The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo

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Overview

Specially commissioned photographs by Marc Walter and fascinating archive images capture a bygone age of Romanov splendor that will captivate art lovers and historians alike
Situated just south of St. Petersburg, the Russian imperial residence of Tsarskoye Selo is now more than three hundred years old. Tsarskoye Selo (“Tsar’s Village”) was once a modest estate housing a summer residence for Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great. The building now known as the Catherine ...

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Overview

Specially commissioned photographs by Marc Walter and fascinating archive images capture a bygone age of Romanov splendor that will captivate art lovers and historians alike
Situated just south of St. Petersburg, the Russian imperial residence of Tsarskoye Selo is now more than three hundred years old. Tsarskoye Selo (“Tsar’s Village”) was once a modest estate housing a summer residence for Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great. The building now known as the Catherine Palace was extensively rebuilt by Empress Elizabeth and then lavishly refurbished by Catherine the Great. This empress's love of art and decoration is evident in the sumptuous interiors and in the extensive park, filled with fanciful pavilions, bridges, and monuments. Catherine also commissioned the neoclassical Alexander Palace for her favorite grandson, the future Alexander I; this later became home to the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family until their exile to Siberia. The palace is a glorious showcase for Russian art and craftsmanship in a huge variety of materials and techniques, from the mirrors and lavish gilding of the Great Hall to the blood-red beauty of the Agate Rooms, their walls lined with Siberian jasper. Tsarskoye Selo is not only a piece of art history but a living testimony to the tastes and private passions of the Romanov family. Their clothes and porcelain, their desks and bookshelves build an intimate and involving portrait of life in imperial Russia.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In 1708, Peter the Great gave his wife, the future Empress Catherine I, a country estate 15 miles south of St. Petersburg. Over decades and then centuries, this relatively modest royal residence became first a summer retreat of uncommon splendor, and then a thriving "Tsar's Village" for aristocrats, artists, academicians and their students. Emmanuel Ducamp's The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs pays tribute to this World Heritage Site with an apt elegance, combining color photographs of its magnificent exteriors and rooms with detailed descriptions of its unique craftsmanship and storied history.

Publishers Weekly
Russia's massive Tsarskoye Selo—a summer residence for Russian czars that was a gift from Peter the Great to his wife, Catherine—gets the royal treatment in this voluminous study. Readers will certainly appreciate Russian historian Ducamp's meticulous efforts, as well as essays from experts on the stonework, furnishings, textiles, and the like, but it's Walter's rich photographs that will hold the greatest and most lasting appeal for fans of Russian art and architecture. Closeups of sleeping marble cherubs, stucco details, and highly intricate parquet floors, not to mention the countless portraits of the site's magnificent Neoclassical interiors, combine with majestic shots of the Greek columns lining the Cameron Gallery, and snow-covered pavilions, to give the reader a true sense of place. Each of the book's images is accompanied by a detailed description of the intended use of the room, materials used, or its impact on its surroundings, giving context to the often overwhelming details. Painstakingly organized, this is a fitting tribute to one of the world's true architectural wonders. 336 illus., 298 in color. (Nov.)
New York Times
“A lustrous album of photographs by Marc Walter.... With wise and rapturous commentary....”
The Gilmore Guide to Books
“A breathtaking work perfectly balancing informative prose with photos that dazzle the eye”
Woman Around Town
“Even in our age of conspicuous consumption, it’s hard to imagine the grandeur of The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500516478
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 11/5/2012
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 539,211
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Emmanuel Ducamp is head of the Association Paris-Saint-Peterbourg, and has written extensively on Russian decorative arts and the Romanovs. He lives in France.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2013

    Good Book but kind of Pricey

    The Summer Places of the Romanovs is a very nice book, well done. Good authors providing the coverage. The clamshell box is very nice but the overall size of the book will keep some potential readers away. For this book I would recommend an eventual paperback printing of the book in a year or so, so this rarely covered topic has the chance to be experienced by more readers.

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    This book is both very beautiful and quite strange. It arrives,

    This book is both very beautiful and quite strange. It arrives, not in a slip case but in a tight fitting and quite deluxe lidded box. The photography is beautiful but in keeping with the "Treasures" in the title, 70 to 80% of the pictures are all closeups - like the embroidery on the part of the arm of a chair , but with no photo of the whole chair. Or photos of a small section of a room w/o an establishing shot of the whole room, On a positive note, the photography is beautiful and there are a number of historical photos that may not have been published before...

    The strange part about this book is that while I've been in this palace twice and am quite familiar with it, this book gives you no real feeling for the building or the rooms or the area where the palace is located... Tsarskoye Selo comes across in this book as a wonderful museum but not a place where people - even Romanovs - ever lived.

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