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Parks in revival

23.03.2020

Ms Alexandra Hodan of St Petersburg donated to the Museum an album of photographs capturing the palaces and parks of Pushkin town (Tsarskoe Selo) in the post-war 1940s.

A great addition to our photograph collection, the album was probably attached to a report on the start of restoration works in the Catherine and Alexander Parks sent to Moscow in 1947. It ended up in the home archive of Alexandra’s grandmother, Nina Sulje (nee Narovatkina), a state employee in culture and education.

According to Victoria Plaude, our photograph collection curator, the album represents the parks’ condition in 1944–47 and therefore is very important to us historically. One picture showing a storeroom of wood-carved fragments in the Hermitage pavilion (see pic.1/4 above) is particularly valuable because we have never seen it before.

The photos contain the initial stages of reconstruction of the “green reserves” at Tsarskoe Selo, with newly planted alleys of trees next to depressing war-stricken landscapes (pic.3/4). Many photos are interesting for showing park employees cleaning the ponds, some pre- and post-restoration statues, and the re-installed fountains Swan near the main entrance and Girl-with-a-Pitcher, the romantic symbol of the Catherine Park (pic.4/4).