The Historic Interiors
The rooms on the ground floor of the right (east) wing of the Alexander Palace were originally intended for members of the imperial retinue. In the nineteenth century they were used as spare rooms for the temporary accommodation of the imperial family. They were often occupied by Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and his wife Alexandra Iosifovna. In 1870 the Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna stayed in the east wing.
Reconstruction work in 1896–98 turned the former retinue accommodation into private apartments for Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fiodorovna. The left-hand suite contained the Bedroom, the Lilac Study and the Empress’s Palisander Drawing-Room; the right-hand suite the Dining-Room (later Nicholas II’s Reception Room), the Working Study, the Emperor’s Dressing-Room and other service rooms.
In 1903 Quarenghi’s Concert Hall that had occupied the full width of the east wing disappeared. The architect Silvio Danini of the Tsarskoye Selo Office suggested several ways of converting this part of the building to provide private and state rooms for the imperial family. One of his projects, from 1901, envisaged the preservation of the Concert Hall, but in the course of work carried out in 1903–06 by the firm of Friedrich Melzer to plans by his brother Robert Melzer the Concert Hall was destroyed and replaced on the ground floor by Alexandra Fiodorovna’s Maple Drawing-Room and the State (New) Study of Emperor Nicholas II, on the first floor by rooms of the Nursery. The corridor that separated the private apartments of the Emperor and Empress was extended as far as the Corner Drawing-Room.
At the present time in three of the ten private rooms belonging to the last crowned owners of the palace visitors can see the partially preserved interior decoration and the incompletely recreated furnishings.