The Painting Study
In 1781–83 “Her Highness’s Dressing-Room” that Neyelov had created for Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeyevna was divided by a wooden partition in accordance with a project by Charles Cameron to produce two small studies for Grand Duchess Maria Fiodorovna in the Catherine Palace. The first of them was intended as a place for her to paint and became known as the Painting Study; in the second the Grand Duchess fashioned models and carved ivory and it became the Sculpture Study.
The golden yellow tone and gilded ornament of the walls in the Painting Study and also the decoration of the doors have survived from the late eighteenth century. The groin vault, lunettes and frieze were painted anew during the restoration after the 1820 fire by the artist Dmitry Antonelli (1791–1842) working from sketches by Stasov.
The walls of the Painting Study bear the compositions Spring and Autumn by Pierre Charles Trémolière (1703–1739) and also medallions that once adorned the Dressing Room of Catherine II – bouquets of flowers by an unknown artist of the second half of the eighteenth century. The quilt-maple armchairs were made in Andrei Tur’s St Petersburg workshop to Stasov’s design and painted by the artist Giuseppe Bernasconi. On the table is a “miracle” lamp made of bronze and mother-of-pearl in the St Petersburg workshop of Wilhelm Degen in 1825 and presented to Dowager Empress Maria Fiodorovna in August that year by Emperor Alexander I.