.
The count strived to uplift the Czech nation and its language. He presided the Czech Royal Scientific Society. Already in Vienna, he promoted the establishment of other Czech associations, such as the Matice česká association, The Union for the Promotion of Industry in Bohemia, Měšťanská beseda association and many more. The count funded the publishing of a great number of books such as the almanac titled the Collection of poems and hymns by A.J. Puchmajer. He greatly endorsed the Czech National Revival. Along with Kašpar Sternberk, he promoted the establishment of the Patriotic Museum in Prague (the National Museum in Prague nowadays). When the National Museum was founded on 15th April 1818, František Antonín, Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat, headed its provisional administration, also appointing the provisional committee of the museum. His role as a founder was symbolised by a masonry hammer placed on the pedestal of his statue in the Pantheon of the National Museum. He also played a role in the construction of the Bridge of Emperor Franz I. In 1855 Count František Antonín donated the statue group of St. František Serafinský on the Charles Bridge, which was created at the full expense of Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský, by the great Czech sculptor Emanuel Max. The statue was dedicated to the memory of the rescue of Emperor Franz Joseph I during the assassination attempt two years earlier.
For his merit in the field of politics and science, he received a great many awards and decorations: the Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, the Order of Leopold, the Golden Cross of Merit for civilians, the Grand Cross of the Order of Malta, the Grand Cross of the Alsace Royal Order of the Rue Crown, first-class Russian Order of St. Anne, second-class Order of Vladimir, Order of St. Andrew and Alexander Nevsky and the White Eagle. From 1839 to 1870, the street V Alejích (Na Příkopě nowadays) was named Kolowrat Avenue after the Austrian Prime Minister and Supreme Burgrave, Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat. On 8th June 1801, he wedded Růžena, Countess Kinsky of Vichnice and Tetow (baptised on 22nd May 1780 in Vienna – 16th March 1842, Vienna), who was the lady of the Order of the Star Cross and the lady of the palace. Unfortunately, their marriage remained childless. In his last will, he bequeathed his precious library consisting of 35,000 volumes and a collection of minerals to the Czech museum, where these collections became the most precious part of the inventory. The couple were buried in the Kolowrat family tomb in Rychnov nad Kněžnou whose door is decorated with the alliance emblem of both spouses. The death of František Antonín II., Count Liebsteinsky of Kolowrat brought about the end of this branch of the family.