Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Nicholas l Breaks Collarbone on the Winter Palace Stairs

On the night of November 9th 1829 Nicholas rushed from his study on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace when he heard a noise of breaking vases. He slipped on the floor and fell, hitting his head. He lay a long time unnoticed on the cold floor and was seriously ill for the next two weeks.

On August 26th 1836 at 8:00 pm, a medical bulletin was issued stating that Nicholas’ closed carriage had overturned after leaving the city of Penza in the early morning. He had fallen on his left shoulder and broke his collarbone.

In a letter to his friend Ivan Paskevich on August 30th, Nicholas wrote “… You have already learned the reason I am unable to complete my trip to you [Poland]. Assuming you worry about my situation, I hasten to assure you that my collarbone fracture does not produce any pain but am tormented by the tight bandaging and am starting to get used to it …”

On October 9th 1848 Nicholas slipped and fell on the ‘hard-waxed’ staircase in the Winter Palace while climbing to his 3rd floor study. He again broke his left collarbone and said the bruising and pain was much more sensitive at this time.

Photographs (below) of the Saltykov staircase (the last photo is the upper landing to 3rd floor corridor to Nicholas study) 

Photographs (below) of the Hermitage’s magnificent restoration of Nicholas’ study


  1. These are the first ever photos I've ever seen of Saltykov staircase, I've I only ever seen Konstantin Andreyevich Ukhtomsky picture of it, thanks for doing a post on it.
    Poor Nicholas :(
    What a great job the Hermitage has done in restoring Nicholas's study, the roof looks like its covered in stars, beautiful!
    Ghostie x.

  2. The Hermitage has done a fantastic restoration of Nicholas' rooms on the 3rd floor!

    It's an amazing feeling walking up and down the Saltykov. I was intrigued at the narrow shaft for the former elevator. I have many photos of the Saltykov staircase now and c1900.

  3. The Jordan stairs always fascinated me from the very first time I saw it, I love it's design, I also liked the design of the October stair case and these are the one's you see the most photos of so it begs the question of;is the Saltykov staircase not accessible to the public? I bet it must have been an amazing feeling to do so, the thought of walking in the footsteps of all those people who must have ascended and descended it gives me shivers :)
    The name Saltykov I think I read somewhere that it was named after the one who design it, is this correct or was it called that for some other reason?
    I'd really love to know more about the staircases in the Winter Palace and who designed them.
    Ghostie x.

  4. Saltykov is open to the public - one of the staircases to access the 3 floors. It is named after a tutor!

    I think you mean the Jordan staircase is the most famous. The 'October' is off in the southeast corner. Entrance to the Winter Palace is through the former Ambassador's entrance and up the Jordan staircase.

    Weird but I was just writing on the 'October' when I saw your comment!!

  5. Oops, (gives an embarrassed look ) sorry yes I did mean the Jordan staircase, sometimes my brain is faster than my fingers!.
    Ooooo that's just a bit spooky, can't wait to see what you have written about it!
    Ghostie x.