Bonhams Offers a Piece
of the Winter Palace

Estimated at £150,000 - £200,000, the intricate design and range of materials, from coral to onyx and turquoise, reflects the legendary opulence of the Russian Empire.

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A striking, circular table originally placed in the Golden Drawing Room in the Winter Palace, the main residence of the Russian Imperial family in St. Petersburg, will be sold in the Russian Sale at Bonhams New Bond Street on 1st December. Estimated at £150,000 - £200,000, the intricate design and range of materials, from coral to onyx and turquoise, reflects the legendary opulence of the Russian Empire.

The table was originally commissioned as a gift for the Empress Alexandra, the wife of Tsar Nicholas I and the table became part of the original furnishing of the Imperial Winter Palace. The table was then placed within the Golden drawing room, which was used by the future Empress Maria Aleksandrovna, and was renowned as the most lavishly decorated room in her personal suite. The Golden Drawing Room was used for private receptions and Christmas celebrations for the Imperial family.

The storming of the Winter Palace became an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution. In the late 1920s many private rooms of the Imperial family were stripped of their original furnishings and anything else that might remind the public about Russia's Imperial past. Most of the furnishings, including the table, were sold through Antikvariat, which was a state-run commission shop that catered to foreigners and diplomats. The table ultimately ended up in Germany.

Today the Golden Drawing room in the Winter Palace houses part of the Hermitage museum collection. Though the room has retained its original decor, few of its original furnishings have survived.

Yelena Harbick, Director of Russian Fine and Decorative Arts comments: "Items from former Russian Imperial palaces are incredibly rare, and few come with such remarkably documented provenance. This table is an exceptional opportunity for international collectors to not only acquire a Russian decorative masterpiece, but to procure their very own piece of Russian history."

Source: Art Daily
27 September, 2010