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“The Inside Story” of Decorative Arts: The Alexander Palace

14 January, 2025 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo). Alexander Palace: interior, Maple Room (by architect Roman Mel'tser, 1902)
View in tinted lantern slide, ca. 1931. The palace, by architect Giacomo Quarenghi, was built 1792-1796. Parts were remodeled in the Jugendstil style by Roman Mel'tser, ca. 1902.

It is an honour to welcome Cynthia Coleman Sparke to introduce us to the interiors of the favourite home of the last czar and czarina – Alexander Palace. As a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, the last Empress of Russia was deeply influenced by English taste, a preference she chose to express in the royal retreat at Tsarskoe Selo, far from the formal court in St. Petersburg. We will learn about the interior styles prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th century through period photographs and archival documents that examine the family’s suite of rooms where so much history unfolded.

Our lecturer, having grown up in a family of Russian art collectors while living on and off in Moscow and St. Petersburg, is an authority on Fabergé and Russian objets d’art. With her master’s thesis on the restoration of Alexander Palace, she is intimately acquainted with our lecture topic. Formerly the head of the Russian department at Christie’s NY followed by work with the famed Fabergé and imperial porcelain holdings at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, DC., Cynthia is now an independent consultant, insurance valuer, lecturer and author.


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