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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Snapshot of the Tsarskoye Selo Palaces Risen from The Ashes
This book is most certainly a fitting tribute to the beauty of the Imperial Russian Palaces at Tsarskeyo Selo that are located just outside St. Petersburg. This recently published volume reveals in all its breathtaking glory the wonders of the legendary Catherine and Alexander palaces which would have to be one of the most outstanding palace complexes that have ever...
Published 19 months ago by Simon Davis

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an advocate-of-the-devil review
After all these glowing endorsements this book clearly needs an advocate-of-the-devil review.
This is indeed a posh art-book with its box, paper quality and wonderful photographs, but that is just one side of the coin.
Lets first describe its appearance: dimensions 217x305x40 mm (the dimensions given on the site are for the box) and the thickness is only 30 mm...
Published 17 months ago by Peter Wijnand


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Snapshot of the Tsarskoye Selo Palaces Risen from The Ashes, 14 Dec 2012
By 
Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
This book is most certainly a fitting tribute to the beauty of the Imperial Russian Palaces at Tsarskeyo Selo that are located just outside St. Petersburg. This recently published volume reveals in all its breathtaking glory the wonders of the legendary Catherine and Alexander palaces which would have to be one of the most outstanding palace complexes that have ever existed in Russia or elsewhere. Considering the extent of the senseless devastation that the invading Nazi's inflicted on these beautiful Palaces and their surrounds during World War Two it is simply amazing how much did survive that carnage and which was able to be restored. There have been a number of books published in the past that detail the interiors of the Catherine Palace in particular but this current exquisite book titled "The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo" truly puts them into the background. I feel strongly that with the huge amount of restoration that has taken place since the fall of communism to the badly damaged palaces and their surrounds it was definately time for this new book. Also with the large number of original pieces of furniture, chandelairs, paintings and porcelain that have happily returned to their original and rightful home in the last few years this book is a fitting tribute to the Russians resolve to restore their historic palaces to as close to their pre World War Two appearance as possible.

In every department this new book captures the beauty of Tsarkeyo Selo and makes you feel like you are right there as you turn each page. I could only describe the book as a visual feast for the eyes detailing all the beautifully restored rooms often accompanied by an original black and white photo of the interior as they looked back in the 1930's. The book has a very easy to follow format with a history of the site right back to Peter The Great and the humble little country house that was a gift to his wife, the future Empress Catherine I. It moves on through the huge building programs of the Empress Elizabeth, the extensive interior redecoration of many of the rooms under Catherine the Great right through to the rearrangement of rooms up to the revolution. The actual text is informative if fairly brief but still does go into a lot of detail about the history of the buildings and the magnificent works of art preserved in the palaces that have by some miracle survivied revolution, the destructive influence of the communist regime, and a devastating world war to dazzle and amaze readers. The colour illustrations of these objects whether they be of carved gilt furniture, ormolu clocks, rare porcelain, exotic wood floor inlays and tapestries as well as stunning outside vistas of the park and its pavilions are simply breathtaking and make this volumn essential for any lover of Russian decorative arts and building design like myself. The book does have a few disappointing omissions such as the recently restored Feodorovsky Cathedral in the Alexander Palace Park which was constructed just prior to the Russian Revolution as the private church of Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra. Restored to its original appearance after decades of neglect and abuse, its inclusion would have been a major plus for any lover of the Romanovs and the church is actually the final chapter in construction at Tsarskeyo Selo just before the revolution. Happily even since this books publication more of the original pieces of furniture and works of art have returned to Tsarskeyo Selo and more restoration of other rooms, for example the Lyon Drawing Room in the Catherine Palace and the amazing Agate rooms of Catherine the Great are now underway to dazzle us in future years but sadly not in this book. Many of the interesting garden pavilions dotted around the parks are however happily included in the book and the inclusion of pre World War II photos along side photos of these buildings today make highly fascinating viewing. The first class modern photography of these constructions such as the Hermitage and the Chinese Village reveal the amazing work done to restore these buildings to their former beauty after the severe damage inflicted on them during World War II.

The book itself is rectangle in shape and comes in a very handsome case that it neatly fits into which will be useful in keeping the edges of the bookcover clean and uncreased. The case has a cover design imitating some of the rare jasper stonework which is the main decoration in the Agate Rooms and is a most suitable prelude to all the beauties that unfold once the book is taken out and opened. The sheer magnificence of what is included in the book however makes me lament the amount of works of art and incredible interiors such as the rooms of Catherine the Great's private apartment that are sadly lost forever and cannot be restored. What is included of course will be a joy to any lover of Russian art and architecture and I highly recommend this stunning book which has become a treasured part of my Russian history /art library.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 12 Dec 2012
By 
Dr. R. J. Ligthelm (Rotterdam, ZH Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
Absolutely stunning book. One of the most beautiful produced books on this kind of subject that has fallen into my hands over the last few years. Perhaps the text does not offer a lot of news for fans of the Russian Palaces but the photographs are excellent, and for someone who is not very knowledgable on the subject, but would like to know more this is the book the buy on the subject. Worth every penny !
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an advocate-of-the-devil review, 27 Feb 2013
By 
Peter Wijnand (Weesp, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
After all these glowing endorsements this book clearly needs an advocate-of-the-devil review.
This is indeed a posh art-book with its box, paper quality and wonderful photographs, but that is just one side of the coin.
Lets first describe its appearance: dimensions 217x305x40 mm (the dimensions given on the site are for the box) and the thickness is only 30 mm if you don't count the cover.
The book is rather small for a first tier art-book and I surely would have liked it to be somewhat larger.
The rectangular size is also somewhat awkward, the only regular way you can fit it in a normal bookcase is when it's contained in the box.
The contents: the description of the palace(s) start at page 39 (after the foreword, preface and introduction) with "Palaces, Parks and Pavilions", page 85 Interiors, 137 Stucco, Scagliola (a plastering technique) and Painted Decoration, 163 Marble and Coloured Stone, 191 Textiles and Costumes, 221 Carved Wood and Marquetry (decorative veneering), 249 Decorative Metal, 287 Porcelain and Pottery, 311 Coloured Glass and Crystal, 331 Amber and Exotic Materials up to page 356.
All chapters start with a few pages of text adorned with small photographs, followed by full page photo's, mostly in glorious colour but some are in black-and-white from the tsarist period, or at least before WW2.
Somewhere near the end of every 10 to 12 pages you get a text-page telling you what all the photographs were all about, so you have to flick forward through the book to make any sense of it.
A lot of the times you get to see a full page close-up of an object and you have no idea where to place it (occasionally there is a larger view of the room or sometimes only a small overview picture) and the explanatory text elsewhere is of little help, telling you only what kind of object it is, but not where it is to be found in the palace or when they do tell you, you are non the wiser because you haven't got a clou where the "antechamber in the great palace" is.
A larger size would therefore have come in handy to get the text to go with the picture on one page and to give some more information. And I would have liked the see less close-ups and more views of the rooms themselves, but that is just me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful souvenir of a memorable visit to St Petersburg, 24 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
I bought this as a gift. It is a fantastic bit of book production at a great price. Superb photographs & well written. Simply stunning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book., 1 Mar 2013
By 
Alan Jones (Melbourne.Australia.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
This edition is beautifully presented in a magnificent box/ The photographs are superb and very detailed. I'd have liked a few more coloured photo's of entire rooms but that is a minor complaint. It is worth every penny,
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5.0 out of 5 stars The summer palaces of the Romanovs, 23 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Summer Palaces of the Romanovs: Treasures from Tsarskoye Selo (Hardcover)
Beautifully photographed a book to treasure. I bought this because on arrival at St Petersaberg I had a bad accident to my knee and was therefore unable to visit the Summer Palaces. A big disappointment and this went some way towards showing me what I had missed!
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