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Maple Drawing Room

26.11.2020

A brilliant example of Russian art nouveau interior design, the Maple Drawing Room of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, together with the State Study of Emperor Nicholas II across the Corridor and the Children's Rooms on the upper floor of the Alexander Palace, was built in place of Giacomo Quarenghi's largely unused Concert Hall.

The renovation of 1902-4 was completed by the company of the Meltzer brothers who adorned the room with marvellous stuccowork, with rose stems and trunks on the warm pink walls and rose leaves and flowers near and on the ceiling. The latter was surrounded by a big cornice hiding almost two hundred electric lamps.

The room's decorations included: a beautiful mezzanine connected to another in the emperor's study, a fireplace mirror in the Tiffany style with a metal frame bearing a coloured glass mosaic of roses, a display cabinet with Alexandra's collection of Fabergé eggs and Venetian glass vases, and natural flowers and plants as well.

The interior was zoned into several cozy spaces where the empress could do needlework, read and draw. The children often came here to play, do their homework or enjoy five o'clock tea.

Damaged during WWII, the surviving decorative elements were later considered "of no value" and fell victim to the palace's refurbishment as the Alexander Pushkin Museum.

Thanks to the great efforts of our research staff, design architects and restorers, the Maple Drawing Room is  regaining its original appearance with the stucco decoration, carved mezzanine and built-in furniture of gray maple. The stuccowork is re-created from surviving colour Autochromes, old photographs, and rare examples of the same decorative technique used, for example, in the Hendrik van Gilse van der Pals mansion on Angliysky (Enlgish) Prospekt in St Petersburg. The priceless clues as to the original pink hue and stucco design were found inside a previously sealed space between the two mezzanines

The lighting system of the Maple Drawing Room will also be restored when the East Wing of the Alexander Palace opens to the public. The plant decorations are under consideration as well.