Lyons Hall in the Catherine Palace opens after restoration

0319a

The Lyons Hall as it looked in the 19th century. Artist: Luigi Premazzi. 1878

Restored to its former splendour, the Lyons Hall now fully completes the Catherine Palace’s Suite of State Rooms, a.k.a. the Golden Enfilade whose revival took 74 years after the end of the Great Patriotic War in 1945, and is now finished with the recent restoration of the Palace Chapel on the northern end and the opening of the Lyons Hall on the southern end of the Enfilade.

A breakthrough in the Lyons Hall Reconstruction Project became possible thanks to financial support from Gazprom and the ENGIE Foundation (France). The opening ceremony took place on 5 June 2019 and was led by Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia; Olga Taratynova, Director of Tsarskoe Selo; Elena Burmistrova, Deputy CEO of Gazprom; Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the Russian Federation; Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of ENGIE; and Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman of Honour of ENGIE and former Chairman of the ENGIE Foundation.

0319h

Sample of the silk lining recreated by the Lyons-based Lamy et Giraud weaving factory

The opulent Lyons Hall derived its name from the silk lining by the Lyons-based Lamy et Giraud weaving factory, now the Prelle Manufactory. A combination of golden silk and lapis lazuli in its interior design produced an aura of remarkable sophistication.  The lining underwent numerous changes after the time of Catherine the Great. In the mid-19th century, the Lyons Hall became a gala reception room and the golden fabric was replaced by crimson silk with floral garlands. In 1866, the walls were reclad in yellow silk of a hue called Golden Bud. That version of the interior is immortalized in Luigi Premazzi’s watercolour of 1878 (see photo at top of this page).

0319g

The Lyons Hall after the Great Patriotic War. 1945

The Hall was destroyed during the war but some of its furnishings were saved by evacuation, including twenty five pieces of unique lapis-lazuli furniture and silk samples. Also saved were the palace’s inventory records, archival documents and photographs. The parquet floor was looted but later found in Berlin and returned to Tsarskoe Selo in 1947.

0319b

0319c

© Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

The Lyons Hall Reconstruction Project was drawn up in 1983. However, it was not until 2005 that the first step was made by bringing the room back to its original dimensions. Work was carried out on a step-by-step basis because re-creating an entire room is extremely costly and time-consuming. Three lapis lazuli portals framing the Hall’s doorways were restored thanks to the backing of our art patrons, the TransSoyuz Charitable Foundation.

0319e

0319f

© Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

A new stage in the project was launched in 2018 when Tsarskoe Selo, Gazprom and the ENGIE Foundation signed Lyons Hall Reconstruction Agreement. With funds from the ENGIE Foundation, 320 metres of the Golden Bud silk (Lampas bouton d’or Louis XVI) for the walls, furniture and curtains were remade at the Prelle Manufactory by French masters, whose predecessors were commissioned by the Russian imperial court in the 1860s. Gazprom financed the recreation of the ornate plafond and lapis lazuli mosaic panels (by the Tsarskoe Selo Amber Workshop), as well as the making of draped curtains and the covering of walls with the French silk (by St Petersburg’s Alpina company).

0319d

© Государственный музей-заповедник Царское Cело

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 7 June 2019

World Monument Fund Reports on the Alexander Palace

0310

The Alexander Palace

Designed by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi and completed in 1796, Alexander Palace housed three generations of Russian monarchs before it was abandoned by the Imperial family in the months preceding the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Built on the order of Catherine the Great as a gift to her grandson Alexander I, the palace is in Tsarskoye Selo, a 1,500-acre imperial estate near St. Petersburg. The building was later used as a summer residence by Alexander’s brother, Nicolas I, and then by his nephew, Tsar Nicolas II. In 1917, the Imperial family was expelled from the palace by order of Alexander Kerensky, head of the provisional government. Nicholas II and his family were murdered by the Bolshevik regime one year later. From then until World War II the palace remained uninhabited; it functioned as a museum until occupying German forces converted the building into their military headquarters. Alexander Palace later served as a naval command base and research station, until the mid-1990s when we assisted with efforts to convert the palace into a museum.

Parts of Alexander Palace had fallen into serious disrepair by 1994 when it garnered local interest as a potential museum. We provided funds toward assessments and planning for public access to a suite of rooms to be used as museum space. Shortly after its inclusion on the 1996 World Monuments Watch, the palace was added to the list of institutions operated by the Museum-Preserve of Tsarskoe Selo, which agreed to manage the upkeep of the property and its tourist facilities. In September 1996, we helped with emergency renovations to the roof over the Nicholas II wing of the palace, comprising approximately one-third of the building’s total roof structure. Alexander Palace is now an exhibition space dedicated to the final years of Tsarist Russia, and houses a collection of Nicholas II’s personal effects and historical documents.

An important national heritage site (1995)

One of the few Tsarist residences left relatively intact following World War II, Alexander Palace provides a window into Imperial life during pre-communist Russia. For its historical value as the setting of Nicholas II’s final years, and for its artistic merits as a much-celebrated work of sumptuously decorated neoclassical architecture, the palace is an important national heritage site.

NOTE: the following three reports, published in 1995, 1996 and 1997 respectively, although now dated, still provide readers with some interesting facts on the history of the Alexander Palace, and the challenges presented with it’s restoration – PG

0310b

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD REPORT

Alexander Palace: Restoration and Adaptive Re-Use as a Museum (1995 – 112 pages)

Describes an investigation into the prospect of adapting the 18th century Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg for use as a house museum interpreting the history and life of the last Romanovs, the last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia. The neoclassical palace was designed by Giacomo Quarenghi and built between 1792 and 1796, a gift from Catherine the Great to her eldest grandson Alexander before he acceded to the throne. Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the execution of Nicholas II and his family the palace was used as a museum, until World War II, when it was damaged during the German occupation. In 1995-1996, World Monuments Fund conducted three missions to the palace. The first mission, described in this report, had an exploratory and fact-finding character and took place over five days in February 1995. During this mission the potential for repairing the structure, restoring its interiors, and returning to it original furnishings from the collections of Russian museums was studied. Two subsequent missions are described in separate reports.

0310a

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD REPORT

Alexander Palace: Groundwork for Restoration and Museum Adaptation (1996 – 47 pages)

This report provides a bilingual summary of the research later compiled into the report entitled “The Alexander Palace: Preliminary Assessment Report for Restoration and Adaptive Re-Use,” published by World Monuments Fund in 1997.Designed by Giacomo Quarenghi and built between 1792 and 1796, this neoclassical palace near St. Petersburg was a gift from Catherine the Great to her eldest grandson Alexander before he ascended to the throne. Alexander I, Nicholas I and Nicholas II all spent their summers living in the palace.

Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the execution of Nicholas II along with his family, the palace was converted into a museum, which it remained until World War II, when it was damaged during the German occupation. From the end of the war until 1995, the building served as administrative offices for the Russian Navy. Over the first half of 1995, a team from the World Monuments Fund conducted three missions to the palace, evaluating the potential for repairing the structure, restoring its interiors, and returning its original furnishings then in the collections of three different Russian museums. During the course of these missions, the World Monuments Fund established the scope of work necessary to convert the palace into a historic house museum focused on the life of Nicholas II and his family and secured funding for the site through American Express as part of the inaugural World Monuments Fund Watch List. This grant provided for emergency repairs to the roof over the southeast wing of the palace.

0310c

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD REPORT

Alexander Palace: Preliminary Assessment Report for Restoration and Adaptive Re-Use (1997 – 85 pages) 

Designed by Giacomo Quarenghi and built between 1792 and 1796, this neoclassical palace near St. Petersburg was a gift from Catherine the Great to her eldest grandson Alexander before he ascended to the throne. Alexander I, Nicholas I and Nicholas II all spent their summers living in the palace. Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the execution of Nicholas II along with his family, the palace was converted into a museum, which it remained until World War II, when it was damaged during the German occupation. From the end of the war until 1995, the building served as administrative offices for the Russian Navy. Over the first half of 1995, a team from the World Monuments Fund conducted three missions to the palace, evaluating the potential for repairing the structure, restoring its interiors, and returning its original furnishings then in the collections of three different Russian museums. During the course of these missions, World Monuments Fund established the scope of work necessary to convert the palace into a historic house museum focused on the life of Nicholas II and his family and secured funding for the site through American Express as part of the inaugural World Monuments Fund Watch List. This grant provided for emergency repairs to the roof over the southeast wing of the palace.

Click HERE for more current and up-to-date reports on the restoration of the Alexander Palace

© World Monuments Fund / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 April 2019

 

The Golden Gates to the Catherine Palace Return in Full Splendour

0309

© The Tsarskoe Selo State Museum

The 18th-century Golden Gates to the Catherine Palace have been unveiled after eight-month restoration.

The central gates of the palace courtyard were designed by Savva Ivanovich Chevakinsky (1713-1780) and Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (1700-1771) and constructed between 1748-56. Severely damaged in World War Two and rebuilt in the 1960s, the gates have undergone their first major restoration in more than 50 years.

The restoration was organized by the Russian Ministry of Culture’s North West Administration for Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration under the federal target program Culture of Russia (2012–2018) and completed by the Slaviansky Project Group.

0309b

© The Tsarskoe Selo State Museum

0309c

© The Tsarskoe Selo State Museum

The restorers had to deal with 3,500 decorative elements and over 12,000 rivets on the wrought-iron openwork with gilded embellishments. The attachable details had to be removed, numbered and cleaned. After removing old gilt with a special tool, some of the 18th-century elements were found preserved. As well as later ones from the 1960s, those elements were straightened and their missing parts remade. Elements that did not survive were recreated by art blacksmiths.   

The most difficult was the process of coating the embellishments with the thinnest (0.1 micron) sheets of gold leaf using 19th-century technology and a special varnish Mordan. The overall gilding required more than 300 sixty-sheet gold leaf books containing 4 grams of gold each. The double-headed eagle on the gates was the largest element which required 6 gold leaf books.

Also restored were the gates’ brickwork, fence basements, stucco work decorations and natural stone details.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. 17 April 2019

Will the Alexander Palace Open in 2019?

0308

The left (eastern) wing of the Alexander Palace

There are rising doubts that the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo will open in 2019, as was previously planned. According to the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Olga Taratynova: “It all depends on the timing of the allocation of funds from the federal budget. The palace-museum is waiting for the 300 million rubles required for the completion of the first stage of restoration work.”

The Alexander Palace has been closed to visitors since 2015. It was originally planned to complete the first part of the work in the beloved residence of the last Russian emperor by July 2018 – timed to the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Imperial Family. The opening date of a partial reopening of the palace to visitors was then postponed to the end of 2019. 

Now, according to Olga Taratynova, these plans are in doubt. “If the money arrives within the next month, then by the end of the year we will open the first eight rooms of the left (eastern) wing of the palace to visitors,” she said. “If the funds are delayed, the opening of the restored and reconstructed apartments will take place in the first quarter of 2020. And in the same year we hope to open 7 additional rooms. Thus, the restoration of the entire left wing of the palace will be complete.” 

Of particular interest to visitors will be the Tsar’s Moorish-style Bathroom. The main feature is a giant heated swimming tub with a capacity of 1000 buckets of water – where the Tsar, and Tsesarevich Alexei liked to swim. “This was all lost, but now the restorers, have completely recreated the interior, based on pieces of ceramics from the walls, and photos from the palace-museum archives,” added Olga Taratynova. On the second floor of the palace, where the children’s rooms were located, the museum plans to hold temporary exhibition facilities. 

“We really want to make everyone happy for the new year. But in any case, the recovery process is underway and has already progressed significantly. So if not at the end of December, then in the first quarter of 2020, the Alexander Palace will open its doors,” says the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum.

Click HERE to read 5 additional articles on the restoration of the Alexander Palace

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 April 2019

Russian President Visits Restored Catherine Palace Chapel

On 11th April, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Catherine Palace’s Church of the Resurrection and praised the quality of its restoration work, which became possible thanks to financial support from Gazprom.

The president was accompanied by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, and the permanent members of Russia’s Security Council.

The VIP guests of the Museum had a tour of the Chapel led by Director Olga Taratynova, who showed them the revived masterpiece of eighteenth century architecture designed by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli.

The Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Tsarskoye Selo was founded in August 1746. The palace chapel was designed by the Italian architect Francesco Rastrelli, (1700-1771)construction lasted 10 years. It was consecrated in the presence of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna and impressed her contemporaries by it’s unique beauty and splendour.

Specialists of the Amber Workshop of Tsarskoye Selo, who spent four years restoring the Palace Chapel, followed the Museum’s requirements of maximal conservation of extant details and minimal re-creation of lost ones.

The Chapel of the Catherine Palace will open to visitors on 13 April 2019.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 April 2019

Reconstruction of Tsarskoye Selo Monuments Destroyed During WWII will Take 25 years

0295a

Restoring the Golden Gate and fence of the Catherine Palace

The complete restoration of the architectural monuments of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve (GMZ) destroyed during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), the main residence of the Russian emperors and empresses near St. Petersburg, will take at least another quarter of a century. This assessment was made last week by Deputy Director for Research and Education Iraida Bott, during a press conference marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Pushkin from Nazi occupation.

“I think that it will take least 25 years,” said Bott, when asked the question of how long it will take to recreate all the monuments of the museum-reserve that were damaged in wartime. Most of them were destroyed in the first year of occupation, which lasted a total of four years.

Recreation of the Catherine Palace

Two-thirds of the main monument of the museum-reserve – the Catherine Palace – have now been restored, its restoration has been going on for more than six decades, since 1957. Among the most significant objects that have been recreated in recent years is the Golden Enfilade. “it will soon be completely restored, and in March of this year we will open the Church of the Resurrection of Christ – the last interior created by the famous architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1700-1771). The Imperial Chapel was consecrated on 30th July 1756, and thus the entire Golden Enfilade will be brought back to life,” explained Bott.

One of the greatest achievements during the reconstruction of the monuments lost during the Great Patriotic War is the reconstruction of the Amber Room. The unique interior, presented to Tsar Peter I by the Prussian king Friedrich-Wilhelm I, disappeared without a trace during the war years; its fate remaining a mystery to this day. Work on the recreation of the “eighth wonder of the world” lasted twenty-four years and on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of St Petersburg the restored legendary Amber Room received its first visitors. 

“The greatest sadness and the greatest hope of my generation is to see the state rooms and private quarters of the Empress Catherine II restored. It is hard to imagine when these rooms will be realized,” said Bott. In the meantime, there are plans to recreate the rooms of Emperor Alexander II and Empress Maria Alexandrovna in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace.

Later this year, noted Bott, one of the most grand palace halls of the 18th century – the Lyon Hall will be opened. “This is the ceremonial hall, located next to the Arabesque Hall, which was also created in Catherine’s times, and underwent significant changes in the middle of the 19th century. We will restore it to its pre-war look,” she added.

0295b

The Alexander Palace was closed for restoration in August 2015

Alexander Palace and the lost exhibits

“Besides the Catherine Palace, we still have the Alexander Palace and a large number of pavilions to restore and recreate in the Alexander Park, all of which require a lot of work,” said Bott. In recent years, the Martial Chamber, the Arsenal and Chapelle pavilions were opened to visitors. In 2019, the first eight rooms of the Alexander Palace are scheduled to be opened.

The museum is working hard to return the lost exhibits to the collection.

“Before the war, our entire museum collection was catalogued, so we have the exact numbers — about 110 thousand pieces. Of course, not all of them could be evacuated, only the finest items were evacuated – about 19 thousand items. Today we have in our collection more than 50 thousand items: these include items that we acquired at auctions, and those that we received from donors and sponsors. Descendants of soldiers and civilians who stole items as a souvenir from the palaces during the war years have returned more than a hundred items,” said Bott.

It is interesting to note that when the Alexander Palace was handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 1951, a total of 5,615 items that were still among the evacuated items in the Central Repository of Museum Stocks from the Suburban Palace-Museums, were transferred to the Pavlovsk Palace State Museum. Of these, nearly 200 pieces were from the Alexander Palace ceremonial halls. These included 39 pieces of porcelain, 41 paintings, 73 decorative bronze pieces, and 28 pieces of furniture. Let us hope that as a gesture of goodwill, that the Pavlovsk Palace-Museum administration will do the right thing, and return all of these items back to the Alexander Palace – PG

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 January 2019

1.2 Billion Rubles Allocated for Restoration of the Alexander Palace

0291a

A recent photo of the facade of the Alexander Palace

On 18th January, an announcement was made that more than 1.2 billion rubles ($18 million USD) will be allocated for the restoration of the Alexander Palace and the Imperial Farm at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve in 2019

The Government of the Russian Federation has finalized a draft decree which will allocate the necessary funding to complete the restoration of the Alexander Palace, ensuring that it will be open to visitors in 2020. In a previous news article, I noted that a partial reopening of the palace would take place in late 2019.

During a press conference held last Friday, Olga Taratynova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum, noted that several rooms of the Alexander Palace, where Emperor Nicholas II and his family lived, where planned to open in 2018, the year marking the 100th anniversary of the their murders on 17th July 1918. Unfortunately, their goal was not realized due to lack of funding. The initial estimate for the restoration of the historical interiors of the palace was estimated at 2 billion rubles ($30 million USD), but the federal budget only transferred 827 million rubles ($12 million USD), leaving the museum to look independently for the remaining balance. Ticket and excursion sales by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve raised 279 million rubles ($4.2 million USD). The Russian Government have promised to allocate 1,027,930,000 rubles (15 million USD) in 2019.

0291b

Vintage postcard of the Imperial Farm situated in the Alexander Park, Tsarskoye Selo

The Russian Government have also confirmed that an additional 187 million rubles ($2.8 million USD) have been allocated for the reconstruction of the Imperial Farm in 2019. This cost to complete this project is estimated at 713 million rubles ($10.8 million USD). Over the past few years, the Russian Government have invested 418 million rubles ($6.3 million USD) in the Imperial Farm, while the Central Scientific Research Geological Museum in St. Petersburg, contributed an additional 108 million rubles ($1.6 million USD).

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve also have plans for the reconstruction of the Chinese Theatre and Mount Parnassus, both of which are situated in the Alexander Park.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 January 2019

Conference: ‘Palaces, Mansions & Estates in a Museum Format’

0262c

© The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

The 24th Tsarskoye Selo Academic Conference themed Palaces, Mansions & Estates in a Museum Format was held at the Catherine Palace during 26-28 November 2018. 

An excellent finale to this year’s Four Museums’ Centenary, the conference included over 60 presentations by independent researchers and scientific employees of Tsarskoye Selo, the State Hermitage Museum, Peterhof, the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg’s State University, State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering and the History Institute of the Russian Academy of Science.  

0262b

© The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

The presentations reflected the different fates of the monuments, collections and objects nationalized after 1917. The authors touched upon some legal problems risen during the moving of Russian cultural values ​​in the post-revolutionary years, the development of inventory and storage rules under new conditions, the fate of imperial and grand ducal estates and mansions, as well as some issues of protection and use of the monuments today. They also reminded of people who dedicated their lives to the preservation and revival of historic and artistic monuments.

The conference proceedings are available HERE (Russian).

© The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. 6 December 2018

Tender Issued for Restoration of the Chinese Theatre in Tsarskoye Selo

0259

The Chinese Theatre is currently in a terrible state of ruin and disrepair

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve have announced a tender for the restoration the Chinese Theater in the Alexander Park. The cost of work is estimated at 4 million rubles. Acceptance of applications will continue until December 12, and on December 17 the results of the tender will be announced.

A tender for the restoration of the theatre was initially announced in March 2014, however, funding for the project was not available at the time.

The restoration of the cultural heritage object will be designed and adapted for modern use. The work in the theater itself will begin, after the area surrounding the building have been cleared of weeds and other plants, which have overgrown and causing damage to the walls of this theatre.

The Chinese Theatre was built in 1778, by the famous architect Antonio Renaldi. Simple white walls were decorated with a luxurious cornice, however, destroyed in the 19th century. The curvature of the roof gave the building an exotic look. Inside, the richly decorated oriental-style interiors were decorated with authentic elements ​​brought from China. 

The building was destroyed by fire during the shelling of 1941, and has yet to be restored.

Click HERE to read my article + photos about the Chinese Theatre, published on 26 March 2014, and now stored in our archives online.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 December 2018

Anglo-Russian Hospital: Six Thousand Saved

0256f

PHOTO © The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

The Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd. 1915–1918, a joint exhibition by Tsarskoe Selo and the Russian Museum of Military Medicine, is open at the Martial Chamber till 27 January 2019.

The exhibition is based on old photographs, nearly 50 copies of which were donated to Tsarskoe Selo by Dr Pauline Monro MBE MD FRCP, a British neurologist with long-standing connections to the medical community in Russia (see below, middle), and Mr Simon Boyd, the grandson of Lady Sybil Grey (see below, right) who set up and temporarily ran the Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd (as St Petersburg was renamed in 1914 to make its name Sankt Peterburg sound less German).

The original photographs were gathered by Dr Monro and Mr Boyd from descendants and relatives of those who worked at the Anglo-Russian Hospital during World War One.

0256b

PHOTO © The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

The Russian Museum of Military Medicine lent to the exhibition such artifacts as soldier hospital clothes, Russian and British surgical kits and patient care accessories.

The establishment of the Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd began from a special committee created in London in August 1915 under the patronage of HM Queen Alexandra. Lady Muriel Paget, a British philanthropist and humanitarian relief worker was appointed Honorary Organizing Secretary. According to the committee’s estimate, an equipped and staffed hospital with 200 beds would require 30,000 pounds sterling a year.  Proposed by the British Foreign Office, the hospital was funded by public subscription and supported by donations from King George V and Mary of Teck, the British Red Cross Society, the Canadian government, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem and other organizations. The British government provided transportation.

An advance party left for Petrograd in October 1915. It was was led by Lady Muriel Paget and her colleague Lady Sybil Grey, the second daughter of Albert Grey, 4th Earl Gray and Governor General of Canada. The two women were the key figures involved in organizing and running the hospital. 

 

The Dmitri Palace, now known as the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, was formally offered as the ‘base’ hospital in Petrograd. A huge, Neo-Baroque building by the Fontanka River with a distinctive orange facade and opulent interiors lit by brilliant chandeliers, the Palace had hosted lavish parties for Russian high society in the 19th century, and had been home to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich before he was killed by a terrorist bomb. It was the property of Emperor Nicholas II’s cousin Dmitri Pavlovich, one of the few Romanovs to later escape execution after the revolution.

The Palace was then converted into a hospital during November and December 1915. The official opening of the hospital took place on 1 February 1916. The opening ceremony was attended by Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, Tsarina Alexandra with her elder daughters Tatiana and Olga, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna and the British ambassador to Russia George Buchanan.

The staff was volunteer and included several prominent London surgeons. Two large wards were arranged in the Music Room and two adjacent sitting rooms. Those were adjoined by the patients’ dining room, bathrooms, toilets and a large wound dressing room. The operating, narcosis and sterilization rooms, an X-ray room and a bacteriological laboratory were located on the same floor. There was also a staff room with two surgeons and two orderlies on duty, a dental office, a kitchen, a laundry room and a carpentry workshop.

0256e

PHOTO © The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve

The hospital’s official blazon consisted of a British imperial lion and a Russian imperial double-headed eagle holding a red cross (see upper left in picture above).

During the 11 months between November 1915 and October 1916 more than six thousand patients received treatment in the Anglo-Russian hospitals (and field camps) in Russia, including at the base hospital in St Petersburg.  It closed in January 1918 as conditions became too difficult following the revolution.

A memorial plaque was hung in the entrance hall of the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace in 1996.

© The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. 23 November 2018