Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Alexander II’s Library in the Winter Palace

After Grand Duke Konstantin’s marriage in 1848, his rooms on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace facing the Large Inner Courtyard were restructured for Alexander II.

Konstantin’s former bedroom, next to the Ship Room, was renovated as a 3rd Library for Alexander.

Hau’s 1871 watercolor (below) of the Library

On the desk in the far center of the watercolor are three marble busts of Alexander II’s sisters; Marie, Olga and Alexandra. The reasons why they blocked the door to the next room with a desk and paintings are revealed in my forthcoming book.

In the Winter Palace on Monday, January 5th, 1898 Nicholas II wrote “… In the evening I went with Alix to rummage around in Anpapa’s [Alexander II] library, where there is many exceedingly interesting things in the historical sense …”

I have a photograph of the library as it was in 1898. There are over fifteen index card file boxes arranged neatly on the tables. It is odd to realize that their cataloguing system was similar to ours until computerization.

The library today (below) has been meticulously restored by the Hermitage.


  1. It's funny, you'd think the library would be bigger or have more books than that. Guess the royal family weren't big readers.

  2. But oh all the secrets in those shelves and drawers... "old Romanov family souvenirs

  3. Alexander II had 3 libraries in the Winter Palace. They also divided their books among the various residences i.e. Tsarskoe, Peterhof, etc.
    The library above contained the Imperial family's most private papers i.e. diaries, letters etc. I will detail more in my book along with who had access.