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The Maid of Honour's room

Vincenzo Brenna created the Maid of Honour's room between 1797 and 1799 after a design. It occupies the place of the former Study of Maria Feodorovna and part of her Dressing Room. The Maid of Honour's Room marks the end of the central wing and the start of the staterooms of the southern wing. The walIs of the room were finished with artificial marble and moulding and originally had no pictures. The furnishings were a mahogany piano, two mahogany chairs, a steel table with a painted design, two commodes and eleven chairs painted white and upholstered with green morocco.

An elegant chandelier (J. Zech, St Petersburg, 1790s) hung in the first compartment (now in the Dressing Room). There was a glass lamp in the second compartment at the exit to the auxillary staircase. At the present time, the room contains a cylindrical mahogany bureau (David Roentgen, Germany, late 18th century), a secretaire with a painted inset by Angelica Kauffmann (A. Dasson, France, mid-19th century) and two patterned chests of drawers (late 18th century). Two candelabra (France, circa 1770) originally fr om the fireplaces of the Greek Hall now stand on the chests of drawers. The suite of carved gilt furniture was made by Russian masters in the late eighteenth century and upholstered in silk with drawings of swans and pheasants (Lazarev Factory, Moscow, after a drawing by the French artist and decorator F. de Lassal, 18th century).

The bronze clock (France, late 18th century) on the bureau depicts a scene from the popular opera Le Deserteur, by the French composer Pierre Alexandre Monsigny. The musical box underneath the clock played melodies from the opera (Russia, late 18th century). There are several pictures on the walls, including the popular canvas Cupid Shooting from a Bow (1 761), painted by Charles Andre Van Loo (1705-65), painter to the King of France. The small god of love has his arrow aimed at the heart of the visitor no matter wh ere you stand in the room. This simple effect is the invariable delight of visitors to the palace. Opposite is a portrait of Maria Feodorovna (Jean Louis Voille, 1792). The two wall lamp-brackets (France, 1784) are especially noted for their exquisite patterns and elegant finish.