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The Palace Rooms:

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THE WHITE DINING ROOM

The White Dining Room (156 Kb)

The White Dining RoomThe White Dining Room was designed by Charles Cameron (1784-87). Its walls were decorated with channeled Corinthian pilasters. Three large French doors lead out into the park, and there is another door leading to the Dark Pantry in the middle of the opposite wall. Although an agreement was struck in 1783 with the master Bernasconi for the finish of the Dining Room, the museum archives contain three projects by Charles Cameron for its finish - a plafond, capitals of pilasters and part of the drawing of a frieze. When comparing Cameron's blueprints with life, it can be seen that his concepts were largely put into practice. The only addition after the fire of 1803 was the meander running along the perimeter of the plafond, based on a drawing by Andrei Voronikhin. Inventories of the room dating from the late eighteenth century mention "four similar bronze lamps ... sixteen white brackets made from iron, each for four candles, were fastened to the walls ... four large pictures hang on the walls."

The White Dining RoomIn 1815 the Dining Room was made into the Drawing Room. The following year, the lights were replaced by lamps of frosted glass (the details have survived and the lamps are currently awaiting reconstruction). In 1858 the Dining Room was turned into a reception room by the Grand Duchess Alexandra Josifovna. That same year, the plafond made by Francesco Fontebasso was transferred here from the New Study. After 1890, this room was the Study of the Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. After the completion of restoration work in 1970, however, the Dining Room was returned to its former appearance.

Four marble vases (N. Gillet, St Petersburg, 1774) stand in each of the corners of the White Dining Room. The large table is set with the Heraldic Service manufactured at the St Petersburg Porcelain Factory in 1827 after models by Stepan Pimenov and Alexei Voronikhin, nephew of the famous architect. The Heraldic Service consisted of 606 objects and was designed for sixty people. The heraldic eagles on the bottoms of the dishes and plates are linked to the name and purpose of the service. The majority of bowls are decorated with sculptural groups based on mythological subjects. The painted design on the dessert dishes display realistical representations of fruits and berries.

The first fireplace is adorned with the Astronomy clock (France, 1795-1800), on the second stands the Eavesdropper clock (France, 1880s). Along the sides of both fireplaces are candelabra and bronze decorations in the shape of ancient oil lamps (France, 1780s). As in the next room, card tables stand along the walls. Card games were often held here after meals. As was the Russian custom, a billiards room usually lay adjacent to the dining room.


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