Branches:
Vasily Surikov. 175th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth
The State Russian Museum

Vasily Surikov. 175th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

1 December 2023—10 June 2024

The exhibition presents over 120 paintings and graphic works by Surikov from the museums in St Petersburg, Moscow and Krasnoyarsk, including th...

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Drawings and Watercolours by the Wanderers
St Michael’s Castle

Drawings and Watercolours by the Wanderers

21 March—8 July 2024

The exhibition presents graphic works created by the founders of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions, as well as by artists of the younger generation...

Master of Painting. 325th Anniversary of Ivan Vishnyakov’s Birth
St Michael’s Castle

Master of Painting. 325th Anniversary of Ivan Vishnyakov’s Birth

26 April—1 July 2024

Ivan Vishnyakov is one of the leading artist of the 18th century, portraitist, mural painter, restorer and teacher. However, not much ...

Olga Rozanova (1886–1918): An Art Revolutionary
Marble Palace

Olga Rozanova (1886–1918): An Art Revolutionary

16 May—2 September 2024

Olga Rozanova's retrospective exhibition at the Russian Museum comprises art works from different collections. It will feature about 50 paintings ...

Still Lifes of the 1920s and 1930s
Benois Wing

Still Lifes of the 1920s and 1930s

22 May—30 July 2024

The exhibition Still Lifes of the 1920s and 1930s introduces the viewers to little-known artists, including Vladimir Avlas, Vladimir Grinberg, Anatoly Gusyatinsky...

“He Conquered Both Time and Space...” 225th Anniversary of Alexander Pushkin’s Birth
Stroganov Palace

“He Conquered Both Time and Space...” 225th Anniversary of Alexander Pushkin’s Birth

7 June—9 December 2024

This is the first ever large-scale exhibition held in the Russian Museum to address the genius of Russian and wor...


Opening hours
Marble Palace

Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Mikhailovsky Palace, Benois Wing are open until 8:p.m.
Tuesday The Museum is closed
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Ticket offices close 30 minutes earlier

Getting here

5/1 Millionnaya Str., St. Petersburg

Metro - Nevsky Prospekt

History

The Marble Palace, a unique monument of 18th-century architecture, is situated on the Palace Embankment of the Neva River in the historical center of St Petersburg. It was designed by Italian architect Antonio Rinaldi (1709–1794) in 1768–1785. The palace was commissioned by Empress Catherine the Great as a present for General-Feldzeugmeister Count Grigory Orlov (1734–1783).

Grigory Orlov did not live to see the palace completed, and Catherine the Great purchased it from his heirs – the Orlov brothers – and presented it to her second grandson Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich (1779–1831) on the occasion of his wedding which was held in 1796. After Constantine’s death, Emperor Nicholas I bestowed the palace to his second son Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich (1827–1892).

In 1844–1849, the Marble Palace and its Service House were reconstructed according to the design of architect Alexander Brullov (1798–1877) on the occasion of the new palace owner’s wedding. The main changes affected the second floor, where a new planning structure was created, and the state and private interiors received a new artistic finishing. The Winter Garden was created in place of the hanging garden that was designed in the 18th century.

In 1892, Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich (1858–1915), the son of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich, inherited the palace. He occupied the rooms on the first floor facing Millionnaya Street. The artistic decoration of these rooms has been partially preserved to this day. At present, the premises are occupied with a memorial exhibition dedicated to Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich, an accomplished poet of the Silver Age who published his own verses under the cryptonym K.R.

Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich’s sons who inherited the Marble Palace and the Service House after his death, were forced to sell the complex of buildings to the state because of the lack of funds to maintain it. These events took place in autumn 1917, when the Provisional Government was already in power in Russia and the Palace housed the Ministry of Labour.

From 1919 to 1936, the Marble Palace housed the State Academy of the History of Material Culture. This period in the history of the palace is characterised by the spontaneous adaptation of the state and private rooms of the building for the needs of a large research institution. A systematic restoration of the palace facades and railing began during that period.

In 1936, the city government decided to place the Leningrad branch of the Central Lenin Museum in the Marble Palace. Nikolai Lanceray (1879–1942) headed the reconstruction of the palace and the creation of museum space. On 7 November 1937, a branch of the Central Lenin Museum was opened in the halls of the Marble Palace. The museum created over an extremely short period of time was one of the first examples of a truly professional rethinking of an architectural monument in its new quality that met the requirements of the time.

A new stage in the life of the Marble Palace began in December 1991, when the city administration awarded the palace to the State Russian Museum. A new concept for the use of the Marble Palace was developed – “Russian art in the context of world art”. Work began on the systematic study and scientific restoration of this unique monument of architecture, including the décor, original planning and volumes of the premises.

The Marble Palace also houses the permanent exhibition of the Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum, a collection of German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig, who donated their collection to the Russian Museum. The collection includes works by Russian and foreign artists of the second half of the 20th century.

The permanent exhibitions in the constantly renovated and restored rooms of the Marble Palace reflect the role and place of Russian art in the wider context of world art. The comprehension of this role enables to better understand the peculiarities of national traditions and the originality of Russian masters, as well as to appreciate the traditional European roots.

Architecture and Interiors

The Marble Palace is a unique monument of Russian architecture of the second half of the 18th century. Along with the Winter Palace, the Marble Palace is the main attraction in the panorama of the Palace Embankment of the Neva River. It is one of the few examples of early Classicism architecture in St Petersburg. The palace is a unique example of the use of natural stone in the interior decoration of a building in the history of Russian architecture; its facades are of major artistic value and have survived with few exceptions in their original state.

The general composition of the facades consists in facing the first floor with dark red granite as a basis for a large order of the second and third floors of the building, faced with light grey granite.

The Corinthian order pilasters and three-quarter columns made of pink Tivdia marble unite the second and third floors. White marble bases and capitals of the columns rhythmically alternate with windows. The window cases are made of grey Ruskeala marble. White marble relief garlands are placed between the windows of the second and third floors.

The northern and southern facades of the palace face respectively the Neva Embankment and the Field of Mars and are designed to be seen from a great distance. They have clearly defined central axes of symmetry with balcony doors enclosed in niches with semi-circular endings and crowned with a cartouche on the attic. The balcony barriers are made of marble with gilded bronze balusters. Vases of grey dolomite adorn the attic of the building along the entire perimeter of the exterior facades.

A forged railing with gilded decorative elements is set on the red granite base between the palace and the Service House. Granite pillars of the fence are topped with marble vases, and marble military accessories decorate the entrance gate on both sides.

The main eastern facade of the palace facing the ceremonial courtyard – cour d’honneur – has rich sculptural decoration. It is crowned by a clock pavilion decorated with marble vases, which houses the palace chimes recreated by the Russian Museum in 1999. Two marble allegorical statues Generosity and Fidelity by Fedot Shubin adorn the pavilion.

Paolo Troubetzkoy’s equestrian statue of Emperor Alexander III has been exhibited in front of the main entrance to the Marble Palace since 1994. It has been part of the Russian Museum collection since 1939; from 1909 to 1937 it was erected on Znamenskaya Square (now Vosstaniya Square) in front of the Moscow Railway Station. This work is an outstanding monument of Russian monumental sculpture of the early 20th century.

Entering the Marble Palace, we see the Main Staircase – a unique interior in the history of 18th-century Russian architecture, which has preserved its original decoration almost unchanged. The staircase is decorated with varieties of coloured marble. In recognition of the architect’s merits the first owner of the palace Count Grigory Orlov commissioned a marble relief with the portrait of Antonio Rinaldi, which was installed in a niche inside the palace’s foyer. The authorship of the portrait has not been identified up to date.

The main artistic decoration of the Main Staircase are sculptures created of Italian marble and installed in the niches, as well as relief compositions on the walls of the third floor and molded décor of the ceiling.

The sculptures of the Main Staircase of the Marble Palace are the only surviving allegorical ensemble of the 18th century in St Petersburg. Four marble statues embodying the times of day occupy niches, decorated with marble shells, between the first and the second floors. Night, a female figure with traditional attributes (an owl) was created by an unknown master. Morning is a female figure in the form of Aurora, the goddess of the morning dawn. Her attributes are a solar disc at her feet and a garland of roses in her hands. Noon is a female figure with characteristic attributes: an arrow – a symbol of the sun rays – a sundial showing noon and zodiac signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), which remind us of the invariability of this phenomenon over the course of the year. Evening is a female figure in the image of the goddess of the hunt Diana going hunting at dusk. Her attributes are a bow and quiver with arrows. These three statues were sculptured by Fedot Shubin.

Stone-framed rectangular niches on the landing leading to the third floor contain sculptural allegories for the changes of seasons. Vernal Equinox represents a female figure with a garland of flowers in her hands; a ram’s head lies at her feet – the zodiac sign of Aries, which the sun enters the day after the vernal equinox. Autumnal Equinox is a male figure with a bunch of ripe grapes in his hand.

A stone terrace on the third floor looks onto a series of molded high-relief compositions: Cherubs at Play, in the center, surrounded by female figures embodying the four virtues of Moderation, Fortitude, Prudence and Equity. The whole composition of the staircase space is completed by a clock dial. In the 18th century, the tower chimes of the palace had two dials: the one on the façade and the second one was placed horizontally on the ceiling. At present, the stairwell is crowned by the plafond The Judgement of Paris painted by Joseph Krist for another of the palace’s rooms and relocated here in the mid-19th century.

The Marble Room is a true masterpiece of Russian architecture. The room’s walls have retained their unique 18th-century stone décor covering their entire surface from floor to ceiling. The walls of the hall are covered with various sorts of domestic and Italian marble. Originally the room had only one row of windows. After Alexander Brullov’s reconstruction it was increased to the third floor. Its space is illuminated by the windows of the second and third floors. The Corinthian order is used in the decoration of the walls. The pilasters are made of Tivdia marble with bronze gilded bases and capitals. They are supported by a plinth stretching along the perimeter of the walls, decorated with green Italian marble panels depicting relief draped vases.

The sculptural decoration of the Marble Room was created by outstanding Russian sculptors. 14 round bas-reliefs on the theme of sacrifices executed by sculptor Fedot Shubin in co-authorship with Italian sculptor Antonio Valli are placed along the perimeter of the walls.  Two dessus de portes above the doors are created by Fedot Shubin as well. Two bas-reliefs Regulus Returning to Carthage and Camillus Delivering Rome by Mikhail Kozlovsky adorn the western wall. The ceiling is decorated with the painted plafond The Wedding of Cupid and Psyche created by Stefano Torelli. A rare ornamental stone – lapis lazuli – is also used in the decoration of the room. The window frames and balcony doors were made of gilded bronze. The doors are adorned with inlay work. The parquet floor, made of various types of wood, has rare and complex design.

In 1844–1849, the Marble Palace was reconstructed by architect Alexander Brullov. Private and state interiors of the second floor were redecorated according to his designs. The interiors combined the variety of historical styles and materials used in their decoration.

Alexander Brullov was a representative of the Eclectic style, which extensively developed in the mid-19th century. It was reflected in his work on the decoration of the palace interiors. Reconstructing the Marble Room, the architect retained the original decoration of the first tier and, having dismantled the ceiling between the second and third floors, moved Stefano Torelli’s painted plafond The Wedding of Cupid and Psyche to the new ceiling and created a new pattern of gilded mouldings. Gilded bronze chandeliers with crystal decoration appeared at that time. The original inlaid door panels and parquet floor remained unaltered.

In 2001–2010, the Russian Museum carried out restoration and repairs to return the Marble Room the artistic decoration of the mid-19th century. The splendour of the interiors is complemented by 18th-century multi-coloured inlaid parquet floor with rare and complex pattern reconstructed according to the surviving drawings. Two marble fireplaces with mirrors in gilded carved frames we recreated on the basis of historical photographs.

The Main Reception Room, a centrepiece of the Neva enfilade, has preserved the authentic elements of historical decoration. Eight monolithic columns of polished Serdobol granite, mouldings of the vaulted ceiling and fragments of inlaid parquet floor adorn the room. In 2015, the reconstruction of the interior decoration was completed. Marble fireplaces and parquet floor of valuable wood species were recreated, the ceiling mouldings were cleaned and gilded anew, door panels were restored, and a bronze gilded chandelier was recreated. The doorways to the adjacent rooms were cleared.

In the western wing of the building, facing Marble Lane, there is the largest room in the palace – the White Room – a two-tiered hall created in the process of reconstruction carried out by Alexander Brullov. It received new molded ornamentation and its name – the White or Gothic Room – for the use of neo-Gothic elements in decoration. Brullov divided the room into three parts and placed pillars supporting the vaults, each surrounded by   bundles of thin “Gothic” columns transforming into fan vaults. Two marble columns topped by figures of Russian vityaz warriors adorn the doorway at the room’s southern wall on both sides. A marble fireplace with a mirror in a carved gilded frame is placed in the centre of the northern wall. This is the only original fireplace of the mid-19th century that has remained in its historical place in the Marble Palace up to date.

In 2002, complex restoration and reconstruction of the White Room was completed: figures of Russian vityaz warriors on the perimeter of the room, sculptural images of double-headed eagles and mouldings on the vaults were recreated. Windows in the eastern wall’s upper tier fill the room with soft light.  Chandeliers and candelabra were recreated from gilded bronze. The inlaid parquet floor was reconstructed.

Two doors at the White Room’s northern end lead to the Greek Gallery, where the artistic decoration has also been recreated: the walls are covered with artificial marble and the inlaid parquet floor has been reconstructed. The molded ornamentation of the ceiling has been restored and the bronze gilded chandeliers have been recreated.

The Winter Garden adjoins the Greek Gallery. Alexander Brullov built it on the terrace of the former Hanging Garden, which occupies the space of the second and third floors. The decorative arches of the vault rest on cast-iron columns and half-columns. The metal ceiling above the third floor is coffered. The windows of the third-floor rooms look down onto the garden, and the one on the eastern wall has a small balcony with an elegant wrought-iron railing. A marble three-basin fountain occupies the mosaic stone floor in the middle of the garden. The fountain, a large three-leaf glazed door and three arches connecting the garden with the Flower Garden and the third-floor balcony with a decorative railing were recreated in the Winter Garden. A marble fireplace with a mirror was recreated in the Flower Garden, and a doorway leading to the former library of the Neva Enfilade was opened.

Private rooms of Grand Duke Constantine Romanov on the first floor facing Millionnaya Street still exist today. The rooms were designed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and visibly reflect the aesthetic preferences of their owner. The study of the grand duke, decorated with mahogany panels, is designed in the Jacob style. The interior of the Music (Gothic) Room is entirely made of oak. Its decoration is stylised according to motifs borrowed from Gothic architecture. The Drawing Room is notable for its five-part painted plafond on the vaulted ceiling. The subjects of the plafond In the Service of Art painted by Ernest Liphart were suggested to the artist by the grand duke himself. This room adjoins the Marble Drawing Room. Its walls are covered in artificial marble. The interiors of the grand duke’s Library and Reception Room have been preserved and restored. These rooms present a memorial exhibition devoted to Grand Duke Constantine Romanov, a Silver Age poet who signed his works with the cryptonym K.R.

In 1994, an agreement was signed to establish the Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum. German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig donated works by 20th-century Russian and foreign artists from their collection to the museum. This donation marked the beginning of the development of the main concept of the Marble Palace: “Russian Art in the Context of World Art”. At present, the permanent exhibition “The Ludwig Museum” in the palace, presents works by artists whose work reflects the trends in the development of fine arts in the second half of the 20th century both in Russia and abroad.

In 1998, St Petersburg collectors Yakov Alexandrovich and Iosif Alexandrovich Rzhevsky bequeathed their collection to the State Russian Museum. A large part of the collection consists of easel paintings from the 18th to 20th centuries, including significant works by Ivan Aivazovsky, Yury Klever, Nikolai Dubovskoi, Ilya Mashkov, Pyotr Konchalovsky and Boris Kustodiev. A unique rarity is a clock collection that includes hearth clocks, grandfather clocks and travellers’ clocks executed by various masters from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. The clocks have unique mechanisms and chimes, play different melodies and also present interest for the decor of their cases and faces. The private collection also contains graphic art, sculpture, furniture, lighting fixtures and artistic bronze.

The Marble Palace is an integral part of the State Russian Museum and a masterpiece of Russian architecture of the 18th–19th centuries. Its cultural and historical significance is comparable to the collections held by the State Russian Museum.

Owners

Count Grigory Orlov (17341783), Prince (from 1772). He participated in the 1762 palace coup that brought Catherine the Great to power. He occupied the post of General-Feldzeugmeister (from 1765), Director General of the Cavalry Guard Corps, Adjutant General and Actual Chamberlain, Colonel of the Life Guard Horse Regiment and President of the Chancellery of Foreign Guardianships, in addition to his titles as a cavalier of various chivalric orders. He also occupied the post of Ober-Jaegermeister, responsible for the imperial hunt and the organization of fireworks displays. He remained in the service until his death. He died in Moscow.

Grigory Orlov participated in historical events and his services to the Fatherland were recognized by the empress by issuing a commemorative medal “For delivering of Moscow from the plague” and building a triumphal arch in Tsarskoye Selo. The Marble Palace was also built by the empress in recognition of his services, as the inscription over the building’s entrance, “Edifice of Gratitude”, tellingly revealed.

After Orlov’s death, Catherine the Great bought the Marble Palace from his brothers for 200,000 rubles, and separately purchased the collection of paintings and miniatures in the palace for the imperial collection.

In 1796, Catherine the Great gave the Marble Palace to her second grandson Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich. From 1797 to 1798, the palace became the official residence of King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski of Poland.

Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (17321798). King of Poland (1764–1795). He was invited to St Petersburg to participate in the “Debt Committee”, which distributed the debts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth among Russia, Prussia and Austria for the annexed lands and in lieu of the 1777 loan received against Russian guarantee. The king arrived in St Petersburg with a court numbering 160 people.

The king’s private apartments were on the second floor of the northeastern part of the palace, including the Marble Room. In February 1798, Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski died suddenly of an apoplectic stroke. A specially established “Sad Commission” prepared the burial of the monarch. The mourning ceremony was held in the Large Room, designed by Vincenzo Brenna.

Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich (17791831) was brought up together with his elder brother, the future Emperor Alexander I, and was fond of military sciences. He was a colonel, chief of the St Petersburg Grenadier Regiment, chief of the Izmailovo Life Guard Regiment, chief of cadet corps and Inspector General of Cavalry. He participated in Alexander Suvorov’s campaigns in Italy and Switzerland. He commanded the guard during the wars from 1805 to 1807. The grand duke participated in the military campaigns of 1809–1812. He commanded a guard corps in the battle of Austerlitz. From 1814, the troops in the Kingdom of Poland subordinated to him. From 1816, he was a Commander in Chief of the Polish Army and was permanently stationed in Warsaw. From 1818, he was a deputy of the Polish Sejm (from Praga, a district of Warsaw). From 1826, after the death of the Governor General of Poland, he actually fulfilled his duties. In 1831, fleeing from the uprising in Warsaw, he left for St Petersburg, died of cholera in Vitebsk and was buried in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In the course of decades, his courtiers lived in the palace on a permanent basis, together with their families. To handle this large population, the premises of the palace required reconstruction and repair. From 1803 to 1810, Andrei Voronikhin held the position of the grand duke’s court architect and all reconstruction was carried out under his direct supervision.

In 1832, after the death of its owner Constantine Pavlovich, Emperor Nicholas I bestowed the Marble Palace to his second son Constantine Nikolayevich by personal decree. The underage grand duke was still growing up in the bosom of the imperial family, and the palace would remain as before a residence for courtiers.

Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich (18271892) was a general admiral of the Navy and head of the Naval Department. He helped draft the famous Manifesto that freed the peasants from serfdom and carried out a number of significant reforms in the Russian Navy.

In 1848, Constantine Nikolayevich married Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, née Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. In December 1849, the young couple moved into the palace reconstructed by Alexander Brullov.

The decree of 20 December 1849 proclaimed: “The All-Merciful Sovereign Emperor is pleased to bestow as a gift the rebuilt Marble Palace with all its furnishings and the annex belonging to it to Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich for His Highness’ eternal and hereditary possession and has decreed this palace be named Konstantinovsky [Palace].”

Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich was musically talented, he played several instruments. He displayed a great interest in literature. Valuing Nikolai Gogol’s talent highly, he was instrumental in publishing the first posthumous collection of that author’s works. The Navy’s departmental journal Morskoi sbornik (Naval Collection) was the first to publish such authors as Vladimir Dal, Ivan Goncharov, Alexander Afanasyev, Alexander Ostrovsky and Dmitry Grigorovich.

Many writers and musicians visited the grand duke in the Marble Palace. The palace was famed for its concerts. Regular concert participants included Mily Balakirev, Anton Rubinstein and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Here, on 2 May 1856, Johann Strauss gave his first performance in Russia.

Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna (18301911; née Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg): wife of Constantine Nikolayevich. They had 6 children.

Alexandra Iosifovna was a vivid personality and among the outstanding women of her time. She was active in founding the Russian Red Cross and field hospital nursing service, as well as in the building of hospitals. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, she financed the organization of medical depots, the purchase of medicine, bandages and equipment for front-line field hospitals and even the formation of a special hospital train. For a quarter of a century, the grand duchess headed the St Petersburg Council of Children’s Shelters under the patronage of Empress Marie. The organization met frequently and made important philanthropic decisions in the grand duchess’ drawing room at the palace.

Alexandra Iosifovna was an active participant in the Imperial Russian Musical Society. Through her intercession, the St Petersburg Conservatory was deeded the building of the Imperial (Petersburg) Bolshoi Theatre in perpetuity, and Her Imperial Highness’ office also apportioned funds for the building’s reconstruction.

In 1892, after the death of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich, his son Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich inherited the Marble Palace.

Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich (1858–1915), best known today as the poet and translator who signed his works with the cryptonym K.R., was also president of the Russian Academy of Sciences (from 1889). His efforts brought about the founding of the Academy’s Department of Belles Lettres. He started his military service in the navy, later he was transferred to the army. In 1882, he was a company commander of the Izmailovo Life Guard Regiment, where he organised “Izmailovo Leisure”, a kind of theatrical, musical and literary association of officers. Various poets, including Apollon Maykov and Yakov Polonsky, read poems at the officers’ meetings.

The palace was a place for performing musical works and staging plays. The best production of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, translated by Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich took place in the Large Room of the Marble Palace, where the stage was made. The Grand Duke himself played the leading part. Members of the Imperial Family attended the performance.

The Grand Duke was head of the Russian military educational institutions and later its Inspector General. He did much to develop and improve the quality of military school education.   

In 1889, Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich became a trustee of the Two-Year Women’s Pedagogical Courses and favoured their reorganisation into a higher educational institution – the Women’s Pedagogical Institute.

The grand duke also patronized the Agricultural Courses organised in 1899, whose students were accommodated in the Service House of the Marble Palace. The courses were open for all interested persons of different classes from 10 to 18 years of age. 5,000 children attended the courses and the interest in them was so great that the number of those who wanted to attend them reached 14,000.

Grand Duke Constantine Konstantinovich married Grand Duchess Elisabeth Mavrikievna, née Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg in 1884. Nine children were born into their family.

Grand Duchess Elisabeth Mavrikievna (1865–1927; née Princess Elisabeth Auguste Marie Agnes of Saxe-Altenburg). Grand Duchess Elisabeth Mavrikievna turned her focus to charity and the creation of a large family.

The grand duchess took under her guardianship many of Empress Marie Feodorovna’s institutions in Pavlovsk. She was Patroness of the Society for the Care of Poor and Sick Children. Thanks to her endeavours the Society introduced consumer books in all major Russian cities in the early 1900s. The books listed companies that pledged to give discounts while selling goods for cash.

In 1906, succeeding Alexandra Iosifovna, she headed the Council of Children’s Shelters, becoming a trustee of the Alexander Children’s Shelter and the Society for Assistance to Poor Women of the City. Under her patronage, the first night shelter for homeless children and teenagers was established in St Petersburg, helping them to acquire a profession and find a job.

Grand Duchess Elisabeth Mavrikievna lived in the palace until 1918, and together with her young children and grandchildren left Russia. Her three sons, John, Constantine and Igor, were executed in 1918 in Alapayevsk.

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