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The Throne Room

The Throne Room is the largest room in the palace. It was created between 1797 and 1799 after a project by Vincenzo Brenna and is an excellent example of the architect's style. The corners of this square room were cut off to form wide niches, which were filled with moulded stoves. The centre of each wall is cut through with arched apertures in exact proportion to the corner niches. The lavish stucco moulding and sculpture intensify this effect, while the narrow windows and doorways break the monotony of the intervals between them. The plastic composition of the room is supplemented by the perspective design painted on the ceiling. It was long believed that the plafond was not painted after Gonzaga's original design. Recent research works, however, largely confirm that the original project was indeed realized, only to be whitewashed over in the late nineteenth century, when funds for its restoration ran low. The current painting was made in 1957 after the author's original design. Special attention ought to be paid to the pair of caryatids framing the arched apertures. They were created in 1798 by the sculptors Ivan Martos and Mikhail Kozlovsky after designs by Vincenzo Brenna. The caryatids were painstakingly recreated after the war by the sculptors T. Shabalkina (left) and N. Maltseva (right) on the basis of pre-war photographs.

The Throne Room was originally designed as the Dining Room. A room with such a name is indeed mentioned in the construction documents and the subject matter of the decorative moulding largely corresponds to this original intention - fruits, flowers, cornucopias and musical instruments. When work on the room was completed, however, a throne was placed here against a background of the draped window opposite the entrance from the Picture Gallery.

It is intended in the future to restore the throne to the Throne Room. Two porcelain services are currently on exhibition here. The central table is set with the Parisian Service (Sevres, France, 1781-82) and the side tables are set with the Golden Service (Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1828). An integral part of the interior are the four lamps (J. Zech, St Petersburg, 1801). These have been in the Throne Room from the moment it was created (restored after the war with the addition of many remanufactured details). Two fine blue porcelain vases with bronze armature (Sevres, France, circa 1782) are only on temporary exhibition in the room. Their historical place is in the State Bedroom of the Gatchina Palace.