Author Topic: State of the interior  (Read 8616 times)

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Offline mark

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State of the interior
« on: February 13, 2004, 07:28:52 AM »
Hi All. This is Mark from Australia.  Like Bob A. i have been interested in the Alexander Palace for a long time especially after reading R.and S. 's book "Nicholas and Alexander".  Being so remote down under under so to speak, i am extremely keen to see what the inside of the palace is now like.  Part open, sure, but what of the rest of the structure??

I loved S. Massie's book on Pavlovsk, and recommend it to all.  She speaks of the Alexander and very strongly suggests that not much, if anything was removed before the Nazis arrived there back in 1941.

If this is the case then I am saddened.  Otherwise, great.  Thru the parade rooms etc. what furniture etc. still exists. especially if we wish to restore the structure to what it was.  I understand some pompus German General thought himself worthy of an Emporers bed that he had Nicholas's bed removed from its room.  What happened to the slippery slide in one of the lower rooms.  Maybe, in this day and age, I am wondering if some kind of "audit" may be taken to establish what can satisfactorily go into the new museum once it is properly established.

Another point, regarding the Pavlovesk and Pushkin Palaces.  When these structures were re-built, what attention was made to re-creating rooms that existed but were not displayable rooms, i.e. servants, kitchens, pantries, the hidden rooms that support the "formal" facade of Imperial Life.

Once again, thanks to Bob for his effort.  And please more pictures of the Alexander as it now is, and perhaps from before and after viewpoints.  

Bob, it must be time u went back there to photograph every nook and cranny u have described in this web-place.

Thank-you, all

Mark D.

Australia
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 10:23:04 PM by Sarushka »

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Alexander
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2004, 10:08:38 AM »
Mark:

Before 1939 thousands of items from the Alexander Palace were sold off, stolen or were expropriated for other uses.

If we just focus on the things in the palace in 1939, that went through the war there is a complete inventory of what was removed from the palace during the war and what returned.  

I also have a handwrittten color-coded list from Kuchumov of hundreds of things from the Alexander Palace showing want was sent to Siberia and where they ended up after the war.

After the war the Alexander Palace was the chief repository of all returning items from the Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk because it was in better shape that any of the other palaces.  When it was decided not to reopen the Alexander Palace as a 'Romanov' museum as it was before the war, its  items were divided up between other palaces and museums in Petersburg.  Some things were sent far away to distant museums and now are to be found in some of the new nations carved out of the old Soviet Union.  These records exist and show everything.  I believe they are at Pavlovsk and at the Caterine Palace, but I haven't heard anything about these inventories for 7 years so it's possible they are somewhere else now.

Thousands of things were left behind in the palace.  These were used by the Germans and their Spanish allies in the palace and around Tsarskoe.  Other things were shipped back to Germany, Spain and even places like France (French and other nationalities fought with the Nazis in Russia).  As the Nazis retreated they hauled off whatever they could and left a trail of their loot along their way.  Some of these things were found by Russians like Kuchumov and returned.  Others were bought up by dealers.  Other things were destroyed along the way.  The items that made it into Western Europe mostly went into private hands.  Some of them passed through auction houses in Europe and America.

It's a long story and can't be told here.

After the war the palaces were intentionally not restored as "Romanov" homes.  They generally did not restore the personal or private rooms of the Romanovs for political reasons.  To some extent this could not be avoided at the Peterhof Cottage and Pavlovsk, but you really don't see the real private rooms there either.  The curators and museum workers wanted to restore them as they had been, so they cannot be blamed.  Don't forget when they restored the gilded ornament of the Catherine palace after the war they originally replaced the Imperial double-headed eagles with hammer-and-sickles.

The kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing were not restored after the war, in fact they were generally ripped out completely.  This continued into recent times.

Jim Hewie

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Re: The Alexander
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2004, 11:19:22 AM »
As has been stated some of the stuff from the Alexander Palace was distributed to other palaces primarily Pavlovsk. A look at the Oavlvosk website can see some familiar items such as paintings one of which of Alexandra is in teh Maple Study at Pavlvosk and looks remarkeable like the one from teh Mauve Boudoir. Like Mr. Atchison said Pavlvosk does not acknowledge where it came from but I am sure other items exist.
  I recently saw some pics of the newly renovated Strelna palace on "Wandering Camera" where there is a painting of Alexander I that looks remarkeably like the one from Portrait Hall. Could it be the same one????
Some of the things from teh Alexander Palace are presently in teh collection of the Hillwood museum and Faberge items have turned up over the years reportable from the Imperial Apartments of Alexander. Malcolm Forbes purchased a jewel encrusted portfolio that belonged to Nicholas II that looks remarkeably like the one on his desk in the New Study.

HAS anyone else noticed other items!!!!

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Alexander
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2004, 06:37:33 PM »
Pavlovsk just doesn't have things marked - they know what came from the palace if you ask.

Kuchumov sent the Art Nouveau things and most of the personal things to Pavlovsk because he was there.  They have many things from the Mauve Room, the Maple Room, the Pallisander Room, Nicholas's Working study and the New Study.  They also have hundreds of ikons and clothing.

When they set up rooms upstairs at Pavlovsk to depict various eras of interior design Kuchumov set up a "Maple Room" and a "Mauve Room" - not really duplicates - but full of many things from the Alexander Palace. He did this without identifying where they came from - on purpose because it was the Soviet era.

The big Alexander I from the Portrait Hall is now in the Catherine Palace.

Bob Atchison

Offline mark

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Re: The Alexander
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2004, 06:56:45 AM »
Hi to all,

Thanks Paul for your reply,

Another question.  Re. the restoration of the Pavlovsk Palace.  When it was rebuilt etc. after being burnt by the Nazis, do u know anything of the quality of the work undertaken.  My concern, read it if u must, is that corners were cut etc. The palace, and by association Tsarskoe Selo, may have water proof rooves and windows that close, but what of the authenticity of the re-production.  Was the re-construction done properly?  I know the Russians have taken a lot of pride in these parts of their historical heritage, and Stalin wanted to obliterate any reminder the Nazis got that far to then Leningrad, but i am wondering about how thoroughly/carefully work was done to recreate what was wrecked/burnt/destroyed.

More pics please of Alexander P.

Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: The Alexander
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2004, 09:47:05 AM »
There are varying schools of thought on the reproduction of Pavlovsk Palace.   While the reconstruction is certainly a great achievement, and one of the miracles of Soviet Russian post WWII policy, the one thing that cannot be reproduced is the feeling of the eighteenth century.

No artist may ever fully shake the influences of his period, and as a result, some of the paintings by the master artist Treskhin bear a touch of the socialist realist style which was Soviet Russia's State style.  The cherubs lack the lightness and whimsy of eighteenth century italian paintings (the original work was largely done by Italians).

The quality of Russian gilding is also very high, but it is very bright.  The real criticism of the reconstructions in Russia is not the quality, but the unavoidable fact that they lack any age; the gold is too bright, the marble unworn, and the lighting harsh. There is no patina.  One Hundred years from now, no one will notice.

An aside -- the presentation folio by Faberge mentioned early in this string was created for presentation to Nicholas II, but was never actually presented to him.  e never owned it.

Best,   Nick
Nick Nicholson
New York City