The Collection of Court Carriages at Tsarskoye Selo is one of the most considerable and interesting in Russia. Part of its thirty five Russian Imperial Court carriages of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as carriage accessories, came from the Court Stables Museum of St Petersburg disbanded in the late 1920s. A permanent exhibition of the court carriages has been opened in the former Duty Stables building near the Catherine Palace.
The core of the collection is formed by the items used during the imperial court’s most magnificent celebrations. Their highest technical and artistic level of execution demonstrated the power and might of the state. The coronation coaches of Empress Catherine II and Emperor Alexander II are regarded as true masterpieces of the art of carriage-building. A variety of conveyances on the display, such as coaches, phaetons, cabriolets and sledges, used for town and countryside rides and for entertainment of tsar’s children, have a unique historical and memorial value and are very rare in museum collections.
This three-chapter album is the first publication of the Tsarskoye Selo carriage collection. The first chapter is devoted to the history of carriage-building since the invention of wheel in the fourth century B.C., the second to the history of Russia’s Court Stables Office with the biographies of all its high-ranking officials, while the third chapter catalogues the court carriage collection of Tsarskoye Selo.
This publication is intended for all interested in the history of carriage-building in Western Europe and Russia – a bygone branch of applied decorative art that can tell us a lot about the lives, tastes and ideals of crowned heads.