All Photos © State Hermitage Museum
On 28 July 2017, two exhibitions opened in the state rooms of the Winter Palace, one devoted to the history of fabrics, the other to their restoration. Note: headings which are underscored in red are links to additional articles and photos of the exhibits
- 29 July 2017 - 15 October 2017 -
The Main Museum Complex. St George and Picket Halls
From 29 July, the exhibition “The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. History” in the Winter Palace will be presenting for the first time the Hermitage’s textile collections in all their great variety, from prehistoric examples to 20th-century fabrics, from Antiquity and the Orient to present-day Europe.
The Hermitage possesses one of the world’s richest collections of fabrics, carpets, costumes, embroidery and lace. In its diversity, the museum’s textile collection can lay claim to encyclopaedic coverage of both historical periods and geographical areas, where fabrics were produced at any time.
The St George Hall of the Winter Palace presents the finest pieces from the State Hermitage’s textile stocks: tapestries, carpets, embroideries, lace, fabrics and clothing from Western European, Russia and the East. Here visitors can see the Fairy Godmother Gobelins tapestry that was presented personally to Nicholas II by the French President Félix Faure and has never left the Winter Palace. Among other valuable gifts to the Russian ruling house are tapestries that Peter I brought back from Paris exactly 300 years ago. One rarity is a complete set of robes for a knight of the British Order of the Garter presented to Alexander II by Queen Victoria, while the unique exhibits include a set of clothes worn by Eugene Beauharnais, Napoleon’s stepson, that came to Russia in 1839, following the marriage of his son, Maximilian, to Nicholas I’s daughter, Maria.
Also on display are examples of ceremonial outfits, military and court uniforms: dresses worn by Catherine II, Alexander III’s wife Maria Feodorovna, and the last Russian empress Alexandra Feodorovna that were made by gifted Russian and foreign craftspeople and by leading fashion houses in Europe and Russia between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Besides military uniforms, the exhibition also features striking examples from the splendid collection of banners.
As well as items from the Winter Palace and other imperial and grand ducal residences, the Hermitage stocks also contain works once owned by Russian aristocrats. The collections of the Yusupov family were especially rich, containing first-rate tapestries, clothing and lace, including a sumptuous wedding bedspread incorporating the arms of the Yusupov family and Count Sumarokov-Elston.
- 29 July 2017 - 15 October 2017 -
The Main Museum Complex. The Armorial Hall
From 29 July the exhibition “The Hermitage Encyclopaedia of Textiles. Conservation” in the Armorial Hall of the Winter Palace presents museum objects whose life has been repeatedly extended thanks to restoration.
There are banners and standards, tapestries and decorative embroideries, church vestments, civilian and military clothing, and also memorial articles once worn by Russian rulers.
Some of the exhibits have their own unique restoration history. Peter the Great’s ceremonial costume, made for the coronation of his wife Catherine as empress-consort and put on the wax figure of the Emperor after his death, and the uniform that Peter wore at the Battle of Poltava are Russian national relics that became museum exhibits as far back as the 18th century.
© State Hermitage Museum. 2 August, 2017