Agate Rooms
Masterpiece of Russian Stone-Cutters

The Agate Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo.

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On New Year’s Eve the restored Agate Rooms in the former summer residence of the Russian tsars in Tsarskoye Selo, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful suburbs of St. Petersburg, have opened their doors to the first visitors.

During the Second World War Agate Rooms were robbed of everything and destroyed by the fascists, who occupied Tsarskoye Selo. The unique Amber Room was stolen from the luxurious Catherine Palace at that time too. Despite the fact that it has not been found yet, it was fully restored by the Russian masters. Next on turn are the Agate Rooms, which have survived by some miracle. We know that they are part of the Cameron Gallery Ensemble, which is adjacent to the Catherine Palace. The latter was created by a Scottish architect, Charles Cameron, on order from the Russian Empress Catherine the Great – in the antique style. The exquisitely adorned rooms became the personal apartments of Catherine the Great. The point is that the Russian Empress liked to look through official documents, to answer letters and to do her writing work there very much.

The Agate Rooms were restored by the St. Petersburg stone-cutters – the ones who have restored the Amber Room. Before they began their restoration work, they had studied both the materials and the technologies, which were used to re-create the interiors, for 7 years. The scientific restoration started in 2010. And on December 27th, 2011, 2 out of 7 Agate Rooms, including the Study and the Library, opened. In an interview with the Voice of Russia the well-known St. Petersburg artistic restorer Boris Igdalov said:

"Visitors to the Agate Rooms can see practically all types of interior trimmings there, including the wonderful parquet floors, rich bronze ornaments, gilded ceilings, and of course, a great number of paintings. The Russian Empress, continues Boris Igdalov, wanted very much the interiors of her apartments to be decorated with stones so that they would remind her of the Versailles Palace in Paris. As you might remember, France led the fashion world in the 18th century, and Russia regarded it as the leader too. The work of the St. Petersburg stone-cutters remains unparalleled in the world, Boris Igdalov says. All stones, including the jasper, were brought to St. Petersburg from the South Ural Region and from Bashkortostan. Don’t forget that jasper is a very firm material, and it is very hard to polish it."

As you see, the Agate Room and the Library have now been added to the famous 300-metre long suite of rooms of the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. There’re plans to complete the restoration of the unique monument of the decorative-applied art of the 18th century by September, 2013.

Source & Copyright: The Voice of Russia
8 January, 2012