František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský

František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský (1778–1861) is rightfully considered to have been one of the most important personalities in Czech history, influencing political, economic and cultural events in Austria-Hungary. He achieved fame through his support of the national revival movement, patronage activities and entrepreneurial spirit.

He began his career in the provincial government. In 1811, he became the highest Czech burgrave. He is given significant credit for enhancing the economic standard of the nation. In 1826, he was appointed Minister of State in Vienna by Emperor Franz I. Ten years later, he was appointed conference minister. He was the second most powerful man in the Empire after Klemens Prince von Metternich (1773–1859), whose national and foreign policy he strongly opposed. In the revolutionary year of 1848, he served as the first constitutional prime minister of the Austrian monarchy.

After the election of the new Emperor Franz Joseph I., Count František Antonín II. resigned from state services. He returned to Bohemia and devoted himself to the improvement of his properties. He was responsible for the rebuilding and renovation of several churches on his estates, and had the chateau in Černíkovice rebuilt as his new home. He also devoted himself to business, founding a very successful glassworks and an ironworks he named "Rose’s Foundry", after his wife Maria Rose, Countess Kinská of Vchynic and Tetow (1780–1842). They had no children together, so the Liebstein branch of the Kolowrat family died out with Count František Antonín.

Count František Antonín II. was a great patron of the Czech sciences and culture and a supporter of Czech nationalism. He stood at the birth of the Patriotic Museum (now the National Museum), to which he bequeathed a library of 35,000 volumes and a collection of minerals. During his life, he helped numerous Czech artistic and scientific associations, and financially secured the publishing of Czech books. He has held many orders and honors, received for his merits. During his lifetime he won Austrian, Hungarian, Saxon and Russian awards. He received the most famous of his orders on April 29, 1930, when Emperor Franz II. made him a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský

František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský

Audience at Vienna's Hofburg. From left: the future czar Alexander, Count Ladislav of Wrbno, Alexej Orloff, Prince Colloredo-Mannsfeld, Prince Metternich and Count Kolowrat

Wife of František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat- Liebsteinský Marie Rosa, Kinská of Vchynic and Tetow

František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský, bust sculpted by Antonín Popp, serving as a sculptural decoration of the grand staircase of the National Museum building

Personal crest of František Antonín II. Count Kolowrat-Liebsteinský