Author Topic: Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace  (Read 1914 times)

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Offline anya1632

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Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace
« on: June 08, 2016, 03:49:17 PM »
Hi, everyone!

I'm currently working on a book partially set in the Winter Palace, 1900, and am wondering if anyone has information about the behind-the-scenes spaces in it? Thinking in particular about corridors leading to the State Rooms and how one could access the galleries in many of them. Would be immensely grateful for any assistance.

Thanks!

Tasha
www.tashaalexander.com

Offline Joanna

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Re: Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2016, 05:58:31 PM »
Tasha,

Writers tend to describe the winter palace as containing three floors (note the difference in numbering between English/Russian from the standpoint of your character) while in reality it was six floors as mezzanines were built on each. Even with the renovations of 1920s-30s, some of the mezzanines have survived yet hidden. Also you have to look closely at the walls where hidden doors are part of the decoration. The Minister of the Court, for example Fredericks, could pop in and out of ceremonial occasions by the back corridor to his suite.

Some staircases (i.e. circular) were removed in 20s-30s but others remain yet hidden!

On state occasions the whole enfilade of rooms from the Neva side through the east rooms all the way around to the suite of Empress Marie A. were used including the lower Jordan gallery.

IM me if you have a particular question.

Joanna

Offline anya1632

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Re: Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2016, 08:46:09 PM »
Joanna, THANK YOU! This is really helpful - I'm so grateful. Must be fascinating to see those mezzanines...

Offline Joanna

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Re: Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 04:38:02 PM »
Tasha,

Are you basing your novel on the time period when Nicholas II resided in the palace or are your characters part of the staff? For authenticity it is important to know the weeks of the Imperial family's residence and if referencing state occasions i.e. Concert Ball, it's actual date. If member of the staff, then remember that the numbers were reduced when the family were away.

Another interesting note - Nicholas II too used one of the hidden staircases to go down to smoke during a ball!

Staircases near both the Large and Small Church (both official stairs and minor staircases!) were used by grand dukes and officials during the mass to smoke - it began during Alexander II's time, Alexander III did not live in the Winter Palace and continued during Nicholas II's years.

Joanna

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Servant Corridors/Rooms in the Winter Palace
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 07:27:25 PM »
I'm intrigued by the idea of Grand Dukes nipping out of church services to smoke.

If relevant to Tasha's novel it is worth mentioning that Orthodox services are very long and it is quite normal for worshippers to go in and out.