The Valet de Chambre Room
The first room through which visitors passed to the Empress was the Valet de Chambre Room, where the Empress's valet, who acted as her secretary, was located during the daytime. Architect Vincenzo Brenna designed its decoration back in 1798, and, despite the small size of the room, it is distinguished by exquisite severity. This is a round room with a single window. The smoothly plastered walls are painted in soft pistachio color. The stucco door frames with lion masks and the ornamental cornice are executed elegantly. The plafond painting imitates a coffered vault.
To the right of the entrance, in a niche, there is a statue of Venus Anadyomene (“wringing out the hair”, an Italian 18th-century copy of the antique original piece). The main furniture of the study corresponds to its purpose: a desk with an inkstand and a bureau for papers and documents. They are made of mahogany with a gilded bronze decor in the workshop of Heinrich Gambs. A small escritoire, a typical example of study furniture, is elegantly decorated by overlays with swans and palmettes. On the beveled corners, there are term figure heads in stylized Egyptian headscarves. The upholstery of the chairs and the borders of the window draperies used cross-stitch Russian work of the early 19th century. Such embroidery was often performed by students of orphan institutions subordinate to the Empress.
On the wall above the bureau, there are picturesque views of Peterhof by the first Russian landscape painter Semyon Shchedrin, as well as watercolor and gouache pieces of the late 18th–early 19th centuries with views of Pavlovsk and Roman ruins, which were fashionable to decorate the walls of offices with.
Between the window and the door leading to the Pilaster Study, there is a fireplace, an indispensable accessory of any living room. Having an important functional and household significance, the fireplace has always had an elegant finish, stylistically close to the interior. This is an authentic white marble fireplace with colored marble inserts. On the mantelpiece is an excellent set of French bronze ware from the late 18th–early 19th century: a pair of high candelabra made of gilded and patinated bronze; in the center is an interesting example of a clock with a rotating clock mechanism: a rotator clock. At the bottom is a bronze firewood stand: a trivet decorated by lying Egyptian sphinxes, an element of the fascination with Egyptian motifs after Napoleon's Egypt campaign (France, the 1800s). This movement was called Egyptomania, which was characteristic of the new artistic style, the French Empire style. The architect Andrey Voronikhin was an enthusiast of Egyptomania in Russia. Being the chief architect of Pavlovsk under the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, he actively introduced these elements into the decor of decorative art objects, which can be seen in the atmosphere of many interiors in the Empress' apartments.
The Valet de Chambre Room on the floor plane