The Carpet Study
Following in the footsteps of the guests as they passed fr om the ceremonial and somewhat chilly state rooms into the cosier and more intimate chambers, we proceed to the Carpet Room. Like the symmetrical Library of Maria Feodorovna and unlike the previous rooms (Italian, Greek, War Rooms), wh ere the artistic effect is achieved largely by architectural means - the form of the room, its proportions and order - here the accent is on the decor and the three large carpets covering the walls. The room as designed by Vencenzo Brenna and his projects feature the gobelins presented to Pavel and Maria in 1782 by King Louis XVI of France. From 1790 to 1793 these gobelins did indeed hang on the wall. They remained there until 1931, when the Soviet government sold them for hard currency (they are now in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California).
The gobelins with medallions were executed after cartoons by F. Bouche on a background of raspberry-pink and woven all over in a flowery pattern. They originally hung alongside yellow curtains edged with a border of lilac flowers. The carved gilt canape and chairs (A. Jacob workshop, 1780s), still part of the decor even today, were also upholstered with yellow material woven with lilac bouquets (the upholstery was replaced by fabric with eighteenth century.
French embroideries at the end of the nineteenth century). When restoring the palace in 1803 and 1804, Andrei Voronikhin preserved the gobelins and original furniture and replanned the walls as smooth surfaces faced with artificial marble. From the original late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries furnishings still in the study, there are a crystal chandelier (St Petersburg, 1804) and two marble figures of Hebe and Bacchante and Little Satyr (France, circa 1780). On the fireplace is a set of pink porcelain vases (Sevres Royal Manufactory, France, 1780s) presented to Pavel by Louis XVI, the bronze group Cupids Fighting for the Human Heart (France, circa 1780s), a marble Mourner clock (P. Triscorni?) and a bronze Lyre clock (France, 1780s).
The monumental mahogany and ivory writing desk is decorated with copies of ancient cameos and is a unique example of Russian palace furniture. It was manufactured in 1800 after drawings by Vincenzo Brenna and Carlo Rossi for St Michael's Castle in the workshops of Otto and Hambs, with the participation of N. Fai and possibly Maria Feodorovna herself. The desk stood in the Emperor's study at the time of his murder and legend has it that part of its balustrade was broken as Paul attempted to fight off his assailants (the broken section was restored during the Soviet period). After Paul's death, the desk was removed to the residential chambers of the Pavlovsk Palace (the Common Study on the ground floor).
The walls by the windows are currently decorated with Brussels wall-paper (18th century) - Don Quixote Being Inducted into the Knights and Don Quixote Attacking a Flock of Sheep. The third wall has been temporarily hung with the gobelin Ladies Serving Don Quixote (France, 1776). It originally came from the Raspberry Drawing Room of the Gatchina Palace, which was also designed by Vincenzo Brenna.