At the Empress’s Fireside. The Fireplace Screen of the Grand Peterhof Palace

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On 1st April 2019 the exhibition At the Empress’s FireplaceFireplace Screen of the Grand Peterhof Palace, opened in the Ball Room of the Grand Peterhof Palace.

The screen’s completion is the first stage of work on the reconstruction of the lost porcelain fireplace ensemble in the Empress’s Cabinet. The project was carried out by Pallada LLC, and is part of the revival program of the Grand Palace’s historical collection.

Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855), who was particularly fond of Peterhof, invested a lot of time and resources in maintaining the grandeur of this Imperial residence. In the 1840s, under the Emperor’s direct supervision, the famous Russian architect Andrei Shtakenshneider (1802-1865) carried out large-scale repair and restoration work in the Grand Palace, during which the old marble fireplace was replaced with a new Rococo Style porcelain mirror fireplace in the Empress’s Cabinet. Executed at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg, by the personal order of Nicholas I, it immediately became the central motive in the decoration of the interior. 

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A distinctive feature of the fireplace was the amazing design and execution of the screen, made of bronze in the form of a fan with porcelain inlays, painted with flowers.

Unique in its beauty and artistic creation, this work of art of Russian porcelain masters decorated the interior of the Great Peterhof Palace until 1941. During World War II, the fireplace with screen was destroyed during a devastating fire. Only a few fragments, extracted after the war from the ruins of the palace were left. But, it was enough for artists and restorers to recreate his exquisite work of art beginning in 2016. 

The exhibition At the Empress’s Fireplace.  Fireplace Screen of the Grand Peterhof Palace runs from 1st April to 31st December 2019

© Paul Gilbert. 12 April 2019