Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace - History - 19th Century

19th Century

Upon the reconstruction and opening of their famous palace to the public, the Belosselsky-Belozersky Palace gained a reputation as being one of the most lavish palaces in Russia and also as being the venue of the most lavish balls and concerts in St. Petersburg. Elena Pavlovna also gained the reputation as the best hostess in St Petersburg - a role which would later be taken on by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a daughter-in-law of Alexander II of Russia.

The present palace is said to look similar to the nearby Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace which is further up the Nevsky Prospect, on the corner of Moika canal. David Jensen was asked to produce a replica of it. After their major renovations in 1847-48, the palace — complete with piano nobile, concert hall, Van Loo paintings, and palace church — acquired a dazzling Rococo appearance.

When the son of Princess Elena Pavlovna, Prince Konstantin Esperovitch Belosselsky-Belozersky gained his majority he inherited the palace and lived there with his wife (née Nadezhda Dimitrievna Skobeleva) and their many children. More often living at their estate on Krestovsky Island (Krestovsky Ostrov), where they had renovated a grand manorial home to a small palace and where they could enjoy country living inside of St. Petersburg and as the vast Belosselsky-Belozersky Palace was a huge drain on the family resources, they decided to sell their Nevsky Prospect palace.

The palace was put up for sale around the time of the engagement of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia to Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and the Rhine in 1883. The couple, who needed a suitable residence in the city, found the building and it was made their principal residence after its purchase by Sergei Alexandrovich. It was he who gave the palace its present red exterior.

Under the ownership of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the palace had yet another extensive remodelling and the interior was redone. The redecorating included adding a vast library and a Slavic revival chapel. The couple never had children of their own, but their Il’yinskoye estate was usually filled with parties that Elizabeth organized especially for children. They eventually became the foster parents of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Sergei’s niece and nephew through his younger brother.

Read more about this topic:  Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, History

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