Friday, 15 July 2016

The Odyssey of the Elephant Tusks

Among the gifts Nicholas II brought back from his 1890-91 Eastern trip were two elephant tusks. They were stored for two years in the Anichkov Palace.

In the winter of 1893-94, Nicholas’ collection was exhibited in the Hermitage for the Imperial Saving Service Society charity under the auspices of the Empress.

The elephant tusks were displayed in the Great Hall #214 in the Old Hermitage. The photo below is from the catalogue album.

Six weeks after moving into the Winter Palace, Nicholas wrote on Thursday, February 15th, 1896 “… After reading through reports this morning, I fiddled around with several pieces of mine, which I arranged in the Reception Room …”

The tusks were placed in front of the fireplace in the Reception Room #176 on the 2nd floor (photo below c1899).

On November 9th, 1917 fourteen days after the October Revolution, the Art Commission under V. Vereshchagin started photographing the rooms of the Winter Palace. The photo below shows the tusks through the small door to the anteroom #175.

The elephant tucks are exhibited in the Hermitage today.

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