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The Palace Rooms:

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THE GREEK HALL

The Greek Hall (477 Kb)

The Greek HallThe Greek Hall was the place of official receptions and balls. Its artistic character was defined by the Corinthian colonnade running along the entire length of the room. The rhythm of the columns was extended by the rhythms of the niches with statues, the window apertures and the fireplaces, underlined by the marble lamps hanging on chains between the columns. The rich stucco moulding in the upper section provides an effective contrast with the smooth white of the artificial marble on the walls. On the western side, a view of the park opens up outside the enormous windows. From the narrow northern and southern sides there is a view through the smooth arches into two octagonal white marble drawing rooms, the beginning of the state enfilades of Pavel and his wife (the War and Peace Rooms).

The Greek HallTo this day, researchers still cannot say for sure who it was that designed the Greek Hall. It cannot be excluded that the concept of resolving the room in the form of a columned hall belonged to Cameron. There are, however, several surviving designs made by Vincenzo Brenna, depicting the lay-out and sections of the room. There is also his personal written testimony that he was the sole author of both the room and its furnishings. Describing his creation, Brenna calls the interior "one of the best that this country has". The finish of the Greek Room was completed in 1790. Andrei Voronikhin made several changes when restoring the room after the fire of 1803, though these did not alter its architectural composition. The alterations to the decorative design and the new furnishings lent the hall a sense of greater austerity.

The Greek HallThe polychrome painting on the ceiling was replaced with a design imitating the cupola and its stucco moulding. The multicoloured patterned parquet floor was replaced by an oak panel floor. A new suit of furniture in the Empire style was manufactured in place of the glided suite in the Louis XIV style. The new suite was painted in imitation of dark antique bronze and upholstered with French carpets from Beauvais. Fireplaces made by Vincenzo Brenna were transferred here from St Michael's Castle in St Petersburg. White marble lamps in the ancient style replaced the sixteen small crystal chandeliers hanging between the columns. Large bronze lamps (England (?), 18th century) were removed to the War and Peace Rooms.

The Greek HallThe original furnishings (1790-1805) still in the room include the bronze Paris and Helen clock with candelabra (P.-F. Thomire, France, late 18th century), the rare bronze trivets in the fireplaces signed by the French bronze master Walner (late 18th century), the embroidered borders on the curtains (France, 1780s), one canape and five chairs from the aforementioned suite of furniture (Russia, 1804), two jasper vases (Russia, 1803-04) and candelabra in the shape of children holding lily branches (France, 1780s). Sixteen marble lamps were manufactured in the 1960s after two surviving originals. Fourteen of them now hang in the room in keeping with the rehanging carried out over the period 1806-11.


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