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The Palace Rooms:

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THE BOUDOIR

The Boudoir (211 Kb)

THE  BOUDOIRThis small room is noted for its abundance of decorative designs, offering the visitor an endless diversity of visual, artistic, historical and allegorical associations and impressions. The architectural resolution itself is quite complex. The walls are divided by a series of marble pilasters with polychrome painted designs. Between them are four marble bas-reliefs and picture panels depicting the most famous architectural edifices of India. The narrow wall against the French doors is accentuated by the two-columned portico and white marble fireplace. Opposite, there is an exit leading out onto the balcony, where a view opens up onto the central alley of the Private Garden. The open portico of the Pavilion of the Three Graces and its masterly executed marble group (P. Triscorni) was attached to the perspective of the alley ten years later. The ceiling and the padouga are painted after motifs of ancient grotesques. They include four landscape compositions corresponding to the four times of the day.

THE  BOUDOIRWhereas rich gobelins presented by King Louis XVI lay at the heart of the architectural projects of the Carpet Study and the Library of Maria Feodorovna, here the royal couple charged the architect with employing marble pilasters bought in Rome. These pilasters featured painted designs after the motifs of Raphael's loggias in the Vatican Palace and the ancient porphyry columns found during excavations of Rome. The original project of the room belongs to Charles Cameron, though it was much changed in the course of work carried out by Vincenzo Brenna, who completed the room in 1791. The Boudoir was originally furnished with carved gilt furniture made in France, trimmed with Lyons silk with iris flowers. In order to create the sensation of a single space in this small interior, the furniture was largely confined to tabourets (stools without backs). The curtains on the doors were also decorated with borders of iris flowers. After the fire of 1803, a new suite of furniture in the Empire style was manufactured in St Petersburg. Tabourets again predominated. This suite was later destroyed during the war and the only surviving item is a chair with arms in the form of winged sphinxes. The French doors leading to the balcony were hung after the fire of 1803 with white curtains "edged with a silk border sewn on blue canevas".

THE  BOUDOIRThe original crystal chandelier was described as "blue with crystal garlands and pendants for five candles". It was later replaced by a glass lamp in the form of an ancient oil lamp, specially designed for the Boudoir by Andrei Voronikhin. An important place in the furnishings was given to two elegant rosewood secretaires with porcelain plaquettes (M. Carlin and A. Weisweiler, France,1780s). The originals were sold by the Soviets for hard currency in 1931. Their place is now taken by secretaires of similar size and composition (David Roentgen, Germany, late 18th century). Among the original furnishings of the Boudoir are the porcelain circular table with views of the edifices of Pavlovsk Park (Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1789), an incense tripod from various types of marble (B. Ferrero, Italy, 1780s) presented by the King of Sardinia, a table with a rotator clock and candlesticks (P. Denizot, France, late 18th century), the lamp-brackets over the fireplace (France, 1780s), a suite of vases and obelisks (Western Europe, 1780s) and the fireplace trivets (France, late 18th century). On the left secretaire are a Mars clock (France, late 18th century) and the bronze statuettes Girl with a Nest and Boy with a Little Bird (Italy, reduction after a model by C. Albacim, circa 1780).

An important role in the Boudoir is allotted to sculpture. There are two plaster groups of cupids placed above the doors (M. Alexandrov (Uvazhny), 1804) and marble reliefs mounted into the walls in the 1780s - Herm of Pan (2nd century AD), portrait of a Roman (tombstone, second half of the 1st century AD) and profile portraits of Alexander the Great and his mother Olympias (J. Collini(?), Italy, 18th century). The marble group Cupid and Psyche, signed by the sculptor C. Albacini (free reduction from an ancient original, circa 1780), in the corner is also part of the original decor of the Boudoir. The chairs and armchairs with lyres on the backs are copies made in the 1960s from the suite of furniture in the State Library of Paul I. The Boudoir also presently contains a number of items once belonging to Maria Feodorovna. Besides the piano (London, 1774), there are a porcelain and bronze clock and two candelabra (Sevres pottery, France, 1785-1799) placed about the corners of the room. There is also a couch close in style to the one lost during the war (early 19th century).


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