Author Topic: Alexander Palace Restoration  (Read 269491 times)

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #165 on: December 03, 2008, 12:11:28 PM »
This will be a very long process, exterior work depends on the sesons, as it virtually comes to a halt during winters.  The interiors must be assessed as to what can be done with them.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline pastpalacelife

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #166 on: December 03, 2008, 07:13:25 PM »
Anybody have any pictures of the Navy moving out of the palace?

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #167 on: December 11, 2008, 06:46:58 AM »
I am new to the forum, but have been an avid reader of all the posts virtually every day for years.As a result I have built up an extensive collection of most of the books available on the I F and the palaces, and continue to be fascinated about everything related to Russian history.
My particular "quirck" is with what went on behind the scenes in the Imperial residences. I have always wondered why there are no pics of the interiors of the Winter Palace or Alexander Palace kitchens,or those at Livadia. Does anyone have any ? I know that there are pics on the forum of the exterior of the Alexander Palace Kitchens, and have decided that when I visit the Palace, I am simply going to knock on the door and ask to be let in ! Dont know what response I will get. Nothing venture, nothing gain.
Also does anyone know what the pond between the palace and the kitchen building was used for ? I have a suspician that this was a sort of natural " sewerage" system.
Pavlov       

Offline BobG

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #168 on: December 11, 2008, 09:28:00 AM »
There wasn't a pond BETWEEN the palace and the kitchen building.  There was a pond between the kitchen building and the Catherine Palace.  I'm not sure that it would have been for sewerage, but more for landscaping.
BobG

Offline Joanna

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #169 on: December 14, 2008, 03:43:08 PM »
The Kitchen Pond on a map is somewhat deceptive as it is quite wide. It starts very near to the rear left side of the AP where the fence is today, then loops around close to the kitchen building itself and joining the canals surrounding the gardens of the Chinese Theatre etc. I have often wondered with all three large ponds surrounding the AP how the tunnel from the kitchen to the AP was not flooded as it is very close to that one pond.

Joanna

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #170 on: December 18, 2008, 04:53:16 AM »
Hi Joanna, yes there is so much water around, one wonders if there was flooding, perhaps in the basement of the palace as well. I have found out since, that there was a sort of sewerage plant at Tsarskoe.
However, I still think that perhaps in earlier times the ponds were a sort of natural filtering system. Maybe thats why typhoid and other water born diseases were so prevalent. The Winter Palace always had a problem, and when I was there last, I went around sniffing for the legendary " bad odour" which one reads about. I was quite dissapointed when I smelt nothing !! One gets so involved in all of this that even smells from a century ago seem romantic ! But then everything about Russian history has become an obsession.

I cannot wait for the day when someone does something about renovating the " front" rooms of the Alexander palace, that beautiful enfilade, and all those wonderful soaring pillars !!. It will just take ones breath away. (and they must sort out the magnificent chandeliers)
These halls are, and were, more or less unchanged since the palace was built. Its the other part that would be a problem. I know this has been discussed before, but it would be difficult to decide in what style to renovate them. Personally, I think that they should be done up in the same "gemutlich"  Alexandra style.  I think that so many Russians are identifying with the Romanovs now, that we need to see how they lived. There is nothing left in the Winter Palace or anywhere else, that reflects their "personal" style. So even if many people think that Alexandra's taste was "hausfrau", the fact is, that is how it was. It would be refreshing I think to see the private side of their lives, juxtaposed in proximity to all the usual Russian Palace splendour of marble and gold. But I guess that just  my opinion.
I think that although all the restored palaces are breathtaking, one can get visual indigestion after a while.
If the rooms of Alexander III had survived at Gatchina, we would have seen a more personal side. Although they were wonderful, I still cant imagine why anyone would want to live in those small cramped. low ceilinged little rooms. ! And lets face it, as wonderful as they looked,and reflected the taste of the IF at the time, some of them were really awful, and stuffed with some weird stuff. Maybe they were also a tad fed up with the gilt and marble, just down the hallway ! Just my opinion.
So yes, I may be shot down in flames for this, but I think a bit of their personal life should be reflected in the restoration of the Alexander Palace. What is there now is just so depressing, and seems such a half hearted attempt to re-create the feeling, that its almost not worth it.And of  course we all realise that it all boils down to the MONEY. What upsets me though, is that so much is spent on other Palaces like Pavlovsk, which is stuffed full of gorgeous things, and the Alexander Palace is falling apart. I think it needs someone in Russia with a lot of influence to champion its cause. I know Bob has dedicated his life to this project, which is wonderful, butI think that the Russians have to WANT to do it themselves.   If they can spend all those Millions on "overrestoring" the Konstantinovsky Palace ( I think it looks a bit Las Vegassy actually), why dont they just have something left for our sleeping beauty ? Its so sad.                   
       

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #171 on: December 18, 2008, 11:19:04 AM »
If the Russian people think anything at all about the Romanovs,  N&A are certainly the least of their concerns.  But that is another topic altogether.  The ones I know are far more interested in Peter I [the Great]  perhaps Catherine II [ her expansionism] and of course, Alexander I, for whom the palace was built.  I would go with the historical heritage and like to see the palace  returned to his era.
 Naturally, this all take A LOT of money, and that seems to be in short supply now, everywhere.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #172 on: December 20, 2008, 02:03:56 AM »
Yes Robert, of course the money is even more of an issue now, is'nt it ? And you are right about Catherine and Peter the Great, but I do sometimes think that many Russians have become more "sensitized", and fascinated by their recent history, and there is more interest in them than before. So maybe we will see a restoration of the Mauve Drawing Room one day. ( even if they only do one room from that era) Many people will no doubt regard it as a memorial to Alexandra's questionable taste. Perhaps Felix Youssupov will turn in his grave ! He had some choice things to say about it.

Does anyone have any idea how much of the original palace furniture is in storage, or farmed out to the other palaces.?
I know that the people at Pavlovsk, are reluctant to hand things back. I wonder though if, once the control of the Alexander Palace changes to a different museum authority, they won't be forced to hand it back ? Or they get into a "tug of war" situation, that goes on forever. It does belong to the Russian people after all, but I think the museum authorities are perhaps a law unto themselves. Of course one dreams of an Alladin's cave somewhere filled with glorious stuff, just waiting to be moved in. I wonder if there are store rooms somewhere ?
It would be sad if, when the restoration happens, there is very little of the original stuff to put in it. What is there at the moment is not going to make a palace museum. So one can only hope so. 
         

Offline Joanna

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #173 on: December 20, 2008, 12:41:56 PM »
Pavlov, I had linked to a Russian article on the Tsarskoe Selo Museum complex conference in November where it was stated that they are in talks with Pavlovsk for the return of furniture, articles belonging to the Alexander Palace. I think it is too early in negotiations to reveal final status especially as the timeframe for restoration of the interiors is a few years away.

A few thoughts on the restoration:

As there was just the bare bones of the palace c1796 when completed, waiting for drying out, problems with basements, etc. and Alexander I did not reside there after becoming Tsar, the important eras are of Nicholas I and Nicholas II. Alexander II lived in the Zubov Wing for decades and Alexander III imprint was minimal as Tsarevich.

Of the left wing, to revert the Maple Room to the Music Room of Quarenghi would entail gutting the second floor. The museum is using the second floor as restoration studios and would not want to lose this critical space so it may be a moot issue. Nicholas II suite does have original wood panellings, stairs, etc that would be a starting point to restore to that period. Of Alexandra's suite, they have remnants of wallpapers for the bedroom, the corner drawing room is easy to convert to include the Marie Antoinette painting etc with elements from other periods. The arguments for the left wing are doable if there is a committee consensus.

Of the parade rooms, they have already removed the walls and all periods would be easy to represent as they were kept in a similar style.

I think it is the right wing that would attract controversy. To recreate the English Suite may be a sticky point. But the other rooms would most likely be in the Nicholas I period as the watercolors of the 1840s, 50s are detailed which does make sense.

Joanna


Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #174 on: December 20, 2008, 01:30:07 PM »
Thank You for the info Joanna, I think the restoration of the palace is going to be a combination of Nicholas I & II, perhaps.  To do anything else would perhaps be too radical, structurally. As you say, they would have to remove the mezzanine floor which was put in to cater for Alexandra's new rooms, to get it back to the original Quarenghi design.  Its a unique restoration situation is'nt it ? A combination of late 18th century and late 19th, early 20th century interiors. I dont think any of the other palace restorations, had the same problems. Perhaps the Marble Palace to a certain extent, but they managed to restore things and combine these same periods,a bit anyway, did'nt they ? One has the original 18th century Orlov halls ( they must have been freezing), and some of the 19th century rooms of the Kontantinovichi. Grand Duke Vladimir's palace is another example, perhaps. Although one must remember that the St Petersburg palaces did not suffer the same fate as Tsarskoe Selo, and that everything was essentially "left" as it was.
Whatever they do, one just wishes they would get on with it as soon as possible, and not "over" restore. or create too much of a museum atmosphere.
I am very glad to hear that negotiations are underway regarding the return of the furniture etc. I hope it works though, even if Pavlovsk may suffer a few losses. I have wonderful books on Pavlovsk, and I sometimes look at all those gorgeous things and wonder which of them belong in the Alexander Palace !. They have so much.   

Offline EmmyLee

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #175 on: December 23, 2008, 10:42:24 AM »
I think a combination of Nicholas I and II styles would be a pretty sensible thing to do. With all the work that would need to be done for changing the Maple Room back to the Quarenghi design would entail, it seems that the easiest solution would be to restore the palace in both styles. Personally, I'd hope that the family's wing would be done as it was while they lived there, but for the left wing and parade rooms, Nicholas I's style would be just fine for me. The watercolors show that it was a beautiful living space.

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #176 on: December 24, 2008, 04:59:18 AM »
Yes, I think thats how its going to end up. Were the watercolours you refer to  done by Hau ? ( I think that was his name) He did fantastic watercolours of Gatchina. Are they on this site ? I have seen something similar, but only of the rooms in the N & A wing, before the changes were made.

Offline EmmyLee

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #177 on: December 24, 2008, 01:38:38 PM »
I'm not sure which artist did the watercolors I've seen of the palace from Nicholas I's reign, but it could be E. Hau, L. Premazzi and I. Volsky.

Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #178 on: February 04, 2009, 07:27:08 AM »
 I know this question has probably been asked here somewhere before, but I still wonder about the state of the other palace wing. I recently saw an aerial view of the building, and the roof over that area looks absolutely awful, and at the point of total collapse. i would imagine it leaks quite badly and subsequent damage must occur. However one may be pleasantly surprised, who knows ?
Does anyone actually know what the actual state of the palace is, on the other side ?     

Offline Douglas

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Re: Alexander Palace Restoration
« Reply #179 on: February 04, 2009, 05:39:25 PM »
The Left side of the ALexander palace has already been repaired with a new roof of sorts. 

The Right side of the palace roof [formerly occupied by the Navy] has a temporary fix for this winter.  Apparently they are going to do a more finished repair of the right wing roof this coming spring or summer [2009].

I know this question has probably been asked here somewhere before, but I still wonder about the state of the other palace wing. I recently saw an aerial view of the building, and the roof over that area looks absolutely awful, and at the point of total collapse. i would imagine it leaks quite badly and subsequent damage must occur. However one may be pleasantly surprised, who knows ?
Does anyone actually know what the actual state of the palace is, on the other side ?     
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 06:08:29 PM by Douglas »