Pavlovsk to Return Treasures
to the Alexander Palace

Thousands of works of art belonging to the Alexander Palace have been on display or in storage at Pavlovsk since 1957

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A fight over treasures belonging to the Alexander Palace is brewing between the Pavlovsk Museum Reserve and the Tsarskoe Selo State-Museum Reserve.

This summer, the Alexander Palace plans to open three ceremonial halls which are currently under restoration. Once these restorations are completed, the palace of Pavlovsk must turn over items of furniture and works of art in order to complete the historical ambience of these halls. This will not be an easy achievement as many of the former treasures belonging to the Alexander Palace have been on display or in storage at Pavlovsk for more than five decades.

In 1951, the Alexander Palace was taken over by the military. In 1957 a total of 5,615 items were moved from the palace to Pavlovsk, says Komsomolskaya Pravda. Of these, nearly 200 pieces are originally from the Alexander Palaces’ three ceremonial halls: the Portrait, Semi-Circular and Marble Halls. These include 39 pieces of porcelain, 41 paintings, 73 decorative bronze pieces, and 28 pieces of furniture.

Pavlovsk is reluctant to part with these items because many of them are currently part of their current exhibition. Sadly, however, they give the false impression to visitors that these pieces originated at Pavlovsk, but rightfully belong in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo.

No specific details and no formal talks regarding the return of the treasures to the Alexander Palace has yet taken place between the two palace directors. Ludmila Koval, a curator at Pavlovsk said, “you can not just come in and take everything in a truck and drive away. Our exhibits will suffer greatly”.

According to the Tsarskoe Selo State-Museum Reserve, the Ministry of Culture has established a special commission which will deal with the formation of the museum collection. In turn, the Ministry of Culture will meet with both parties and decide the fate of the treasures. It is believed that the Ministry of Culture will have the final say and issue Pavlovsk with a formal order to return many, if not all of the treasures to the Alexander Palace.

Tsarskoe Selo State-Museum Reserve Director, Olga Taratynova is optimistic of the return of the collection and the contribution they will make to the museum's goal to preserve the historical integrity of the Alexander Palace. “The interiors of the state rooms at the Alexander Palace will at last be restored to their original", she said. "They will maintain the original architectural decoration, so the return of the exhibits will complement the original historical context”.

The three ceremonial halls of the Alexander Palace are currently under restoration and due to open this June, as part of the 300th anniversary of the town of Tsarskoe Selo.

She further explained that a comprehensive restoration of the palace will commence in 2011. She announced that several more historical interiors will be restored including “a grand suite of rooms that will include the Mountain Hall which contained a slide popular with the childen, the Crimson Room, and the library”.

Taratynova also noted that “in the future, the restoration of the right wing of the palace that housed the private rooms of Nicholas II, his wife, the heir and the grand duchesses would be carried out”.

This comprehensive restoration of the Alexander Palace is expected to be completed sometime in 2015.

Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
4 February, 2010


See also;

Alexander Palace State Rooms Now Open
***23 June, 2010***

Alexander Palace to Become Multi-Museum and Exhibition Complex
***13 April, 2010***

Staterooms of the Alexander Palace to Open June 2010
***Video included***