Monday, 2 July 2018

Empress Maria’s Bedroom & Salon in the Anichkov Palace

At the end of their meeting in the Anichkov Palace, Emperor Alexander III invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolai Girs to stay for lunch on Wednesday December 24th 1886. 'After the meal, Empress Maria was taken to the inner apartments where changes had just been completed. Their bedroom was moved to the top floor. Returning to the table, the empress asked her husband whether he really does not regret to part with the room they occupied for so many years to which he replied; Not at all’. Although five years later on May 26th 1891 Alexander was writing from Gatchina how it was ‘boring and empty without you here. It’s disgusting to be alone and again be apart from you, dear Minnie darling’.

Aerial views (below) of Anichkov Palace

Photograph c1900 (below) of the Anichkov Palace

Photograph c1920s (below) of the Bedroom in the Anichkov Palace
Countess Zinaida Mengden was appointed lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Empress Maria in 1912. She recounted in her memoir a funny incident that happened in the Anichkov Palace. Every Thursday the empress would meet the heads of the institutions of which she was patroness to listen to their estimates, reports and proposals. Each was met individually in the Red Salon. 'During a long report being read to her, the empress put her embroidery down on the floor next to her chair while listening intently. Then she noticed that the brown-yellow crochet hook was far away from her leg. Suddenly the hook began to move! The empress looked at the official with round eyes, unable to think about the report anymore. Meanwhile the hook, wriggling, crawled towards him. It turned out that it was an earthworm that got out of the flower tub!

Photographs c1920s and today (below) of the Red Salon in the Anichkov Palace


  1. The state of the Red Salon is wonderful, even minus its furniture. : )

    A heads up that the second photo is reversed. I'd never noticed that curved adjacent wing before. Googled it to find out that it's called the Anichkov Lyceum; I guess it was added in the Thirties.

  2. Thank you very much Stephilius!

  3. Stepilius does his research! I love that!!!

  4. Whose picture is above the bed?

    1. It's eerie. Difficult to discern trying to zoom in. Is it Rasputin or a saint? The photo was taken after the revolution.

    2. I thought it might be Rasputin, but I thought it would be odd for her to have his picture there. It could be Jesus. A Saint too...I hadn't thought of that.

  5. it certainly wouldn't be Rasputin. the dowager empress did not like him. for that matter, i'm not sure she ever even met him.