The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs
Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo
- ISBN 9780500516478
- 21.00 x 29.50 cm
- Hardback in a box
- 336 Illustrations, 289 in colour
- First published 2012
‘A treat … over 350 pages of exquisite photographs by Marc Walter, augmented by fascinating archival images, and eminently readable, scholarly text … beautiful’ – House & Garden
‘So sumptuous that it comes in its own box … This book celebrates the revival and restoration of the complex, its many treasures and encyclopaedic compendium of styles’ – World of Interiors
The Russian imperial residence of Tsarskoye Selo – the ‘Tsar’s Village’ – is now more than three hundred years old. It was once a modest estate housing a summer residence for Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great. The building now known as the Catherine Palace was extensively rebuilt by Empress Elizabeth and then lavishly refurbished by Catherine II, known as Catherine the Great.
The estate now is not only a piece of art history but a living testimony to the tastes and private passions of the Romanov family. Their clothes and porcelain, their desks and bookshelves build an intimate and involving portrait of life in imperial Russia.
This empress’s love of art and decoration is evident in the sumptuous interiors and in the extensive park, filled with fanciful pavilions, bridges and monuments. Catherine also commissioned the neoclassical Alexander Palace for her favourite grandson, the future Alexander I; this later became home to the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family until their exile to Siberia.
Occupied by the Nazi forces in 1941, Tsarskoye Selo saw its treasures plundered and many of its interiors left derelict. Fortunately, some of its magnificent interiors survived, while others, such as the extravagant Amber Room, have since been painstakingly restored to their former opulence.
The palaces and pavilions are a glorious showcase for Russian art and craftsmanship in a huge variety of materials and techniques, from the mirrors and lavish gilding of the Great Hall to the blood-red beauty of the Agate Rooms, their walls lined with Siberian jasper.
Specially commissioned photographs by Marc Walter are accompanied by fascinating archive images, capturing a bygone age of baroque splendour that will captivate art lovers and historians alike.
Emmanuel Ducamp is a specialist on 18th- and 19th-century Russian history. He worked with Oleg Neverov, curator at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, on the book Great Private Collections of Imperial Russia, also published by Thames & Hudson. Ducamp is vice-president of the Association Paris-Saint-Pétersbourg, which promotes cultural relations between France and Russia.
Marc Walter is a photographer and graphic designer. His recent books include A Taste for the Exotic, Empire Style, The Great Family Houses of Europe and The World in 1900, all published by Thames & Hudson.