Lost Imperial Treasure Returned to Tsarskoye Selo Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 55 seconds Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
One of a pair of richly inlaid tables, commissioned by the Empress Catherine II for the Cold Bath’s Agate Cabinet at the Catherine Palace in the 1790s, is now back at the museum thanks to support from Russia’s Ministry of Culture.
Supposedly made at a workshop of St Petersburg’s top cabinetmaker Christian Meyer, the two tables left Tsarskoye Selo in the late 1920s to be sold at the Lepke Auction in Berlin in 1931.
The location of one of the tables is still yet unknown. While the other one, still bearing the Tsarskoye Selo inventory numbers, was auctioned by Sotheby’s, New York, in May 2009. Not sold then, it was later offered to our museum for USD 250,000, which sum was provided by the Ministry.
The recovered piece will return to its historical place of display in the Agate Rooms after the pavilion’s expected restoration in autumn 2013.
Tsarskoye Selos' Gostiny Dvor to be Auctioned Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Gostiny Dvor in Tsarskoye Selo as it looked in the early 20th century
One of the greatest architectural treasures of Russian retailing is being put up for auction. The neoclassical Gostiny Dvor shopping complex in the town of Pushkin is ‘little brother’ to another in St Petersburg. The starting price is $7.7 million.
At 10,000 square feet this is no mega-mall. It was built in 1866 during the reign of Emperor Alexander II, and houses thirteen shop units.
The town of Pushkin is also home to the former residence of the imperial family, the Tsarskoye Selo is a protected UNESCO site.
The new owner of the mall will have to agree to preserve the historical nature of the building.
Gostiny Dvor is the Russian version of a department store, with a selection of individual stores occupying separate sections of the building.
In the 19th Century, they were constructed in every large Russian town with St Petersburg’s Gostiny Dvor one of the first shopping arcades in the world.
Tsarskoye Selo Commemorative Coin Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Pacific island of Niue has issued an unusual coin puzzle commemorating Tsarskoye Selo. The silver coin is composed of five parts and reflects the history of the former palace complex of the Romanovs.
In the central part of each coin is the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the incriptions - ELIZABETH II, NIUE ISLAND (issuer), the mint's mark, 2 DOLLARS (face value), 2012 (year of issue), Ag 925 (alloy of silver).
On the reverse of the central coin is the image of the front gate of the Catherine Palace. The left coin - the effigy of Empress Elizabeth in pad printing technology. The right coin - the effigy of Emperior Nicholas II, the last tsar who was in residence before the October Revolution. The top coin - the image of the front elevation of the Catherine Palace. The bottom coin - the image of the eastern front elevation of the Cameron Gallery.
Each irregular coin is decorated by rococo ornament and an insertion of amber stylized as the decorations of the Amber room in the Catherine Palace.
All Niueans are citizens of New Zealand, and HM Queen Elizabeth II is head of state.
Romanov Quadricentenary Egg Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 5 seconds Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
In 1913 Tsar Nicholas II presented his wife, the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, the Romanov Tercentenary Egg designed and made by Carl Fabergé. This Easter gift was presented on 14th April 1913.
In 2003 Theo Fabergé, grandson of Carl Fabergé, has designed the Romanov Quadricentenary Egg which was presented to the Tsarskoye Selo Palace-Museum.
The theme of the Egg is the quadricentenary of the House of Romanov, which had been founded by Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov in 1613.
This Egg with 18 miniature decorations, celebrating the 18 Romanov Tsars, is created in solid sterling silver with sapphire blue royal guilloché enamel and 18 carat gold. The finial of the Egg is the double-headed Romanov eagle, but in fact a triple-headed eagle, so that from which ever angled viewed the double-headed eagle is visible. The base, ornamentally turned on Theo Fabergé’s Holtzapfel lathe from 1860, again celebrates the 18 Romanov Tsars with 18 deep cuts and covered with pure 24 carat gold.
The surprise within, the Romanov Griffen in sterling silver and 24 carat gold with a sword set in diamonds. The Griffen can be removed and displayed outside of the Egg.
Update on the Restoration of the Agate Rooms Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve has reported on the restoration of the Agate Rooms which began in January 2011. The progress of the restoration is monitored quarterly. This year’s second quarter checkup was carried out by representatives of the TransSoyuz Charitable Foundation (sponsor), the St Petersburg Committee on Monuments Preservation and the State Hermitage Museum.
The monitors approved of the ongoing renovation in the Large Hall and the Jasper and Oval Cabinets, and of the work of the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop restoring the pavilion’s doors, lamps, and unique 18th-century parquets of rosewood, ebony, boxwood, hornbeam, teak, amaranth, etc.
In April–June 2012, the Large Hall of the Agate Rooms had its marvelous stuccowork cleaned and fixed firmly, 60 painted fragments re-installed on the ceiling, the cultured marble facing carefully restored on the walls and in the niches (with the original finish and the post-war restoration inserts carefully preserved),
Works in the Large Hall are scheduled for completion in the late September 2012. In the Jasper Cabinet, the stone inlays on the walls are yet to be restored, while the wooden domed ceiling’s reinforcement has been accomplished.
A unique exhibition opens today at the Upper Bathhouse of the Catherine Park in cooperation with the ROSPHOTO State Museum & Exhibition Centre, which tells how photography came to Tsarskoye Selo, how the tsar’s court influenced a fashion for photography, and how the Romanov family helped boost the quality of daguerreotypes and photographs in Russia.
After the first pewter-plate photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1826 and then his partner Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre invented a photographic process using silver on copper plate in 1839, the daguerreotype came to Russia during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I and was called “writing with light”.
Photography became a favourite hobby of the Tsar’s family which, like any other, loved its life chronicled in pictures. The photographs of the “most august family” used for the press and postcards were taken by professionals, who wore awarded the title “Supplier to the Imperial Court and Photographer” after 8–10 years of flawless service.
During Alexander III’s reign, photography bloomed and competed with portrait painting. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their children, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich took photography lessons from professional “light-writers”. Particularly noteworthy in the current exhibit are a touching photograph of the little Tsarevich Alexei standing together with a guard near a snow-covered Alexander Palace and an album of photographs taken by Anna Vyrubova, Tsarina Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting and close friend.
In 1860 the architect Ippolito Monighetti built an addition to the Llama Pavilion in the Alexander Park, which was used by the Romanovs as a photography studio and laboratory. After the Tsar’s special permission of 1866, photographic ateliers opened in the town of Tsarskoye Selo: Mikhail Kozlovski’s on Konyushennaya St, the workshop of Wilhelm Lapré on Moskovskaya St, and the photographic studio “K.E. von Gann and Co” of Alexander Yagelsky on Shirokaya St.
Besides showing part of the museum’s exhaustive photographic collection, the exhibit gives visitors a chance to feel as if they are in a Tsarskoye Selo photographic studio of the past.
TheExhibition is open through September 30, 2012, from 11.00–19.00 (tickets until 18.00). Closed on Thursdays and Fridays. Admission for adults is 100 rubles.
Lack of Funds Delays Restoration Work at Feodorovsky Gorodok Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Back in October 2010, I reported in an article posted on Royal Russia News that the Feodorovsky Gorodok (Town) was to become the official residence of Patriarch Kirill at Tsarskoye Selo.
Over the years, minor repair work has been carried out which included partial restoration of the facades of the buildings in the photographs above, as well as new roofing on some of the towers which surround the town. For the most part, however, the complex has fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, funding for the project having been delayed on more than one occasion simply due to the lack of money. To retore this unique piece of Imperial Russian architectural history is expected to run into the millions of rubles.
The history of the Feodorovsky Gorodok began back in 1905. Emperor Nicholas II ordered the construction of the nearby Imperial Branch of the Railway Station which provided a rail link between St. Petersburg-Tsarskoye Selo-Pavlovsk. Today, the former Imperial station is almost unrecognizable, again having fallen into a terrible state of neglect and disrepair.
Next, came the construction of the barracks for the Imperial guards, followed by the beautiful Feodorovsky Cathedral. The Emperor personally laid the first stone it its foundation, later attending its dedication. The cathedral has undergone a truly remarkable restoration, including the iconostasis and the Lower Church.
It was then decided to build a town for the clergy. Built in the Neo-Russian style, it resembled a small Kremlin consisting of numerous buildings. Its construction is considered as the last pre-revolutionary attempt to strengthen the Russian State as a national idea.
Alexander Margolis, Chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Monuments notes: "It is a wonderful example of ancient Russian architecture. It reflects some of the most famous buildings and styles of the architecture of old Moscow, Yaroslavl, Rostov, etc."
Michael Kapral, a member of the Society of Russian Traditional Culture says: "The difficulties associated with the restoration of the Feodorovsky Gorodok will depend solely on both high ranking officials in the Kremlin, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church. The latter because the town is to include the official residence of the Russian Patriarch when he visits the St. Petersburg region."
The Society of Russian Culture is dedicated to preserving the traditions of the Tsarist Russia. It recently organized an exhibition in St. Petersburg dedicated to the Feodorovsky Gorodok, which brought together people from all walks of life who shared a common goal: the preservation and restoration of an important piece of Russian historical architecture. Organizers acknowledged the will and determination of those present to ensure that the project becomes a reality.
Romanov Portraits in the Catherine Palace Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich & Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
Housed in a row of six rooms adjoining the suite of formal halls at the Catherine Palace, the Romanov Dynasty exhibition chronologically presents many personal items of the former crowned residents at Tsarskoye Selo: from Empress Elizabeth Petrovna to the last of the Romanovs, Emperor Nicholas II. Their personal characters, tastes and interests, are reflected in formal portraits, furniture, bronzeware, porcelain and other items from the museum collections, tell the story of their over-150-year life in the residence. Here is a selection of some of the portraits that grace these rooms.
New Restoration Projects at Tsarskoye Selo Announced Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
During a press tour on April 24th Tsarskoye Selo Museum officials unveiled to the journalists what our visitors will see restored in the Catherine and Alexander Parks for the coming summer season.
Cameron Gallery Grottoes
The ground level of the Cameron Gallery, the Grottoes, whose bricked vaults had been losing their supporting capacity over the years, underwent urgent and comprehensive repair in 2010-11. Now the steps and landings of the Gala Staircase have regained waterproofing, while four newly built additional arches have reinforced the supporting structure to fully bear the weight of the Oval Staircase placed right above the vaults. The Grottoes will house a collection of antiquity style sculptures, as they originally did, and are expected to open for visiting by the end of May 2012.
The end of May is expected to also see a restored Mirror Pond in the Old Garden of the Catherine Park. Its previous restoration in the 1960/70s lacked several important reinforcements; the sidewalls began to deteriorate soon, the water was often covered with duckweed and the bottom with slime which was very difficult to clean out. The current restoration work adds reinforcement tothe sidewalls on underwater level and then will even the bottom which is to be lined with special paving slabs.
By the end of August the Alexander Park, where the Shaking Bridge over the Krestovy Canal has been restored recently, will get the Children’s Culture & Education Center in the White Tower. Almost completely destroyed during the Second World War and reconstructed in the 1990s, the White Tower is now undergoing a face-lift. One of its floors will house an interactive touching allowed exhibit and the others a medieval town computer and video installation and a creative workshop with drawing and dancing classes.