Author Topic: Glass-roofed upper corridor  (Read 3929 times)

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Offline BobG

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Glass-roofed upper corridor
« on: November 04, 2004, 08:15:46 AM »
In the book The End of the Romanovs by Victor Alexandrov quotes the memoirs of a Colonel Mstislavsky whose real name was Maslovsky as follows:

     “When the door opened with a sinister groan and we were at last in the entrance hall, we found ourselves surrounded by a respectful but curious throng of court retainers—their numbers seemed fantastic after the simplicity of the revolutionary days we had been living through.  An enormous haidouk, the size to Alexander’s monument at Trubetzhoy, wearing a bearskin as tall as a barrel; ‘runners’” court Negroes in crimson velvet jackets embroidered with gold, turbans on their head and long pointed slippers on their feet; footmen in three-cornered hats and red capes embroidered with the Imperial arms; valets in snow-white gaiters and polished shoes with felt soles—these preceded us up the stairs, running along the carpets.  After mounting the stairs we went through innumerable drawing rooms, banqueting-rooms, retiring rooms; outside the door of each room stood a motionless pair of lackeys wearing varied costumes answering to the purpose of the room to which they were posted, sometimes traditional black suits, sometimes white, black or red kuntuches.  In front of one door there were tow magnificently costumed valets in white stockings, polished shoes and absurd crimson head-bands held in place by hooks of tinsel.
     In a glass-roofed upper corridor used as a picture gallery, a little group of courtiers with Benkendorf as their head, was awaiting us.  They were wearing black frock coats buttoned up to the neck.
     A few yards beyond this group the corridor was crossed by another one, and it was from there that the ex-Emperor was to appear.  I put myself in the middle of the corridor with Benkendorf on my right and Prince Dolgoruky (Grand Marshall of the Court) and a civilian whose face I did not know on my left.  The officers who had accompanied me stood a little behind me.
     Somewhere on one side a lock clicked.  Benkdorf fell silent and smoothed his grey whiskers with a trembling hand.  The officers buttoned their gloves and stood to attention.  Hurried steps could be heard, and a faint clinking of spurs.  Romanov was wearing the khaki summer uniform of the Imperial hussars and his head was bare. With his habitual shoulder-movement, and rubbing his hands together as if he was washing, he stopped at the intersection of the corridors and turned towards us.  His face was red and chubby; his swollen, inflamed eyelids heavily framed his lusterless, leaden, bloodshot eyes.  He paused and seemed to hesitate for a moment, rubbed his hands together, and then walked towards our group.
     He seemed on the point of addressing us.  I looked at him, he looked at me.  There was dead silence.  Then suddenly the Emperors’s eye–yellow and fixed like that of a tired and hunted wolf—lit up.  In the depths of his pupils there suddenly shone a mortal hatred; it was as if a flame had suddenly melted the leaden indifference of his gaze.
     Nicholas stopped a moment, trod the ground, then abruptly turned and went away, jerking his shoulder.  I thereupon drew out my right hand from below my waist where it was thrust, raised it to my fur cap to salute the courtiers, and , to the tune of ill-mannered throat-clearing from Benkendorf who also spat, I turned to go. ‘You did wrong not to take off your cap,’ an officer told me; ‘the Emperor seemed to want to talk to you, but seeing the way you behaved…’ And another chimed in  with, ‘You’d better be careful.  If the Romanovs come back to power, you’ll be found at the bottom of the sea’”

Not only an interesting descripton of the servants, but I wondered if anyone can tell me more about this glass-roofed picture gallery?  Also, the books seems to say that the family was confined to the 2nd floor of the palace during their arrest.  I had not know that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobG »

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2004, 09:29:52 AM »
At the playroom, the corridor goes around the corner, and was quite dark, so there was a glass cieling, 4 or 6 panes of glass as a skylight in the peaked roof. There were a few pictures here, but it was not used as a gallery per-se.  It is still there, but the glass was painted over, and sometime in the last fifty years they had it cut off and sealed over.

Offline Arleen

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2004, 01:49:27 PM »
Who IS this Colonel Mstislavsky (Mastovsky) ???  Could it be that the family WAS confined to the 2nd floor, it doesn't seem possible to me.  The description of N. was awful!  To look like that he must have really been drinking....it would be great to know the exact date this happened. Somebody tell us a whole lot MORE!!
..Arleen

Offline Douglas

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2004, 06:39:24 PM »
According to my calculations this long corridor  on the Second Floor connects the left and right wings of the Alexander Palace.

This corridor also leads to the so-called Left and Right Entrance Wings of the Palace.   One could use this corridor as passage across the palace if you did not want to use the Parade Rooms as a cross-palace path.

Often friends of the Tsaritsa would use the upper  rooms of these Entrance Wings for their  sleeping quarters when visiting.

It was in one of these upper floor rooms above the Left Entrance that the Empress bade farewell to Anna  V. and Lilli Dehn before they were rudely  removed from the Palace by the Revolutionary Guards.

Douglas

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2004, 02:50:26 PM »
Yes, Douglas, you are right!  I was so so very lucky to be up there in the corridor on two occasions.  I was amazed to look up and see the panels of glass were still there in the ceiling - but just painted over.  Had I not been looking for this I would have missed it.  It's a horrible shame that they did not restore this when they redid the roof - in fact everything on the roof - all the remains of vents, pipes, etc... was simply chopped off - a terrible loss.

In Nicholas I's time the big library was two stories and you couldn't easily connect from the second floor to one side of the palace to the othe. Once the library was altered and a second floor inserted you could go from the Formal Reception Room to the furthest entrance, however the 2 story music Room blocked what we call the second floor of the 'Imperial Wing' from the second floor of the rest of the palace.  After 1902 this problem was solved by the addition of the Playroom and all the other 2nd floor rooms with their new corridor connection.

It was much easier to go (and less formal) via the second floor than the first, besides - almost all the people one would want to visit were on the second floor.

Offline BobG

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2004, 01:58:14 PM »
Bob,
I remember previously you posted the Children's wing of the AP on the web site, but what are the chances for a plan of the entire 2nd floor?  The above discussion has left me a little confused as to what areas we are referring to.
Thanks.
Bob G

Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2005, 03:48:38 PM »
Quote
Bob,
I remember previously you posted the Children's wing of the AP on the web site, but what are the chances for a plan of the entire 2nd floor?  The above discussion has left me a little confused as to what areas we are referring to.
Thanks.
Bob G



i, too, am rather confused as to which corridor of the 2nd floor is being referred to in the piece....

but now that vladimir has posted the WONDERFUL plan of the 2nd floor, we may yet be able to clarify where that odd little scene took place  ;D
"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
.

Offline Douglas

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Re: Glass-roofed upper corridor
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2005, 04:42:50 PM »
 Someone asked about the "Glass Roofed Upper Corridor"

I think you can find it by looking at the Plan of the Second Floor.  

Find the Music Room in the top middle of the plan.  Look to the lower left corner and you see two rooms that have a "no Window" corridor that surrounds them.  This is, I believe the "dark upper corridor" that is written about.

The two rooms have the advantage of having windows that look onto the central courtyard.

I see that Brian was his usual calm  'low key' self when he saw the  plan of the 2nd. floor.   [Smiley]