Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Candles for Alexander II’s Asthma
I am forever indebted to the inventor of the on/off light switch and I will never complain again about the hassle of changing a light bulb!
Part of the 1894 inventory of Alexander II’s apartment on the 2nd floor contains detailed lists of the number of candles in each of his rooms. Wax candles were used in the state and family rooms and tallow candles, without fragrance, in the staff/service areas.
Reception room – 2 chandeliers - 48 candles; 2 candelabras - 72 candles
Cabinet – 1 chandelier - 24 candles; 2 candelabras - 36 candles
Study – 1 chandelier - 38 candles
Photograph (below) of the Chandelier in the Study
Small interior buffet room – individual candles
Library – 1 chandelier - 42 candles; 2 candelabras - 48 candles
Although officials began equipping the Winter Palace with gas lighting in 1861, it was never used in Alexander II’s rooms due to his asthma.
The architect Gornostaev installed electric lighting throughout the palace, in stages, from 1883 to 1892.
Photograph (below) of an electrical outlet in the Winter Palace c1890s