Major Expansion of Faberge Museum in St Petersburg Announced

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This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

The size of the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg will increase fourfold by 2020, the press service of the Glavgosexpertiza of Russia has announced in a press release issued on Wednesday 18th April. 

The release notes that the project includes the adaptation of the western wing of the Naryshkin-Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Embankment to the existing museum-exhibition complex. “The total area of ​​the western wing of the palace will increase from 686.5 to 2318.7 square meters, and take 24 months to complete,” the report said.

According to the project approved by Glavgosexpertiza, complex repairs, restoration and adaptation of premises for museum use will be carried out in the western wing of the building. Among other things, it is planned to rework the front courtyard and the facade of the transverse wing, which were destroyed during air strikes in 1942. The project will be funded by Viktor Vekselberg and his Link of Times Foundation. 

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The mansion on the Fontanka Embankment was originally built for Count Vorontsovs, and later home to the noble Shuvalov and Naryshkin families. It was in 1799 that the Naryshkins, significantly expanded the building. The palace became the center of the Saint Petersburg society, and its grand ballroom — also known as the Alexandrovsky or White Column Hall — played host to society balls of up to 1,000 people. In 1846 Sophia Naryshkina married Peter Shuvalov, at which time the western section of the palace was significantly enlarged. After 1918, the building housed the Museum of the Nobility life, design offices, the House of Press and the House of Friendship of Peoples.

In 2006, the building was recognized as a cultural monument of federal importance and leased to Viktor Vekselberg’s Link of Times Foundation. The businessman bought Imperial Easter eggs among other Faberge items from private collections, and in 2013, after a large-scale restoration in the palace, the Faberge Museum was opened. The museum’s collection contains more than 4,000 works of decorative applied and fine arts, including gold and silver items, paintings, porcelain and bronze. A highlight of the museum’s collection is the group of nine Imperial Easter eggs created by Faberge for the last two Russian emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II.

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© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April 2018