The Alexander Palace - Tsarskoye Selo
The Alexander Palace as it looked in 1931
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COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF BY BERNARD DECOU
DeCouís photo series of Russia were taken in 1931, and include Moscow, and St. Petersburg and vicinity. His collection of the former imperial residences at Tsarskoe Selo and Peterhof include some 30 photographs, and are particularly valuable, because exactly ten years after DeCouís visit, on 17 September 1941 the German army invaded the Catherine Palace, whose equipment they partly destroyed and partly took away. On DeCouís pictures, however, we can see the pre-occupation conditions. It was on the basis of such photos that the reconstruction of the palaces started some years later after the recapture by Soviet troops.
DeCou also made a series on the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, seen below. This palace was built by Catherine II, follower of Neoclassicism with Giacomo Quarenghi in 1792 for her grandson, the future Czar Alexander I. In the 19th century this became the preferred residence for the Russian tsars instead of the Catherine Palace, including Nicholas II who lived here with his family from 1904 until their arrest in 1917. DeCou still saw intact the interiors designed in 1902 by the architect Roman Meltser, which were also destroyed in the Second World War.
Included in the collection below are several photographs from the interiors of the Lower Dacha Palace at Peterhof. There are no doubt many more to this collection.
It is important to note that these photographs have not been colourized by modern-day methods, these images are made from DeCou's original hand-coloured slides.
NOTE: For more information, photographs, and videos of the restorations of the Alexander Palace, please refer to the list of news articles located at the bottom of this page.
The Alexander Palace exterior and entrance from the park (1931)
The Alexander Palace rear exterior from the park (1931)
The Alexander Palace east wing exterior which housed the private apartments of Nicholas II and his family (1931)
The Alexander Palace, interior of the Empress Alexandra's dressing room (1931)
The Alexander Palace, interior of the imperial bed room (1931)
The Alexander Palace, interior of the Maple Room (1931)
The Lower Dacha at Peterhof, interior of the dining room (1931)
The Lower Dacha at Peterhof, interior of the New Study (1931)
The Lower Dacha at Peterhof, the study of Emperor Nicholas II (1931)