Tsarskoye Selo Receives 2 Awards Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Photo: Directors of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve hold the awards and trophies received at the 2013 Museum Olympus Awards ceremony. Included are Deputy Director for Science and Education, Dr. Iraida Bott (second from left) and Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve Director, Olga Taratynova (third from left) Photo Credit: Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
The 2013 Museum Olympus Awards ceremony was held on December 2nd and saw Tsarskoye Selo win two Mnemosyne statuettes in the categories: Exhibition Project of the Year and Museum Book of the Year.
Our first winning nominee is Serving Magnificence, a large joint exhibition dedicated to suppliers to the Imperial Court of Russia and to the Romanov 400th Anniversary. Called a breakthough of the year for showing the backstage of court life like never before, this project drew over eight thousand visitors during its three-month run in the summer.
The other winner is the e-book about Russia’s role in the First World War, a special project developed by Tsarksoye Selo and designers from Mantrastudio. This is the first e-book ever nominated for the Museum Olympus Awards. It should become available at App Store in the early 2014, paving a way for our museum Russia in the Great War which is to open at the Martial Chamber next year.
Tsarskoye Selo was nominated in three categories this year.
The awards of the St. Petersburg museum community have been handed out by the St. Petersburg Culture Committee since 2008. Our first Mnemosyne came in 2010 for Museum of the Year. Now, Tsarskoye Selo has two more.
For more information on the exhibition, Serving Magnificence, please refer to the following link;
Tsarskoye Selo is another step closer to a revival of the Children’s Rooms' collections at the Alexander Palace, thanks to recent donations from the International Association of Doll Artists (IADA).
Svetlana Pchelnikova, President of IADA and our Friends Society’s Art Patron, handed the donations over to the Museum at the 9th International Doll Salon in Moscow.
The most valuable gifts are two antique dolls (see above). One of the 1900s by the Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets (S.F.B.J.). The other is a German Kestner doll of the 1860s-90s in a long white dress with a black lace apron and a lush black wig. Dolls made by these firms were created for the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, who played with them in the Children’s Rooms of the Alexander Palace.
The other gifts include a modern replica of an old black toy carriage with a Prussian crown (above left), a toy tricycle (above right), and three replicas of some late 1800s – early 1900s dolls (below left), made by the Mexican artist Patricia Ramos Molina in 2010–12.
A German benefactor Nadezhda Othmer donated antique children’s fishnet gloves to the Museum. Lyudmila Titova of Sergiev Posad added to our collection some publications from the late 1800s – early 1900s: La mode illustrée #8 of 25 February 1872, a coloured gravure inset to La mode illustrée #1 of 1870, a children’s book Our Menagerie of 1906, and clothes for children and dolls. (below right)
The IADA members are very enthusiastic about the recreation of the imperial children’s doll collection. This project started in 2010 and now brings together over 50 specialists from different countries of the world.
More Rare WWII Photographs of Tsarskoye Selo Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Señor Antonio Caballero has granted permission to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve the rights to use for museum purposes thirty digital copies of the photographs of Tsarskoye Selo taken during the winter of 1941-42 by his grandfather, a member of the Spanish Blue Division accompanying the German Army on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Señor Caballero cherishes his grandfather’s album of nearly forty 18x14 photographs showing Leningrad’s suburbs of Pushkin, Peterhof, Gatchina and Ropsha. He personally digitized over thirty of them and kindly sent the copies to Tsarskoye Selo.
Especially marveled by specialists at Tsarskoye Selo is the photograph of the painted ceiling in the Palace Chapel, which so far could have been only imagined from its description in a pre-war inventory.
These photographs are precious witnesses of the history of Tsarskoye Selo and indispensable for its ultimate restoration.
The Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Preserve has received a gift of items that once belonged to Alexandra Tegleva (1884-1955), the head-nurse maid to the children of Nicholas II. She later married Pierre Gilliard in 1922. The items were recently donated to the museum by her 83-year-old niece, Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht, who lives in France.
One piece of jewellery - a brooch, which was presented to Tegleva on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913 shows the personal coat of arms of the Romanovs, the golden griffin. The brooch is decorated with four rubies and one diamond. The second item is a pocket watch made by Pavel Buhre (Supplier of His Majesty's Court). According to the inscription, the gift was presented to Tegleva by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on Christmas Day, 1904.
From 1901, Alexandra Tegleva (known as “Shura” to the Imperial family) served as a nurse for the imperial children. She had a room on the second floor of the Alexander Palace, next to the rooms of grand duchesses. She voluntarily followed the Imperial family into exile to Tobolsk. When the children were moved to the Ipatiev House at Ekaterinburg, Tegleva was not allowed to join them and sent back to Tobolsk. In 1920, she escaped Russia via Vladivostok with Pierre Gilliard. They lived for a brief period in Paris with the family of the Nikolai Sokolov, investigator of the murders of the family of Nicholas II. In 1922, she married Pierre Gilliard and they later settled in Lausanne, Gilliard's hometown.
All documents related to Pierre Gilliard and Alexandra Tegleva, are now kept in the Pierre Gilliard Foundation at the Cantonal University Library (BCU) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht and her family allowed the staff of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve to copy a number of documents, including Pierre Gilliard’s personal collection of 200 photos, and granted the right to use them for exhibition and research purposes. Among them - letters to Gilliard's parents and brother during his first years at the Alexander Palace, his memories of life in Siberia and his stay with Kolchak, letters from Tsesarevich Alexei, postcards, and sheet music set to a prayer written by Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna.
In addition, Ms. Gilliard Knecht transferred to the museum photographs of a Gilliard as a young man and in old age, taken not long before his death in 1962, two photos of Alexandra Tegleva taken in the 1940s and 50s, and a satin towel embroidered by Tegleva depicting the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin.
Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht lived with Alexandra Tyeglev and Pierre Gilliard for eight years. They regaled their niece with tales of their happy years with the last tsar and his family at Tsarskoye Selo, and the terrible months of exile in Siberia. After the Revolution, Tegleva maintained a memorial room in which there were pictures of the Imperial children, her pupils.
Royal Scots Dragoons Present Another Gift to Tsarskoye Selo Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have honoured their former Colonel-in-Chief, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, by donating their late 1920s uniform boots to Tsarskoye Selo in September 2013.
The Scots DGs earlier added their modern Colonel’s field camouflage uniform to our collection which still suffers the lacunae inflicted by the 1917 revolution, sales of art objects in the 1920s-1930s and the German occupation of Tsarskoye Selo in 1941-44. Although the core of our military costume holdings was saved during World War II, a lot of items like shoulder and waist belts, shoulder boards, epaulettes, accoutrements and footwear, were lost.
Our Museum keeps a 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) Colonel’s uniform set that belonged to Tsar Nicholas II. The set includes dress, everyday and patrol uniforms, several headwear items, breeches, trousers, accoutrements, but unfortunately no footgear – until now!
We much appreciate the historical ties between Tsarkoye Selo and the Royal Scots Greys, which remain as good as a century ago thanks to the efforts of the regiment’s officers and personally Major RWB Robert Maclean, Curator of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum in the Edinburgh Castle, UK.
For more information on Tsar Nicholas II and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, please refer to the following links;
In 2009, the Committee for State Control, Use and Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (KGIOP) in St. Petersburg held an auction, which resulted in the former Tsar’s Pavilion of the abandoned Imperial train station at Tsarskoye Selo being transferred in a long-term (49 years) lease to the Russian firm, LLC Samsara. Under the terms of KGIOP, the tenant agreed to conduct a technical examination of the building and begin restoration within 3 years. The restoration was to be completed by 2010 to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Tsarskoye Selo.
Four years later, the Samsara company has failed to comply with the terms of the lease. In a attempt to force the tenant to begin the restoration of the building, KGIOP filed a claim in court earlier this year. Samsara was charged with failure to fulfill contractual obligations, and fined 100 thousand Rubles. The court also ordered the company to carry out the restoration work which it had originally agreed to in the lease.
However, Samsara not only avoided paying the fine, because at the timing of litigation, but also failed to pay rent on the property. As a result KGIOP was forced to file charges for the second time in court last month with the same requirements.
This has now prompted local historians and preservation groups to act. Activists with the Russian web site Demokrator.ru have now began collecting signatures on a petition to the Governor of St. Petersburg urging the restoration of the Tsar’s Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo. In addition, the groups want the historic building handed over to the state and adapted as a museum.
The group has proposed that the pavilion be used as a branch of the Railway Museum, or a museum dedicated to the last tsar and his family. They also note that many museums in the city complain about the lack of space for their exhibits, therefore noting the pavilion as a wonderful option for them.
The history of the Tsar’s Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo began in 1895, when a wooden building was constructed for use as the Imperial Train Station. The station was part of a private line of the Tsarskoye Selo Railway which carried the Imperial train between Tsarskoye Selo and St. Petersburg. The train was considered a much faster means of transport to and from the capital while the tsar was in residence at the Alexander Palace.
In 1912, the wooden building was destroyed by fire, and in its place by the architect Vladimir Pokrovsky, with the participation of Mikhail Kurilko built a new pavilion in the Neo-Russian style. After the Revolution, the imperial rail line was demolished, the Soviets renamed the pavilion but the station began to gradually deteriorate.
During the Second World War, the building was badly damaged in the line of the German defences, the Imperial Hall suffering extensive damage. Attempts to restore the historic monument since the war have created meagre results. The Tsar’s Pavilion is an historical monument of federal importance and part of the nearby historic Fedorovsky Gorodok which is currently under restoration.
I have personally made several visits to the Tsar’s Pavilion over the years, and as recently as June of this year. Each visit brings greater despair and fading hope of its survival. The pavilion is surrounded by a poorly manufactured fence, one that has been broken into time and time again. Decades of neglect and the harsh elements have taken their toll on the facades and interiors. During one visit I actually entered the pavilion and was shocked at what I found: mould on the ceilings and walls, graffiti and garbage every where, even dirty old mattresses thrown in a corner, all clear evidence of this former grand pavilion now used by local drug addicts and the homeless. Many of the unique paintings by Mikhail Kurilko in the old Russian style have already been lost, the magnificent stone carvings on the facades have been eroded and broken off.
Some of Mikhail Kurilko's paintings have miraculously survived
We must not lose this unique architectural and artistic monument, one which is an integral part of the artistic ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo. Restoration must be done by professional craftsmen in order to restore and preserve the building’s historic appearance. The building must remain accessible to the public as a museum. Let us hope that the current legal action by KGIOP combined with the action taken by local activists will be loud enough that the Governor of St. Petersburg will step in to save this historic building.
The Agate Rooms: Revival of an 18th-Century Masterpiece Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 49 seconds Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
The Agate Rooms of the Cold Bath pavilion in the Catherine Park has re-opened to visitors after an extensive restoration, offering an exhibition dedicated to their revival and a tour of the interiors created by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron for Empress Catherine II of Russia.
History was kind to Cameron’s creation by preserving the Agate Room’s original design as a unique work of art from the 1700s. They are the only interiors of Tsarskoye Selo to have retained their original finish despite the damages and losses inflicted by the Second World War and the inexorable course of time.
The unique décor of the Agate Rooms survived almost entirely, notwithstanding the devastations of the war. Since no restoration was carried out in these rooms in the 1900s, restoration experts were able to carry out the conservation of the original 18th-century finish nearly undistorted by renovations of later epochs. Preservation of the authentic décor elements was the basis of the restoration concept in accordance with the Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.
Postponed first due to the more pressing revival of the Catherine Palace and then the recreation of the legendary Amber Room, the long-awaited work on the Agate Rooms was put on the Museum's list of target restoration projects in 2003.
Between 2005 to 2011 a full range of research work was conducted, with restoration designs and methods developed and approved by the Museum and state authorities for cultural heritage preservation.
Created by Charles Cameron for the Empress Catherine II, the uniquness of the Agate Rooms is unrivalled
From 2010 the restoration of the Agate Rooms was carried out and completed in 2013. The main designer and contractor was the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop which had established an impeccable reputation for recreating the Amber Room. The Workshop developed research and planning documents and completed conservation and restoration of the Agate Rooms.
The overall project cost, including the adjacent Hanging Garden's renovation, exceeded EUR 9 million. 76 percent of the amount was provided by the Russian Railways and TransSoyuz Charitable Foundation.
A restoration council was established to ensure a scientific monitoring of the work by representatives of Tsarksoye Selo; the Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (KGIOP); the SpetsProektRestavratsiya Institute; and the Ilya Repin Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The expenditure of funds was monitored by a special working group including representatives of Tsarskoye Selo, TransSoyuz and the State Hermitage Museum.
In contrast to traditions of the old school of restoration/recreation of objects lost to WWII, the work at the Agate Rooms showed the possibility of and the need for preservation of authentic objects in accordance with European practices.
The uniqueness of the Agate Rooms is unrivalled. There are no other historic interiors like these, either in Russia or anywhere else in the world. The high aesthetic quality and degree of their preservation assert a continuity of humanistic values, emphasizing St. Petersburg's unofficial status of the cultural capital of Russia and creating a global image of the city.
The Zubov Wing is an extension to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, that was named after one of Empress Catherine II’s favourites. It was constructed between 1779 and 1785 to the design of the architect Yury Velten (1730–1801). Its construction was supervised by Ilya Neyelov (1745–1793).
The rooms on the second storey were designed and finished by Charles Cameron and Giacomo Quarenghi (1744–1817). They became the private apartments of the Empress and comprised the Domed Hall, Chinese Hall, Silver Study, Bedchamber, Blue Study, Mirror Study, Raphael Room, Maid-of-Honour’s Room and Dressing-Room.
Cameron’s interiors formed an integral complex and were linked to the Cold Bath pavilion by the hanging garden.
The rooms on the ground floor, also finished by Cameron and Quarenghi, were used by Catherine’s favourites: in succession Grigory Potemkin, Alexander Lanskoi, Alexander Dmitriyev-Mamonov and Platon Zubov. Later relatives and close friends of the imperial family lived in this part of the palace. The wing had its own separate entrance that also came to be named after Zubov.
The Asiatic (Turkish Room) of Emperor Alexander II. Artist: Edward Petrovich Hau
In 1841, in view of the approaching marriage of the heir to the throne (the future Alexander II), the architect Ippolito Monighetti was ordered to refurbish the rooms in the Zubov Wing. The apartments on the ground floor were given to the Grand Duke, and Catherine II’s former rooms to his bride – Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine).
Alexander II’s private apartments comprised the Entrance Hall, Reception Room, Standard Room, Arsenal Room, Pantry, Asiatic (Turkish) Room, Study, Dressing-Room, Valet’s Room and Wardrobe. Three of them – the Study, Reception Room and Dressing-Room – were intended for official receptions and working meetings.
The floors were linked by two staircases: the first, Bosquet Staircase, led from a corridor to the Domed Hall. The same corridor was connected to the small Entrance Hall where Alexander’s apartments began. The second, internal, staircase linked the Empress’s private rooms to the Emperor’s Valet’s Room.
During the Second World War the rooms of the Zubov Wing that had retained the decoration from the mid-nineteenth century suffered in a serious fire. In the 1950s they were reconstructed for the use of the naval college that was housed in this section of the Catherine Palace at that time. As a result of this work the historical dimensions of rooms were disrupted while the surviving fragments of decoration were removed and transferred to the museum storerooms.
Restoration work in 2001–04 gave the Zubov Wing back its original layout and now the ground-floor rooms are used for temporary exhibitions, the most recent: The Romanovs: From Tsarskoye Selo to Cincinnati and Serving Magnificence: Suppliers to the Russian Imperial Court.
Historical Name Restored to Pushkin's Main Railway Station Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Detskoye Selo Railway Station at Pushkin. Photo Credit: Pushkin.ru
A resolution has been signed in the city of Pushkin to restore the historical name of the city's main railway station to "Tsarskoye Selo". The central and largest railway station in Pushkin was originally opened in 1837, connecting Tsarskoye Selo with St. Petersburg. After the Revolution, the name of the town and its railway station were changed to Detskoye Selo (Children's Village). The town's name was changed again in 1937 to Pushkin, in honour of the great Russian poet. Despite this, however, the main railway station's name remained Detskoye Selo to this day. It was hoped that the restoration of the station's historical name would be reached prior to the 300th anniversary of Tsarskoye Selo in 2010, however, the decision was further delayed by special interest groups in Pushkin. The resolution was signed into effect this past week by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
It is important to note that this is not the railway station in which the last tsar and his family were sent into exile from in August 1917. Tsar Nicholas II and his family departed Tsarskoye Selo from the Alexandrovskaya Station, which is situated on the other side of the city, not far from the Alexander Palace.
Tsarskoye Selo Honours Empress Maria Alexandrovna Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
Photo Credit: Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
A bouquet of beautiful flowers from the Tsarskoye Selo Greenhouses was placed on an antique desktop in the Romanov memorial rooms at the Catherine Palace on August 8, 2013. Tsarskoye Selo is honouring the 189th anniversary of the birth of Empress Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine), the consort of Emperor Alexander II of Russia.
The event is part of the Romanov 400th Anniversary Commemoration Project observing the birth dates of the Russian monarchs connected with the history of Tsarskoye Selo, including Peter the Great, Elizabeth Petrovna, Catherine I, Alexander II, Catherine II, Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.
A loving and beloved wife and mother for 25 years, Maria’s life changed dramatically in 1865 after the tragic death of her eldest and favourite son Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich. In the 1860s and 1870s she withdrew from Court life, deeply grieved by the loss of her son, emotionally scarred by a series of attempts on the life of the Emperor, and saddened by her husband’s unfaithfulness.
Maria Alexandrovna (as she was named after her conversion to Orthodoxy) died in 1880. During her almost 40 years in Russia she initiated the establishment of the Russian Red Cross and women’s schools for all social estates. While in residence at Tsarskoye Selo, she maintained magnificent apartments in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace.