Since the middle of the 15th century, Ołowianka Island, once separated from other parts of the city by marshy canals, has undergone many transformations connected with the enlargement of fortifications and the widening of the canal. Eventually the embankment, commonly called Szafarnia, began to resemble other parts of the Motława quay. In this location, not far from the drawbridge leading to the island, one of the most talented stonemasons in Gdańsk, Krzysztof Strzycki, built a most beautiful house in 1728 imitating the style of the suburban manor houses of the local patriarchs.
For many years the works of this poor stonemason, not related to the families of the renowned craftsmen, were not appreciated by the inhabitants of Gdańsk and senior representatives of the guild, and Strzycki was even teased with the name “poor Negro”.
Hurt by unjust opinions, he developed his talent in secret, in a rented granary where his stone works became more and more beautiful. Soon after, he married a rich lady from Gdańsk and it was only then that the citizens of Gdańsk accepted him. This marriage opened the doors to a successful career.
Already a man of means, he designed an elegant house built in the years 1727-28 at this spot in the Gdańsk Szafarnia – next to his workshop. It is considered to be more beautiful than many of the residences of the patriarchs.
The stone building met with popular approval and the master gained a large number of clients. People admired the beautiful proportions of the baroque house and its ornaments: chubby cherubs, oval and rectangular windows tastefully incorporated into the structure of the building, the sphinxes placed on stone plinths, protecting the house, and a portal of outstanding beauty featuring the coat of arms of the Strzyckis family - the head of a black boy against a golden background. In designing his coat of arms the master never forgot the injustices that he suffered at the hands of the craftsmen and citizens of Gdańsk and although the building now houses an elegant hotel it is still called “Dom pod Murzynkiem” (House of the Black Boy).