Catherine the Great’s Rated Furniture: A Look at the Queen’s Taste and Style
Catherine the Great, or Catherine II, was the longest-reigning female ruler of Russia, from 1762 until her death in 1796. Beyond her political prowess and contributions to the country, she was also known for her love of art, culture, and luxury. One of the areas where her taste and style could be seen was in the furniture she commissioned and collected.
During her reign, Catherine the Great was an avid collector and patron of the arts. She went on a series of grand tours throughout Europe, where she acquired many works of art and antiquities. She even had a dedicated room in her Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, known as the “cameo room,” where she displayed her collection of ancient cameos and other treasures.
But beyond the decorative items that adorned her palaces and residences, Catherine the Great also had a penchant for furniture. From French Rococo styles to neo-classical designs, she had a diverse and discerning taste when it came to interiors.
So, what were some of Catherine the Great’s favorite furniture pieces and styles? And what can we learn from her about decorating with luxury and elegance? In this article, we’ll explore Catherine’s furniture preferences and provide insights into her design philosophy.
French Rococo Influence
One of the key design styles that Catherine the Great favored was French Rococo. This ornate and whimsical style originated in France during the early 18th century and quickly spread throughout Europe. Rococo designs are characterized by delicate curving lines, asymmetrical shapes, and intricate details such as floral motifs and shell patterns.
Catherine was particularly inspired by the Rococo style because it emphasized grace, playfulness, and beauty. Her collection of Rococo furniture included pieces such as armchairs, sofas, and consoles, which were often crafted in giltwood and upholstered in luxurious fabrics like silk and brocade.
One of Catherine’s most famous Rococo pieces is the Peacock Clock, which was created by the English clockmaker James Cox. This clock, which is now housed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, features a miniature peacock that emerges from a blossoming magnolia tree every hour. The clock is surrounded by other Rococo elements, such as seashells, flowers, and scrolling foliage.
Despite her love of Rococo styles, Catherine the Great was also drawn to the more classical and austere designs of the neo-classical era. This movement emerged in the late 18th century and emphasized straight lines, symmetrical shapes, and an interest in Greek and Roman art and architecture.
Catherine’s interest in neo-classicism was likely influenced by her travels throughout Europe, where she encountered many classical buildings and artifacts. In her own palaces and residences, she incorporated neo-classical elements such as fluted columns, pediments, and urns.
One of Catherine’s most notable neo-classical pieces is the Chesme Cabinet, which was created by the Russian cabinetmaker Johann Franz Dunker. This cabinet, which is also housed in the Hermitage Museum, features a series of relief panels that depict the Battle of Chesme, a naval conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The cabinet is also adorned with architectural elements such as columns and urns.
Eclectic and Exotic Pieces
In addition to her French Rococo and neo-classical pieces, Catherine the Great also had a fondness for eclectic and exotic furniture. This could include pieces from different cultures and time periods, as well as objects that emphasized luxury and rarity.
One of Catherine’s most unique pieces is the Amber Room, which was created in the 18th century by German craftsmen Andreas Schlüter and Gottfried Wolfram. This room, which was originally installed in the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, is decorated entirely in amber panels, mirrors, and gilded moldings. It is considered one of the world’s greatest lost treasures, as it was eventually dismantled and lost during World War II.
Another exotic piece in Catherine’s collection is the Japanese Cabinet, which may have been created in China for the Japanese market. This cabinet features a series of lacquered panels that depict scenes from Chinese literature, as well as gilt-metal mounts and designs in the chinoiserie style.
What is Catherine the Great known for?
Catherine the Great was known for being the longest-reigning female ruler of Russia, from 1762 until her death in 1796. She was also known for her love of art, culture, and luxury, as well as her vast collection of important works of art and antiquities.
What furniture styles did Catherine the Great favor?
Catherine the Great favored French Rococo and neo-classical styles, as well as eclectic and exotic pieces from different cultures and time periods.
What are some of Catherine the Great’s most famous furniture pieces?
Some of Catherine the Great’s most famous furniture pieces include the Peacock Clock, the Chesme Cabinet, and the Amber Room.
What can we learn from Catherine the Great’s furniture preferences?
We can learn from Catherine the Great’s furniture preferences that a diverse and discerning taste can help create a rich and layered interior. By combining different styles, cultures, and objects, we can create an eclectic and unique space that reflects our individual tastes and personalities.
Where can we see some of Catherine the Great’s furniture?
Many of Catherine the Great’s furniture pieces are housed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Other pieces may be found in other museums and collections around the world.
What is the Amber Room?
The Amber Room is a unique room in the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia, that is decorated entirely in amber panels, mirrors, and gilded moldings. It is considered one of the world’s greatest lost treasures, as it was eventually dismantled and lost during World War II.
Catherine the Great’s love of art and design was evident in her vast collection of furniture, works of art, and antiquities. From French Rococo to neo-classical styles, her furniture preferences reflected her diverse and discerning taste. By incorporating different styles, cultures, and objects, we can create an eclectic and unique interior that celebrates individuality and personal style.