Friday, 15 June 2018

Nicholas II in the Winter Palace Drawing Room

The architect Nikolai Nabokov designed the furniture and other fixtures for Empress Alexandra’s Silver Drawing Room (186) on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace in 1895.

Photograph c1900 (below) of the Silver Drawing Room

Nabokov interspersed in the drawing room 18th century pieces of furniture from the Winter Palace collection that survived the 1837 fire. One is the secrétaire en armoire [writing desk] by the French master Jean Henri Riesener (below).

With the limited number of interior images, I am continuously awed when I stumble upon Winter Palace photographs!

Rare photograph (below) of Nicholas II sitting next to the secrétaire

Photograph c1917 (below) of the Silver Drawing Room [Secrétaire en armoire is exhibited today in room 296 of the Hermitage Museum]


  1. It's nice to see some of the rare photos coming too light, I think I've only seen one of the pictures of the Silver drawing room so thanks for doing this post, always great work!
    Ghostie x

  2. Joanna, Thank you for these beautiful pictures!
    Do you happen to know the name of the dog in the first picture?
    I wonder whether it is the same dog as shown in this picture of Nicholas and Alexandra in Livadia:

  3. Thank you very much Petra for the lovely comment. It was Alexandra's dog, most likely Shilka, as the photo was taken in 1900. On December 16th 1896 Nicholas wrote about taking Shilka and his two dogs for a walk. Later Alexandra had another lapdog, a Scotch Terrier, called Ayr. It may be Ayr that was in Livadia as the photo appears to be later years.

  4. Thank you for this information, Joanna. :-)
    'Shilka' didn’t ring a bell with me, so I searched for more info on her and her breed and found two further references in Nicholas's diary:
    “We took a walk together with a new dog – also a collie and Iman’s spouse to be.” [6 November 1896]
    "About 6 pm my dog Shilka gave birth to 2 puppies, whose father was Iman." [22 January 1897]
    If Nicholas's new collie mentioned in the first entry was Shilka, the dog in the photograph probably wasn't her.
    Alexandra mentioned a smaller dog named Ara in her letters to her brother in May and October 1895. Ara/Eira/Ayr – perhaps one and the same dog, the one buried next to Iman, Voron, and Shilka on the Children's Island?

  5. Great discovery Petra on Shilka! There is little research on the dogs. It has to be Ara in the photo above. With so few photographs of the Winter Palace interiors, I doubt we will ever discover Nicholas' dogs in the rooms. If they did roam around the rooms, I wonder if there were accidents i.e. precious objects falling off the tables as they were big!