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Charles Cameron

The Scottish architect Charles Cameron (1743–1812) went to Russia when antique art came into fashion. He was appointed court architect of Empress Catherine II who preferred the refined austerity of Classicism to a frivolous Baroque style. Before Russia, Cameron studied authentic classical artifacts in Europe and became known as expert in Roman thermae, the antique public baths of cultural significance. At Tsarskoye Selo, the architect built the Cold Baths, the Agate Rooms, the Hanging Garden, and the Cameron Gallery which still stands like an ode to the Enlightened Monarch. In the Catherine Palace he decorated the Arabesque and Lyons Drawing-Rooms, Chinese Hall, Silver and Blue Studies, Green Dining-Room, State Blue Drawing-Room, Bedchamber, and other apartments for the Empress and her heir, Paul I. Those interiors manifested Cameron’s passion for antique art. Each of the palatial halls or studies he designed boasts unique artistic features. Soon after the architect began to work, Catherine II assessed his interiors as splendid. She wrote, “Everyone hurries to come and see them, because nothing like that has been seen here.” Charles Cameron’s constructions in the Catherine and Alexander parks include the Pyramid, Chinese Village, Large Chinese and Dragon Bridges, and two Small Chinese Bridges.

Charles Cameron
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