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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 ‘Hand Fan Returns’, 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: Sunday, 22 June 2014 6:31 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 May 2014
EU Prize Arrives at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo is the recipient of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for their Conservation of the Agate Rooms project
One of the most important cultural events in today’s Europe, this year’s European Heritage Congress was held in Vienna, Austria, during May 2–6. Its culmination was the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, which took place at the renowned Burgtheater on May 5.

The Tsarskoye Selo Museum was represented by Director Olga V. Taratynova and by Director Boris Igdalov of the restoration company Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop. The EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for our project Conservation of the Agate Rooms was handed out by Maestro Plácido Domingo, the world’s renowned tenor and the President of Europa Nostra, and by Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The ceremony was attended by H.E. Dr. Heinz Fisher, the Federal President of the Republic of Austria. The renowned Viennese ensemble The Philharmonics accompanied to each of the twenty seven 2014 Award Winners, who had presented their selected projects at the Excellence Fair held at the Vienna University of Technology earlier that day.

Now a certificate, commemorating the granting of the Award, and a bronze wall plaque, which is to be placed on the awarded site, arrived at Tsarskoye Selo. Director Olga Taratynova says, ‘The memorial plaque is a weighty award in all meanings. It is rather a heavy bronze bas-relief, a symbol of recognition of the incredible efforts made by our restorers, and of the methods that became the basis for our project. Following the main principle of the Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites – ‘restoration ends where speculation begins’ – we were able to preserve the patina of time. Today, our visitors can see the interiors of the Agate Rooms practically the same as they were during the era of Catherine the Great.

Agate Rooms at Tsarskoye Selo

The Agate Rooms (1780-1787) are situated on the upper floor of the Cold Bath pavilion at the Tsarskoe Selo State Museum-Preserve in St Petersburg. The suite of six rooms were part of Catherine the Great’s extensive building programme in the city, and specifically the designs of the little-known (outside Russia) Scottish architect Charles Cameron (1745-1812). Their form of decoration is remarkable, especially in terms of colour, with red jasper columns with gilt bronze capitals set against the walls lined with multicoloured jasper plates. The architectural historian Howard Colvin described them as ‘some of the most exquisitely elegant interiors in 18th century Europe’.

The rooms survived the devastations of the 20th century, including WWII, but had received no proper restoration treatment, so that the current project was able to perform conservation of the original 18th century finishes, largely undistorted by unwise renovations of later periods. This was an advantage, and removed from the debate some of the contentious issues arising from the replacement of lost elements. But the project required careful handling because jasper is a notoriously difficult stone to work. Earlier experience in recreating the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace was helpful, but here it was necessary to deal with the original forms. The outcome reinforces the validity of Colvin’s exceptional commendation.

“The Jury particularly noted the quality of the science in this important project. Geological materials like jasper present special problems to the restorer: it is an unusual stone, where an unscientific approach could cause permanent damage. The results speak for themselves.”
For more information on the restoration of the Agate Rooms at Tsarskoye Selo, please refer to the following articles:

Agate Rooms Masterpiece of Russian Stone-Cutters

Great Hall of the Agate Pavilion Opens at Tsarskoye Selo

The Agate Rooms: Revival of an 18th-Century Masterpiece + VIDEO

Restoration of Agate Rooms at Tsarskoye Selo Acclaimed by EU + VIDEO

Sculptured Deities Return to Agate Rooms' Facades + VIDEO

Update on the Restoration of the Agate Rooms

Agate Rooms at Tsarskoye Selo Now Open to Visitors + VIDEO

Update on Agate Pavilion Restoration

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve and Europa Nostra. 14 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:22 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 May 2014 8:52 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Tsarskoye Selo to Restore Imperial Farm
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The central pavilion of the Imperial Farm at Tsarskoye Selo by the Russian architect Adam Menelaws
This year, Tsarskoye Selo will begin a large-scale reconstruction of the former Imperial Farm complex. Last month, the state museum preserve announced the tender for the reconstruction of the former dairy pavilion of the Imperial Farm. The development of research, surveying and project documentation for the execution of works on the reconstruction of the building will cost 10 million Rubles ($285,000 USD). The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve note that applications will be accepted until May 7, 2014. The proposed plan would return the historical interiors of the building, which were altered in the 1920s, when the building was adapted for housing workers in the nearby agricultural institute (now the Agricultural University).

The Imperial Farm complex was built in the northern section of the Alexander Park between 1818-1822, by the Russian architect, Adam Menelaws. The farm complex was constructed in the Anglo-Gothic style and consists of  a central two-story pavilion, a dairy, two one-story wings of the cross-shaped stone cowshed (lodgings for the CD inspector, the veterinary surgeon, and cow-keepers), hay sheds, ice houses, among other buildings.

The red brick central pavilion is of particular interest. The middle section of the central façade is decorated with small octagonal gothic towers. The triangular shipets topping off the façade, as well as the towers, are fitted with a castellated parapet. The building’s façade boats a high, arrow-shaped window, and the shipets, a small, round gothic window called an archer’s hatch. 

Aerial view of the former Imperial Farm complex (background), and the Sovereign's Martial Chamber (foreground) at Tsarskoye Selo
Behind the main pavilion, in the courtyard, stands a cowshed (that housed up to 84 cows) whose corners are accented with small, sharply pitched towers.
According to an old visitors guide, "the central pavilion contains rooms for members of the tsar’s family who would come to view the farm. All the furniture of the two drawing rooms, the dining-room, the kitchen, and the four lounges in the upper story was made from the drawings of Menelas, of white maple with Gothic carving. On the walls hang engravings, dating from 1820 and representing views of Switzerland. Portraits of His Majesty Alexander I and his wife are hung in the dining room".

The area adjacent to the Imperial Farm was called the Farm Park. Its meadows were used as pasture for the grazing animals which included cattle of various breeds. Poultry farming began in 1909. The dairy-produce and eggs were used for the needs of the Imperial Court; the increase and the surplus was sold to outsiders with the permission of the Chief of the Palace Administration. 

With the exception of some wooden buildings, the Imperial Farm complex has survived almost completely intact. Restoration work was carried out during the years 1990-2003, however, due to lack of funding further reconstruction of the complex was suspended. 

In 2012 the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve decided to proceed with the restoration of the complex. The newly restored Imperial Farm will accommodate a horse museum, which will include carriages, sleighs, harnesses, and a barn to hold 30 horses. 

The farm complex will also feature  a café and mini-zoo, which will consist of poultry (chickens, geese, turkeys, pheasants) and a nursery for sheep, goats and rabbits.

“The reconstruction and restoration of the Imperial Farm complex is estimated at nearly 600 million Rubles,” said Natalia Kudryavtseva, chief architect of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum—"Completion of the work depends on the financial capacity of the museum”. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:33 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 May 2014 1:01 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Sculptured Deities Return to Agate Rooms' Facades
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
April 24, 2014, saw the return of eight restored sculptures to their historical places in the niches on the façade of the Cold Bath pavilion, which houses the unique eighteenth-century Agate Rooms in the upper floor.

The sculptures were made from Pudost stone by Jacques-Dominique Rachette in 1785–87. Their restoration was carried out by the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop.

Photos © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve.
The sculpted figures represent allegorical deities. Two figures on the Catherine Palace’s side personify Neva and Volkhov, the two main rivers of the St. Petersburg region. The north-east façade on the Catherine Park’s side has four figures: Girl with a water vessel, Young Man with a water vessel, Naiad (allegory of Neva), and Aeolid (allegory of a river god). The south-east wall facing the Maids-of-Honour Garden holds the allegories of Abundance and Prosperity.

They all had required restoration since the 1950s. Covered by layers of dirty lime paint, the figures showed multiple chips of variable sizes, as well as scratches and cracks.

Work began in the fall of 2013. After the first stage (dismantling and clearing), the restoration council approved the principles and methods of work, which included minimal intervention to the original, conservation of the stone texture, and recreation of only those fragments that affect the integrity of the composition.

Experts used the available old images of the figures to replace lost elements. Chips, dents and small lacunae were fixed with stone replacer. The natural stone’s surfaces were conserved, where possible, and treated with water repellents protecting against aggressive environments.

The Agate Rooms were opened in 2013 after extensive restoration and then closed for winter.  They are expected to re-open for visiting in June 2014. 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 29 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 April 2014 10:40 AM EDT
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