Author Topic: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia  (Read 27976 times)

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Offline Mashka-Morgan

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #60 on: August 11, 2005, 12:15:43 PM »
I just happened upon some gorgeous photos in a magazine I often read, 'Cote Est', which has beautiful photography; in a couple of issues from the past year or two, there are photos of many Russian (Petersburg in particular) interiors, such as the Amber Room, as well as a malachite mantelpiece from a Yussopov palace.
I can attempt to post them if anyone is interested---if I receive permission from the publisher.
BTW, I have long been very fond of & interested in learning more about Russian Empire design. It's impeccable and so graceful.
Hikaru----the description of the children studying the furniture legs was so charming and funny; thanks for mentioning it :)

M-M
"I am excessively diverted" ---Elizabeth Bennett

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #61 on: August 11, 2005, 12:44:51 PM »
Russian Empire is indeed different from the French and is my favorite furniture style along with Russian Biedermeier.  The use of  Karelian Birch particularly makes the Russian pieces unique from the French.

Finelly

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #62 on: August 11, 2005, 02:44:52 PM »
I would anticipate that any nation that was inspired by the french decor and design would incorporate some unique elements into its recreation.

Is it safe to say, then, that the Russian designers and decorators used the Louis' styes but added uniquely Russian elements to them?  And if so, what are some of the uniquely Russian elements?

Also, the photos I have seen of the non-A and N Imperial family members in their rooms appear to depict very cozy and warm interiors.  Precisely the kind of rooms I would expect to see for a close-knit group of families who enjoy tea and family gatherings on a more informal basis than a state dinner.  I haven't seen any informal photos of the IR in rooms that look so uncomfortable and stiff that one could not relax.  Am I wrong?

Offline Martyn

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #63 on: August 11, 2005, 06:14:49 PM »
Alex, thank you very much for clarifying the issue of the preference for 'Louis Seize' over 'Louis Quinze' or 'Régence'; now that you have explained it to me I see the reasons clearly - thank you.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #64 on: August 11, 2005, 10:48:01 PM »
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Alex, thank you very much for clarifying the issue of the preference for 'Louis Seize' over 'Louis Quinze' or 'Régence'; now that you have explained it to me I see the reasons clearly - thank you.


Anytime...it is my pleasure.

But the discussion has moved on to "Russian Empire", and that is a great place to focus.  Several of the novels of Tolstoy were constructed around "Russian Empire" feelings, settings, tones, etc., etc.

I will be back with more.

With all of the best from Shanghai,


A.A.

Offline Bolin

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2005, 08:30:43 AM »
Alex, I have so enjoyed this discussion and appreciate your insights into why the style Louis XVI became the preferred style among the aristocracy and court.
It is interesting to note that Faberge produced many objects in the LouisXV style in the 1890's but then abandoned this style for Louis XVI and Empire from about 1900. He also experimented with Art Nouveau (no doubt to please Alexandra). However the bulk of his productions bear the Empire and Louis XVI style and Alexandra did purchase (and receive as gifts) objects in these styles. Her decor seemed very eclectic - Arts & Crafts, Empire, Louis XVI, Art Nouveau.
I want to know about the stuffed parrot you mentioned.
I had not heard of this before. I do know that Nicholas (according to this web site about his bathroom) kept a parrot named Popov in his bathroom that he inherited from his father. I seem to recall that his aunt Alexandra of England also kept parrots. No one has mentioned the parrots on the thread discussing the Imperial family's pets.

Offline Mashka-Morgan

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #66 on: August 12, 2005, 09:23:04 AM »
 ???
Would anyone care to express their insights about  the differences in French & Russian Empire (and/or  Neolassical) furniture styles?
I believe the 'stuffed parrot' reference is symbolic, for the overabundance of wicker, flowery prints, lilac/mauve, potted ferns, excessively-padded upholstery and unsophisticated carpeting---or am I mistaken?
M-M
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Mashka-Morgan »
"I am excessively diverted" ---Elizabeth Bennett

AlexP

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2005, 09:36:25 AM »
Quote
???
Would anyone care to express their insights about  the differences in French & Russian Empire (and/or  Neolassical) furniture styles?
I believe the 'stuffed parrot' reference is symbolic, for the overabundance of wicker, flowery prints, lilac/mauve, potted ferns, excessively-padded upholstery and unsophisticated carpeting---or am I mistaken?
M-M


No, Mashka, I am sorry to tell you that are wrong.  It was not symbolic.  The Empress had a stuffed parrot sent to her from England not long after the birth of their second child.  I have nothing against lilac/mauve, I think in the right setting it is gorgeous.  And I have nothing in against potted ferns, they are also beautiful.  And I wouldn't say tha the furniture was overly tuffeted, and the one thing that I cannot blame the Empress for is the unsophisiticated carpeting -- that was least made in Russia...for the middle classes (please, there is no snobbism here).  She could have had the BEST, BEST rugs hand-woven in all of Buhkara, rugs that you and I would need to work 10 lifetimes for, and she chose literally run-of-the-mill carpeting.  But my point is this :  if all of this had been put into Countess von Kleinmichel's datcha on the Ostrov, a datcha which was sooooo Victorian and Germanic in design (another direct relative who datcha stll stands with many of the original furnishings inside, owned by a private individual now), in that setting all of this would have looked splendid.  I mean, if this had been the Isle of Wright and that Victorian-looking castle, that would have been perfect...but it just violently clashed with the aristocratic, almost haughty lines of the Winter Palace....Right furniture, wrong place.

Anyway, once the parrot arrived, and once the Dowager Empress saw it, it was relegated to the basement, with another scene between the Empress and her husband, and her husband and the Dowager Empress.  When the Dowager Empress took up court in Kiev, the parrot took up court in the Winter Palace.  And in that very room were all of these Aubuisson tapestries and Goebbelins tapestries, some of the greatest works of the Medieval period, and they were sent downstairs to be replaced by Woolworth-like icons (not the Rublevs, not the 17th century either).

When the Winter Palace was stormed, the drunken hordes were so stunned at this...that they left it intact for the Checka to note...and for the Soviet people to see.

So, forgive me, I was not speaking figuratively but realistically. It was a combination of Victorian suburban tastes, elegant in the right setting, and German hausfraus tastes, elegant in no setting, at least not in Russia.  As my grandmother used to say ...le peuple russe aurait bien demande un eclair au chocolat, et on lui a passe un choux truffe... (excuse the lack of accents on this computer).

All of the best from Shanghai,

a.A.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AlexP »

Offline Mashka-Morgan

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #68 on: August 12, 2005, 10:37:32 AM »
((((( :o)))))
How bizarre!

Reading David's comments on disposing of his Empire made me feel slightly sick. I know some modern manufacturer did make a line of decently-designed (doubtfully well-made) Empire or Neoclassical furniture about 15 years ago. It included a lot of pieces made of Karelian birch or a simlar-looking substitute, as well as lovely lyre-back chairs. I don't remember what substance was used for the stringing accents, probably another color of wood.

Does anyone care to expound on the origins/makers/best sources of examples of these styles?

PS  Alexander Alexandrovitch---my nursery-school French is unequal to the comment, I'm afraid. Translate?

Grazie,
M-M
"I am excessively diverted" ---Elizabeth Bennett

AlexP

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #69 on: August 12, 2005, 11:07:32 AM »
Quote
((((( :o)))))
How bizarre!

Reading David's comments on disposing of his Empire made me feel slightly sick. I know some modern manufacturer did make a line of decently-designed (doubtfully well-made) Empire or Neoclassical furniture about 15 years ago. It included a lot of pieces made of Karelian birch or a simlar-looking substitute, as well as lovely lyre-back chairs. I don't remember what substance was used for the stringing accents, probably another color of wood.

Does anyone care to expound on the origins/makers/best sources of examples of these styles?

PS  Alexander Alexandrovitch---my nursery-school French is unequal to the comment, I'm afraid. Translate (please)?

Grazie,
M-M


Dear Marshka:

A translation juste pour vous :

"The Russian people were expecting a fine chocolate eclair (meaning something light, beautiful, inviting and the Russians then and now love chocolate) and they were given a stuffed cabbage (meaning something round, ordinary, pedestrian, right from the village)".  It has actually been attributed to either the Grand Duchess Vladimir or the Pervaya Frauleina of the Dowager Empress, one or the other.   Personally, I think the Grand Duchess Vladimir is more likely.

It was a comment that made the rounds of all of Petersburg Society -- not immediately after the coronation but in the period 1899-1903, during the "rapprochment with the French".

Regards,

A.A.

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2005, 11:31:04 AM »
Sasha

Please allow me to correct one small thing. Alexandra's carpets in the Alexander Palace, at least, were made in Paris. Bob has copies of the original receipts in his files.  They were not made in Russia.

David Roentgen was one of major influences on Russian design.  He went to Petersburg after the French Revolution and made pieces for Catherine. The use of gilded brass stringing and various exotic woods was very much taken to heart in Russia.  The Russian versions are a bit more "over the top" than French.

Sofa and chair arms would be primarily gilded carved wood eagles in France, but in Russia were also supplanted by fabulous Swans and Dolphins.  Whereas the French often used mahagony as the primary wood in Empire, Russians used Karelian birch either as primary or inlays to a much greater extent.

Unlike the famous French ebonistes whose names are known, Jacob freres for example, most of the Russian furniture makers were serf or tenant artisans, and anonymous today.  They would see a piece of French furniture imported, and then copy it, but make their own subtle changes.

AlexP

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2005, 12:01:16 PM »
Quote
Sasha

Please allow me to correct one small thing. Alexandra's carpets in the Alexander Palace, at least, were made in Paris. Bob has copies of the original receipts in his files.  They were not made in Russia.

David Roentgen was one of major influences on Russian design.  He went to Petersburg after the French Revolution and made pieces for Catherine. The use of gilded brass stringing and various exotic woods was very much taken to heart in Russia.  The Russian versions are a bit more "over the top" than French.

Sofa and chair arms would be primarily gilded carved wood eagles in France, but in Russia were also supplanted by fabulous Swans and Dolphins.  Whereas the French often used mahagony as the primary wood in Empire, Russians used Karelian birch either as primary or inlays to a much greater extent.

Unlike the famous French ebonistes whose names are known, Jacob freres for example, most of the Russian furniture makers were serf or tenant artisans, and anonymous today.  They would see a piece of French furniture imported, and then copy it, but make their own subtle changes.


Thank  you very much.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #72 on: August 12, 2005, 12:39:57 PM »
As I was teached , Russians used Swans because it was favorite furniture's decoration of Maria - Antoinette.

Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #73 on: August 12, 2005, 03:48:12 PM »
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(...........) if all of this had been put into Countess von Kleinmichel's datcha on the Ostrov, a datcha which was sooooo Victorian and Germanic in design (another direct relative who datcha stll stands with many of the original furnishings inside, owned by a private individual now), (............).



Hi Alex P. :)

I´m a little confussed by the above. You mean the Kamenoostrovsky neo-gothic dacha of Countess Kleinmichel. The one painted a pistaccio green, isn´t it? I´ve tried to gather as much information on that particular house as possible, and as far as i know it had several uses after the revolution, and even was partitioned to form communal flats in the 1960s. Therefore i assumed the interior decoration was lost-destroyed. And you say it´s now privately owned?

Also, if Countess Kleinmichel was a relative of yours and so was Baroness Buxhoeveden(please correct me if i´m mistaken), then both ladies were related to each other, weren´t they? Would you please tell us more about that? I have several of the Ferrand´s volumes Noblesse Russe, and love to look at the different family trees and the connection between the noble families.

Thanks in advance! :)

Antonio

David_Pritchard

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Re: Architecture and Interior Design in Europe and Russia
« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2005, 03:58:42 PM »
Quote
((((( :o)))))
How bizarre!

Reading David's comments on disposing of his Empire made me feel slightly sick. I know some modern manufacturer did make a line of decently-designed (doubtfully well-made) Empire or Neoclassical furniture about 15 years ago. It included a lot of pieces made of Karelian birch or a simlar-looking substitute, as well as lovely lyre-back chairs. I don't remember what substance was used for the stringing accents, probably another color of wood.

Does anyone care to expound on the origins/makers/best sources of examples of these styles?

M-M


Dear Maska,

I found a photograph on a website of the type of Russian furniture that I had collected in Estonia. These are good upper middle class pieces, certainly not the kind that the Yussopov's, Stroganov's or Volkonsky's would purchase for their Saint Petersburg reception rooms but sturdy respectable pieces that they might use at their dachas.



I found this picture on the Bukowski's website. Bukowski is a Finnish auctioneer. I have not bought or sold through them but I have used their main competitor Hagelstam. Both have websites in Finnish, Swedish and English with online catalogues.  It is most unfortunate that I sold my oversized Russian furniture books some years ago or I would scan many photos from them. There is one very good book on Russian furniture in English. I bought this book new ten years ago for about $110. If it is out of print it could cost twice that amount now.

David

PS: The book that I would recommend for further study is Russian Furniture, the Golden Age 1780-1840 by Antoine Cheveviere.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by David_Pritchard »