Samovar and Basin

6 Mar — 31 Dec 2017 at The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Samovar and Basin. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum
Samovar and Basin. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum
9 MAY 2017

For the 100th anniversary of the revolution in 2017, the Hermitage has prepared a major project under the general title “The Storming of the Winter Palace”.

A distinctive feature of this project is to be the quest-exhibition – “pinpoint” displays that will open in various places around the museum over the course of the year. All the displays of the quest-exhibition will be marked with a special logo.

On display in the Fore Hall of the Winter Palace from 6 March 2017 are a samovar and a basin bearing the monograms of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her son, Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolayevich, both made by Carl Fabergé’s firm. The outbreak of the First World War cut back production, but the firm adapted its workshops to the needs of wartime and began to manufacture items intended for the front – copper and brass field samovars and kettles, saucepans and washstands, lighters and spirits cups, medical syringes and containers in which they could be sterilized, grenades and cartridge cases.

The samovar and basin were intended for the Military Hospital named after Tsesarevich Alexei that was opened in the Winter Palace in 1915 and continued to function until 27 October 1917. The large surgical hospital for lower ranks with 1000 beds was organized by resolution of Emperor Nicholas II and occupied all the state rooms of the Winter Palace apart from the St George Hall. The soldiers’ hospital in the palace was unlike any other. It was housed in the chief imperial residence, was furnished with the latest equipment for the time and used the most advanced methods of treatment. Highly qualified medical personnel were selected to work in the hospital.

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and her older daughters, Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, served as nurses in the hospital. They assisted during operations, conducted charitable activities and helped the wounded.

From 25 October 2017, the Fore Hall will contain part of the exhibition “The Winter Palace and Hermitage in 1917” devoted to the history of the Military Hospital named after Tsesarevich Alexei.

The pinpoint exhibition has been opened in memory of the doctors and nurses of the hospital in the Winter Palace who continued to work right up until October 1917. The display has been prepared by the State Hermitage’s Department of Western European Applied Art. The curator is Marina Nikolayevna Lopato, Doctor of Art Studies, head of the Sector of Artistic Metal and Stone.