The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg has been waiting to share its intimate details in English.
It is a story of a palace of immense size and of an Imperial family of immense wealth. It is a story of the daily public and intimate life in the palace that was loved and disdained and withstood decades of changes.
In 1826 the former apartment of Alexander I and
Empress Elizabeth was reconstructed for Nicholas and Alexandra on the 2nd
floor of the Winter Palace. Archival documents describe the new interiors but
there have been few images of the rooms before the palace was destroyed in the 1837 fire until now.
A rare watercolor (below) of Nicholas and
Alexandra’s Bedroom (184) before the 1837 fire
E. Hau’s watercolor c1859 (below) of the Bedroom (note
the architect Briullov retained many architectural details)
In the Winter Palace on Good Friday March 22nd
1896 Nicholas II and Alexandra ‘attended
at 7:00pm the service and then went around all the palace corridors and halls
with the Shroud’.
Photograph (below) of the restored Cathedral in the
Winter Palace today
Nicholas wrote on Holy Saturday April 8th
1900 that ‘we went with the children to
Uncle Sergei’s and Ella’s to color Easter eggs’.
On Easter Sunday April 1st 1901 the Mass in
the Cathedral of the Winter Palace ‘was
over at 2:30am and we returned to the Malachite Hall and broke our fast with
pleasure. We went to bed before 4:00am’.
Photograph (below) of the restored ceiling in the
Cathedral of the Winter Palace today