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The Cottage Palate

plan of parks of petrodvorets

1. Fountains of THE GRAND CASCADE and Sculpture Group SAMSON WRENCHING OPEN THE JAWS OF A LION WITH HIS BARE HANDS

2. CHALICE Fountains

3. GRAND PALACE

4. Upper Gardens

5. CONSERVATORY Pavilion and TRITON Fountain

6. ROMAN Fountains

7. CHEQUER-BOARD HILL Cascade

8. PYRAMID Fountain

9. Monument to Peter I

10. SUN Fountain

11. Western Bird House

12. MONPLAISIR Palace

13. CATHERINE'S WING of Monplaisir Palace

14. ADAM Fountain

15. EVE Fountain

16. HERMITAGE Pavilion

17. MARLY Palace

18. GOLDEN HILL Cascade

19. FARM PALACE

20. COTTAGE Palace

 

 

The Cottage Palate is the principal architectural feature in the Alexandria Park of Petrodvorets.

The Palace stands on the upper terrace in the south-eastern section of the park commanding a magnificent prospect of the Gulf of Finland with the distant skylines of Leningrad and Kronstadt. The Cottage is surrounded by a landscape park with shady avenues, winding walks, lawns, clusters of trees and shrubs.

The Cottage was built in 1826 -1829 to the design of the architect Adam Menelaws in a pseudo-Gothic style in vogue in Russia at the turn of the century. The moderate-sized two-storey building with a garret is decorated with acute-angled pediments, lancet arcades, bay-windows, rosettes, arch corbels, fleurons and tri-foils.

Contributing to the construction and decoration of the Palace were academician of pictorial art G.-B. Scotti, the carver V. Zakharov, the moulder M. Sokolov and many other talented Russian craftsmen - parquet-layers, joiners, plasterers, masons and other artisans.

The Cottage is noted for the perfect harmony of decor and appointments attained through the use of Gothic motifs in moulding, painting, carving and ornamentation of the objects of applied art. The tracery stuc-cowork of the ceilings in the shape of Gothic lattices, vaults and corbels is skilfully integrated with ornamental painting. An important feature of the architectural decor is the superb carving of the window and door jambs, as well as the strictly geometrical patterns of the parquetry. The Gothic motif is likewise reflected in the handwoven carpets, ornamentation of stoves, marble mantelpieces and furniture. The clocks, candelabra and chandeliers are also Gothic in style.

The wall and ceiling painting is a salient feature in the decor of many rooms. The staircase walls were painted from G.-B. Scotti's sketches made by the artist in the prime of his talent. Done in grisaille, the paintings represent an interior of a medieval castle. Set into the vestibule wall is a trophy stone from the fortress of Varna commemorating the victories of Russian troops in the Russo-Tur-kish War of 1828-1829. An important role in the decorative schemc of the Palace belongs to the paintings, engravings, miniature portraits, bronze and marble statuary by Russian and West-European masters. The apartments of the Palace are typical specimens of Russian residential interiors finished in the style of romanticism.

The Cottage served Nicholas I and Alexandra Fyodorovna (his wife) as a summer residence.

Particularly remarkable from the viewpoint of decor are the ground-floor rooms. Here there are the Study of Alexandra Fyodorovna, the Grand Drawing Room, the Library and the Grand and Small Reception Rooms. In 1842-1843 the architect A. Sta-kenschneider added the Dining Room with a Marble terrace to the Cottage building. In the external niche of the north fagade the architect placed the Madonna and Child sculptural group by I. Vitali.

The Study of Nickolas I on the first floor is of the same size as the ground-floor Grand Drawing Room and duplicates some elements of its decor. The first-floor rooms are less spacious and more restrained in their decoration. Several rooms were assigned to children. They are provided with the Classroom Balcony fitted out as a camp tent. In the 1890s the е first-floor Study was redecorated in the modern style by the architect R. Melzer for Maria Fyodorovna (widow of Alexander III).

Until 1917 the Alexandria Park and its palaces were the property of Russian emperors vigilantly guarded by Cossacks and the police. The access to the park was imperatively restricted.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution the Cottage Palace was converted into a history-and-art museum open to the public. The scientifically based display representing the Russian and West-European art of the second quarter of the nineteenth century attracted numerous visitors.

At the outset of the Great Patriotic War most of the exhibits (1980 out of 2500) were evacuated. During the nazi occupation of Peterhof the invaders wrecked the decor of the Palace interiors: the stuccowork mouldings, carved oak panels and wall paintings were heavily damaged, while the remaining pieces of furniture were almost completely destroyed.

In the post-war years large-scale restoration work was carried out in the palace and park complex of Petrodvorets. After measures were taken to prevent further dilapidation of the building, comprehensive restoration of the Cottage Palace was undertaken.

In 1978 the artists, sculptors, marble-cutters and master-craftsmen of many trades of the Leningrad Restav-rator Association, working under the supervision of the architect I. Benois, completed the reconstruction of the Palace. The decor and appointments of the interiors were brought close to their original appearance. Extensive museological work aimed at making up for the losses as well as the study of archival and pictorial materials helped to recreate the former exposition.

The sea-and landscapes by I. Aiva-zovsky, O. Kiprensky, S. Shchedrin, S. Vorobiev and M. Vorobiev were back again in the Grand Drawing, Dining and Grand Reception Rooms and in other apartments of the Palace. The Study of Nicholas I houses the famous seascapes by the seventeenth- and eighteenth-ccntury Dutch masters J. Porcellis, L. Backhuysen, S. de Vlieger, J. van Goyen and others. All in all, the art collections of the Cottage contain over 200 pictures. Among the most remarkable sculptures are the works of such prominent masters as I.-G. Shadov, Ch. Rauch andl. Vitali.

The visitors can also see fine specimens of the decorative and applied arts: fancy furniture, bronze and cas-tiron pieces, a stained glass collection and nineteenth-century Russian and West-European porcelain.

The Cottage Palace is open: from November 1 till May 1 daily, except Mondays and the last Tuesday of each month;

from May 1 till November 1 daily, except Fridays and the last Thursday of each month.

Hours: 11 a. m. to 6p. m. Suburban electric trains leave from the Baltic Terminal.

plan of palace

Ground-Floor Rooms:

1,2- The Entrance Hall; 3 - the Introductory Exhibition (former Bedchamber) ; 4 - The Study of Alexandra Fyodorovna; 5 - The Grand Drawing Room; 6 - The Library; 7 -The Grand Reception Room; 8, 9 -The Dining Room; 10 - The Minor Reception Room; 11 - The Staircase; 12 - The Marble Terrace

First-Floor Rooms:

1 - The Room Before Round Balcony; 2 - The Bathroom; 3 - The Room Before Classroom Balcony; 4 - The Classroom Balcony; 5 - The Classroom; 6 - The Cloak Room; 7 -The Dressing Room; 8 - The Study of Nicholas I; 9,10 - The Drawing Room and The Study of Maria Fyodorovna ; 11 - The Nursery; 12 - The Round Balcony

the state museum reserve in the town of petrodvorets