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Thursday, 6 November 2014
Silver Tea Service Returns to Tsarskoye Selo - A Gift from Grand Duchess Anastasia
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 58 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
A descendant of Pierre Gilliard has donated items to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. The items originally belonged to Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962) -  French language tutor to the five children of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia from 1905 to 1918. A beautiful silver tea service and a set of silver cutlery - 32 pieces in total - was donated to the museum by Gilliard’s niece - Françoise Gaudet, who lives in Geneva, Switzerland. The objects were originally presented to Gilliard in 1909 by the tutor’s August pupil, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna - the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II. The items were made by masters of the famous I. E. Morozova firm, supplier to the Russian Imperial Court.

Both sets are preserved in their original oak cases, on the cover of each is a metal plate with an Gilliard’s engraved monogram and labeled in French - "1-er Janvier 1909 de la part de S.A.I. Madame la Grande Duchesse Anastasie Nicolaevna». The tiny keys have also been preserved, thus allowing the beautifully preserved cases to be opened and locked.

Gilliard’s monogram is also engraved in Cyrillic on each piece of silver. The tea service includes teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug, fork, serving spoon, tongs and a strainer. The silver cutlery service includes forks, spoons, knives, and ladle.

“The silver cutlery service consists of only eight (rather than twelve), spoons, forks and knives. Madame Gaudet shared a family story, explaining that it was only a partial service. Grand Duchess Anastasia, starting from 1909, presented her teacher with one cutlery set per year, by 1916 she had presented a total of eight settings, each consisting of a spoon, knife and fork. Sadly, Pierre Gilliard did not have time during his stay in Russia to use them, however, he managed to bring them back to Switzerland after the Revolution, where he settled in Lausanne, keeping the gifts as a remembrance of the imperial family, and his pupil” - says Iraida Bott, Deputy Director for Research and Education at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia and Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 06 November, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:41 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 7 November 2014 6:54 AM EST
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Draws Record Number of Visitors
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Entrance to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo
Despite the situation in Ukraine, Western sanctions and a 20% drop in the number of visitors from North America and EU countries to Russia this year, Tsarskoye Selo reported a record number of visitors during its summer season. From May to September, more than 2.5 million people visited the palace-museum complex, an increase of 100 thousand over last year.  

In order to facilitate the maximum number of tourists during the summer months the museum again extended its visiting hours to the Catherine and Alexander Palaces, from 8.00 to 20.00, and on Mondays to 21.00. 

The most popular museums were the Catherine Palace and Park, as well as the Alexander Palace, the Hermitage, Turkish Bath, and White Tower. The Agate Pavilion, which opened after a complete restoration last fall also welcomed a large number of visitors. 

Two unique exhibits in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace attracted a great deal of interest as well: The Return of the Fan and Serving Magnificence: Suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court

The main attraction for 2014, however, was the opening of the new museum dedicated to the First World War. The opening of the museum in the Sovereign's Martial Chamber coincided with the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

The Catherine Palace and Park was also voted No. 3 of Russia’s Top 10 Attractions among the winners of TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice 2014.

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve was awarded the TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence 2014, based on the number of excellent reviews left by visitors to the palace-museum complex. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 October, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:41 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 22 October 2014 3:50 AM EDT
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Monday, 20 October 2014
Artefacts Stolen by Nazis Returned to Tsarskoye Selo
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 58 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Note: I would like to draw your attention to the video included with this news post. The audio is in Russian, however, do not allow that to deter you from watching it. First, you will see the four artefacts that were stolen by the Nazis, and now returned to Tsarskoye Selo. Second, you will see some archival film footage of the destroyed Catherine and Alexander Palaces which was filmed shortly after the liberation of Pushkin by the Red Army. The scenes of destruction are truly shocking. The footage also shows the Nazi cemetery dominated by an SS monument, in the square in front of the Alexander Palace - PG
A German family has returned museum treasures stolen from Tsarskoye Selo during WWII. Jens and Franziska Harmzen hope that the act might help strengthen ties between the Russian and German people and set an example to other owners of war trophies.

The artefacts arrived from Munich on Monday and presented to the Tsarskoye State Museum Preserve near St. Petersburg. Palace-museum staff compared the original inventory markings on the items, matching them with those on their expansive archival inventories, confirming that they had originated at the Catherine and Alexander Palaces. 

A rare book from the personal library of Emperor Alexander I, two vases and an icon which belonged to one of the maids of honour of Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, are among the returned treasures.

The book is bound in red morocco leather, with gold trim. It was published at Paris in 1810, the 10th volume of the collected works of Francois Fenelon, the emperor's favourite writer. The volume is from the personal library of Alexander I, a small room which has not survived. 

The icon has an interesting provenance. According to the inscription on the back of the icon of the Kazan Mother of God can be seen an inscription noting that it belonged to Countess Anastasia Hendrikova, the maid of honour of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna .

She survived all that befell the family of Nicholas II by following the Romanovs into exile, first in Tobolsk, then to Ekaterinburg, where she was placed under house arrest in the Ipatiev House with the Imperial family and other faithful retainers. They were all shot by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918 - there were no survivors.

During WWII Nazi soldiers, who occupied the town of Pushkin where the Catherine and Alexander Palaces are located, it was common for them to send their stolen trophies back home to Germany. Thus, one of the German families came into possession of the icon and the rare book, and the other one acquired the luxurious vases. The descendants of the two families got married, and their fathers handed down the treasures to the couple.

"My father wrote to his mother every day. Here, for example, a letter of 5 October 1941. Father writes:" Last night, I and Arnold were in Tsarskoye Selo, in the famous palace of the Russian tsar. During this time we often came under heavy fire. During the last rays of daylight, the palace sparkled with gold. But at the same time it became clear that outside the palace was severely damaged, "- says Jens Harmzen.

"Before his death, my father talked a lot about the war. And once I reminded him of the stored items at home from Tsarskoye Selo. We decided to return these things to their rightful place. Hopefully, this will help strengthen the ties between our peoples, as well as encourage other holders of stolen property from the war time to return them back to Russia. " - Said Franziska Harmzen.

The artefacts will be returned to their rightful place in the Alexander Palace. The black vase with painted irises will be placed on one of the shelves in the Pallisander Room, the olive green vase and icon - in the Maple Room. The volume of Fenelon will be placed in the Imperial Library.



During the Second World War, the Alexander Palace housed the German army staff and the Gestapo. The cellars became a prison and the square in front of the palace a cemetery for members of the SS (see film footage in video). Prior to the Germans advance on Tsarskoye Selo, the museum staff managed to evacuate some of the exhibits, the rest were lost to history. Hitler's armies organized special units who were engaged solely in the theft of works of art. Artefacts and treasures that could not be evacuated were destroyed. Museum staff estimate that more than half of the exhibits in the Catherine Palace were irretrievably lost. The Alexander Palace was almost completely looted.
The search for the treasures stolen from the Catherine and Alexander Palaces at Tsarskoye Selo was launched shortly after the town was liberated in 1944. The search for the missing museum treasures continues to the present day. In recent years 15 rare museum pieces have been returned either by persons who took them away in war time or their families.

The occupation of the town of Pushkin lasted 28 months, during which the former imperial residences at Tsarskoye Selo were looted and destroyed. One Soviet veteran who arrived at Pushkin together with the advance units of the Red Army in January 1944, described what he saw: "The ingenious creation of Rastrelli - the Catherine Palace - a burned out shell! Some parts of the building that stretched up to 300 meters in length had been exploded. The few rooms that had survived had been turned into latrines by the German soldiers. Precious furniture, mirrors, paintings, the silk and satin which covered the walls, was all taken away to Germany."

By 1942, the palace libraries had been raided. The Nazis helped themselves to some 6-7 thousand books in French and more than 5,000 books and manuscripts in Russian, many of which were extremely rare.

As the Nazis launched their siege on Leningrad, they had circulated a special list prepared by a German art historian at the direct order of Hitler. The list contained information on 55 objects and their precise locations. The order instructed the Nazis to specifically target 17 museums, 17 archives, 6 churches and a library in Leningrad and the surrounding region. Among the museums listed was Tsarskoye Selo.

In 1951, a special commission of the Central Depository Museum Collections of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War was established. According to their report, more than 30 thousand artefacts had been lost or stolen from  the Catherine Palace, and more than 22 thousand from the Alexander Palace. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 October, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:43 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014 9:32 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Acquires Dress for Museum's Costume Collection
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve bought at auction in the UK a dress made at the end of the 19th century by the English fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, a supplier to the Russian Imperial Court. Dresses designed by this fashion house were worn by the last three Russian Empresses - Maria Alexandrovna, Maria Feodorovna and Alexandra Feodorovna.

"We are very excited about this acquisition, which will add to our collection of women's costume” - said Iraida Bott, Deputy Science Director for the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. “The dress is in excellent condition, and requires hardly any restoration."

Designed in the Elizabethan English style, the dark green silk dress was designed in the early 1890s for Lady Catherine Lloyd, the wife of Sir Marteine Owen Mowbray Lloyd, owner of the Bronwydd  castle estate in Cardiganshire, Wales.

This is the second dress made by the Charles Frederick Worth fashion house acquired by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve in the past year. In April, a representative of the ancient Polish noble family of Vincent George Poklevski donated his mother's dress to the museum. His mother served as maid of honour to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Custom made in 1913 for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, the dress is currently being restored. Note: see link below which contains article, photos and 2 videos - PG

The costume collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum now numbers about 1,500 items, and includes exhibits dating from the middle of the 17th - beginning of the 20th centuries. "The collection is divided into two parts” - said Iraida Bott. - “The Emperor's wardrobe, including costumes and uniforms of Emperors Peter III to Nicholas II, as well as several uniformed dresses of Catherine the Great, Alexandra Feodorovna and her daughters, among others. The collection is actively replenished through acquisitions, notably from the late 19th - early 20th century."

The palace-museum collection includes some unique items, such as costumes of Alexander I - including his wardrobe from birth until the last days of his life. Among these exhibits are his first uniform, cross-linked with an Order presented to the infant child by the Russian empress. Other items include a wedding brocade suit worn by Alexander, who, according to the deputy director of the museum, is now considered one of the most fragile items in the collection. Due to the fragility of the material, this camisole is not displayed on mannequins, but only in glass display cases, and it’s display in expositions is very rare. "Our collection also includes uniforms and other items that once belonged to Emperor Nicholas I and his four sons, including Alexander II. The palace-museum’s clothing collection of Nicholas II and his son Alexis is now the largest in the world" - said Iraida Bott.

Currently the collection is stored in the costume wardrobes made after World War II in the pre-revolutionary designs. The museum has plans to upgrade the storage facilities, which will better protect the artefacts from the effects of time, dust and insects. "Keepers of the fund constantly monitor and treat the costumes with a special compound to protect against moths, which is the number one problem," - said Iraida Bott.
For more information on the other Charles Frederick Worth dress acquired by the museum in April 2014, please refer to the following article: 

Tsarskoye Selo Receives 100-Year-Old Russian Imperial Haute Couture + 2 VIDEOS 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia and Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. 15 October, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2014 5:18 AM EDT
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Monday, 25 August 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Adds Unique Item to its Collection
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

A pair of shoes which are believed to have once belonged to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna have been
acquired by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve  
In July, the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum added a unique and valuable item to it’s collection - a pair of shoes that are believed to have belonged to the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II. The shoes are made of white fabric and decorated with a buckle. The sole is made of leather brand "VKAN 24 III 1909 g». The length of the shoe 21.5 cm and is comparable to the size of the feet of an eight-year girl. Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna was 8 years old in 1909.

The four grand duchesses were often photographed wearing matching outfits, including shoes, as depicted in the photograph below, taken in the early 20th century.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
Up until now, the vast collections of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum lacked any shoes belonging to the daughters of Nicholas II. The State Hermitage Museum are known to have several pairs of shoes that once belonged to the grand duchesses dating from their early childhood. These shoes are currently on display in the exhibition, At the Russian Imperial Court: Costumes of the 18th – Early-20th Centuries in the Hermitage Collection, which runs until September 21st at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. 

The acquisition of this pair of shoes is of special importance for the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum - acquiring  personal items of the Russian Imperial family is a priority. This exhibit will take its rightful place in the exposition of the Alexander Palace. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:15 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 August 2014 6:23 AM EDT
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Sunday, 24 August 2014
First World War I Museum in Russia Opens in Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Sovereign's Martial Chamber at Tsarskoye Selo has been restored and now houses Russia's first museum dedicated to World War One
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the August 24th, 2014 edition of the Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Irina Kruzhilina, own the copyright of the work presented below.
The first museum in Russia dedicated entirely to Russia’s participation in the First World War has opened in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), just outside St. Petersburg. Three years and 292,000,000 rubles ($8 million) were spent on the restoration of the town’s Martial Chamber, which now houses an exhibition titled ‘Russia in the Great War’. The museum features vehicles, military paraphernalia, documents, and even gas masks used for animals. 
To read the full article re-published on Royal Russia News, please click on the link below:

First World War I Museum in Russia Opens in Tsarskoye Selo 

© Irina Kruzhilina / Russia Beyond the Headlines. 24 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:42 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 August 2014 5:55 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Serving Magnificence: Suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

This unique exhibition, dedicated to the Russian and foreign official purveyors to the Imperial Court of Russia in the 1800s - early 1900s, was a success of last year and now re-runs from June 10 to September 30, 2014, on the Second Floor of the Zubov Wing at the Catherine Palace 11.00–19.00 daily, except Mondays.

Serving Magnificence: Suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court, an exhibition project comprising the period from the reigns of Tsars Alexander II, Alexander II and Nicholas II, the time in the history of Russia known as the formation of Russian industry, starts on June 19th, 2013.

Our exhibition dedicated to the Russian and foreign official purveyors to the Imperial Court of Russia in the 1800s - early 1900s runs through September 30, 2013, on the Second Floor of the Zubiv Wing at the Catherine Palace from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except Mondays.

Our exhibition project comprises the period from the reigns of Tsars Alexander II, Alexander II and Nicholas II, the time in the history of Russia known as the formation of Russian industry.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Russia held several events that were remembered by the people and described in books and memoirs. The chain of celebrations comprised the coronation of Nicholas II in 1896, the founding anniversaries of St. Petersburg and its suburban imperial residences in 1903–1910, the centenary of the Russo-Napoleonic War in 1912, and the Romanov 300th Anniversary in 1913. 

All related formal receptions, balls and dinners were catered by a huge number of businesses involved in food and beverages, flowers and exotic plants, tableware and linens, clothing and footwear, musical instruments, coaches and cars, jewelry, perfumes and hairdressing. Their efforts in providing for the Tsar’s family and retinue contributed substantially to the reputation of the Imperial Court of Russia as one of the most opulent in Europe.

Suppliers to the Imperial Court were regarded as the elite of Russian traders and manufacturers. Their names — from the famous luxury makers Fabergé, Bolin, Ovchinnikov and Khlebnikov to bakers and confectioners like Filippov, Abrikosov, Borman and Einem, whose products were popular among all society levels — were familiar to everyone.

One of the first Court Suppliers, marking his status with the Russian coat of arms on his products and signboards from 1818, was Abraham Friedrich Krohn, a famed brewer. The state heraldry placement rules, established by 1856, gave the right to approved manufacturers, artists, craftsmen and Imperial Court Suppliers to put the coat of arms on their signboards. Suppliers to Grand-Ducal Courts had to apply for the Emperor’s permission to use the coat of arms together with customer monograms.

The official title of Imperial Court Supplier was an honour available to applicants after 10 years of a steady supply of (preferably their own) products, with reasonable prices and no complaints. The non-descendible title was limited to supply period and could be awarded to qualifiers only twice a year, on Christmas and Easter.

Since 1901, the mark of Court Supplier was the Russian minor coat of arms, with a ribbon below showing the supplier’s status (Imperial or Grand-Ducal) and conferment year. After Russia entered the First World War, the assignment rules changed for the last time in 1914–1915 when the subjects of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey were denied eligibility.

The majority of suppliers to the Imperial Court were not luxury makers but those providing food, beverages, clothes, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and medicines. Icon-painters and suppliers of ecclesiastical objects were small in number but very significant, especially under the last Romanovs. Along with technical progress in the early 1900s, there appeared suppliers of motor vehicles and other equipment (elevators, electrics, heating and water systems, etc.), some were later renamed and are continuing to the present.

Today, over a hundred years after the flourishing of their makers, the products supplied to the Imperial and Grand-Ducal Courts are seen in a different light and even can be more informative than many other historical sources on Tsarist Russia. 

A view of the exhibition in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 20 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:50 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014 6:29 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Hosts Imperial Porcelain Exhibit
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

A new exhibit Imperial Porcelain. The Binding Thread, will premiere on July 23rd  in the Grotto Pavilion located in the Catherine Park at Tsarskoye Selo. The exhibit coincides with the 270th anniversary of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Exhibition organizers are heralding the exhibit as a unique opportunity to trace the history of the St. Petersburg school of porcelain art. The event will showcase approximately 200 works, including a number of rare porcelain pieces from the Imperial Porcelain Factory (still in operation) and from the storage rooms of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. The collection from the latter presents Russian, Western European and Far Eastern porcelain, the formation of a collection which is inextricably linked with the history of three centuries of the imperial residence.

Tsarskoye Selo was the venue for important state receptions for nearly two centuries, hosting formal dinners, balls and masquerades. The summer residence was also a favourite of the imperial family, where they found peace and solitude. The palace interiors were decorated with splendid vases of various shapes and sizes, with moulded handles, and unique pieces of porcelain depicting the famous paintings by European masters from the Imperial Porcelain Factory (IPE), who worked exclusively for the needs of the Imperial Court.

The exhibition Imperial Porcelain. The Binding Thread, runs until September 30, 2014 at the Grotto Pavilion (above) located in the Catherine Park at Tsarskoye Selo. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:59 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014 9:03 AM EDT
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Friday, 4 July 2014
The History and Development of Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

To mark the 304th anniversary of the Tsarskoye Selo, celebrated on July 5, 2014, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg published on its website an extensive collection of materials related to this memorable date. Historical documents, rare photographs, postcards, books, publications, revealing the three-century history of Tsarskoye Selo are now available to a wider audience.

As you know, June 24 (July 5), 1710 Peter I gave to his future wife Catherine Sarskaja Manor, located 25 km from St. Petersburg. That date is considered the foundation day of Tsarskoye Selo. The name "Sarskaya Manor" (a high place) was given to those lands due to a small Swedish manor house, located there in the early 18th century. In 1702, those territories were liberated by Russian troops. After the expulsion of the Swedish, the manor, which had been transferred into the possession of the Governor-General of the liberated territory, Alexander Menshikov, became known as the Sarskoye Selo.

In 1710, Peter I decided to give the lands to his future wife Catherine. The fact was mentioned in a letter of Alexander Menshikov to Koporie commandant, Larion Dumashev, of June 24 (July 5), 1710: "His Majesty is pleased to give Catherine Sarskaya and Slavyanskaya manors in Koporie country along with the associated villages, including the peasants and all the lands. As you receive the letter, give those manors with all the associated villages to her, and remove the manors from the accountant books; and send a report on the amount of yards, and fields, and woods, and hay meadows, and any land in the manors."

In 1717, a building for the summer residence of Empress Catherine I - the future Catherine Palace was laid in Tsarskoye Selo. Peter the Great often visited his wife’s country house. Visits of the emperor and other nobles to Tsarskoye Selo are described by A. I. Uspensky in his "Historical panorama of St. Petersburg and its environs. Tsarskoye Selo," available on the Presidential Library website:"August 7, 1724, according to furir books, His Imperial Majesty and the Empress came with a visit to Tsarskoye Selo; August 8, all the ministers and members of the aristocracy came there; August 9, on Sunday, was the consecration of the church took place in Tsarskoye Selo; after the liturgy 13 guns fired three times; ate all the ministers and Synod members (Archbishops George Dashkov of Yaroslavl, Theophanes Prokopovich of Pskov and Alexei Titov of Vyatka) ate in chambers in the village and stayed until midnight."

In 1728, the estate of the Empress passed to the crown princess Elizabeth, who unfolded there a serious construction. From 1741, Tsarskoye Selo had been the official residence of the Russian monarchs. In the second half of the 18th century, not only the palace with its front yard was constructed, but also the park, hydraulic works and houses. This was described in detail in the "Historical panorama of St. Petersburg and its environs. Tsarskoye Selo": "In 1728, Tsarskoye Selo became a patrimony of Princess Elizabeth Petrovna. Having ascended the throne, Elizabeth did not forget Tsarskoye Selo, and gradually, within a few years, turned the modest Peter Palace into a fantastically luxurious place to rival Versailles."

In 1808, by decree of the Emperor Alexander I, a single town called Tsarskoye Selo was formed. Its reconstruction plan was developed by architect V. I. Geste. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the population of Tsarskoye Selo reached 14, 000 inhabitants. Even then, it was a comfortable town with good rail links, water supply, sewerage, telegraph, telephone and radio station.

The website of the first national electronic library of the country provides access to historical documents relating to the history of Tsarskoye Selo. Among them: "The plans of parts of Tsarskoye Selo of the St. Petersburg Province: 1838-1839" provided by the Russian State Historical Archives. In addition to the plans and schemes of Tsarskoye Selo, there is also the "project of square and the road near the house occupied by a branch of the Sofia military hospital."

Tsarskoye Selo is also famous for its educational institutions. For example, in 1811, there was opened the Imperial Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum – a higher educational institution for children of nobles in the Russian Empire, which functioned until 1843. The Lyceum became widely known in the Russian history primarily as a school, which educated Alexander Pushkin.

The Presidential Library disposes of a unique document - "Resolution on the Lyceum" of 1810, written personally by Emperor Alexander I to «Mr. Minister of Education." It describes in detail the organization of the future educational institution, the requirements for teachers and students, the lists of disciplines needed to be studied, etc. It says that the Lyceum was intended for nobles aged 10-12, "having doubtless certificates of their great morality and being totally healthy." The time for studying was set from August 1 to July 1 of the following year.

Another educational institution opened in 1902. Two years earlier, Nicholas II issued a decree, «On the opening in Tsarskoye Selo of a real school board and the construction of the house for it." The decree is held by the Presidential Library and it explains the reason for choosing the place for the educational institution: "Climatically, Tsarskoye Selo has a healthy, clean air, dry mountainous terrain and beautiful water for the younger generation. Being very close to St. Petersburg, Tsarskoye Selo has all the amenities of intellectual life of the capital (libraries, museums, scientific and educational societies, theaters, etc.), but at the same time allows, thanks to its small size, have the best behavioral surveillance and way of life of students, even outside the walls of the educational institution."

By the early 20th century, Tsarskoye Selo was one of the most developed towns of the Russian Empire. After the revolution, the palaces and mansions of Tsarskoye Selo housed child care institutions, and the town became known as Detskoye Selo. In 1937, the town was renamed to Pushkin to commemorate the centenary of the death of the great Russian poet.

The Presidential Library website also makes available rare photos of Tsarskoye Selo. Among them: "Dacha of Alexander III», «A lane to the zoo," "Big whim", "Chinese Village", "Aleksander gate of Catherine park in Tsarskoye Selo."

The Presidential Library’s collections are constantly enriched with new interesting materials about the history of Tsarskoye Selo - Pushkin. Anyone can access them either on the website of the Presidential library or in electronic reading rooms. The first national electronic library of the country is designed to preserve and make available the most important documents on the history, theory and practice of the Russian state using modern technology. To date, the Presidential Library holdings include more than 320,000 electronic materials, over 110, 000 of them are freely available on the website. 
© Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library. 04 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:14 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 July 2014 6:27 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 June 2014
Tsarskoye Selo Hosts Fan Exhibit
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 2 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The unique exhibition The Return of the Fan, set out at the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace, showcases a number of the restored items for the first time. Its highlights are some very valuable 18th-century fans, as well as fans from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  

The Tsarskoye Selo collection of over 100 hand fans includes Western European, Oriental and Russian items of the 1700s (our historical collection) and of the 1800s–1940s, purchased from antique stores and private collectors and donated to the museum over the past years. 

Forty nine fans in our collection were restored during 2010–2013 by a team of high-class professionals from the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO and the company Phenomen (Moscow), as part of the governmental program “Russian Culture (2006-2011)”.

The restorers' names: L.V. Getjman, Y.A. Voronin, O.S. Golovliova, T.A. Zhdanova, S.V. Krasnova, T.A. Levykina, M.E. Mailyan, S.V. Medvedeva, O.S. Popova,    Y.V. Savkova,    E.S. Sinitsyna, N.V. Solomatina, S.G. Tyutimova, A.Y. Utekhina, O.V. Frolova,  N.N. Tsvetkova,  E.Y. Chepeleva, A.V. Shulinina, T.V. Yurjeva.

All works were supervised by the highest-category artist and restorer N.P. Sinitsyna, head of textile and leather restoration. The masters literally gave a new life to these delicate works of art and made their display possible.

Conceptually, the exhibition draws on cultural phenomena of different ages and lands – Europe, Russia and the Far East, meeting like the sticks of an imaginary fan spread out in time. Little concentrated on the history and production centers of fans, it uses modern scenography tools to accentuate artistic and semantic properties of these exquisite objects, their lightness and captivating beauty, and to recreate the atmosphere of a ball and a holiday – so natural for this fragile and elegant attribute of aristocratic lifestyle.

The fans emerge from the darkness like bright fluttering butterflies. They shimmer in silver and gold. Their colours play in the rays of light and cast lacy shadows. Reflected in the mirrors, they bring a nostalgia for the refined beauty of bygone eras, which is lacking so much in our pragmatic time. 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 22 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 22 October 2014 3:48 AM EDT
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