Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Potted Walls in the Winter Palace

After the fire on December 17th, 1837 destroyed the Winter Palace, a Commission was formed to restore the palace. The wooden walls and partitions, installed in the 1820s-1830s, were a contributing cause of the fire.

To prevent further fire hazards, the Committee under Kleinmikhel used a new technology called ‘potted’ for the interior walls and ceilings.

The potted method lessened the weight of the vaulted ceilings and walls. Up to five million clay pots were produced by May 1838, allowing the walls to quickly dry for finishing.

When the Hermitage Museum restored the former rooms of Nicholas I on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace, they left open one of the potted walls.

Photographs (below) of the potted wall on the 3rd floor




For a long time, the potted walls were a mystery to me when reading descriptions of the walls. Six years ago, I discovered photos of the interior staircase on the 2nd floor showing the pots exposed. One architectural detail finally solved!


10 comments:

  1. How very odd. And from the pictures it looks like they put up this potted wall right in front of another wall. Very odd, as well...!

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    1. When I first saw the photos, I thought the tiled wall belonged to the old bathroom during Nicholas I's reign and another wall built before it during reconstruction of the rooms in subsequent reigns.

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  2. Very interesting to see how it was constructed and its great to see that the Hermitage left a wall open so you can see how it was done.
    Great post!
    Ghostie x.

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  3. I was awed to finally see what a potted wall looked like in the staircase ceiling!

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  4. Joanna, Just out of curiosity, in the 1st photo what is the ghost image in the glass of?
    Ghostie x.

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  5. The shadow of Nicholas I peering at us through time!

    It is the reflection of the photographer.

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  6. To catch a ghost of a member of the royal family on camera now that would be something!
    Is the photographer you?
    Ghostie x.

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  7. I wish!

    The former rooms of Nicholas I on the 3rd floor were only reopened after the beautiful extensive restoration by the Hermitage last fall.

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