|0077 Lomonosov - The Chinese Palace|
Oranienbaum (orange tree in German of that era), named Lomonosov since 1948, is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 40km west of Saint Petersburg, and is the site of an 18th-century park and palace complex. In 1707, four years after he founded Saint Petersburg, Peter the Great gave the grounds near the seaside to his right-hand man, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, who commissioned the architects Giovanni Maria Fontana and Gottfried Schädel to built the Grand Menshikov Palace from 1710 to 1727.
The central part of the Palace is connected by two galleries with the two domed Japanese and Church Pavilions. The Lower Garden and the Upper Garden were laid out at the same time. Menshikov was deposed shortly after Peter's death, and the palace passed out of his family. In 1743, Oranienbaum became the summer residence of Grand Duke Peter Fedorovitch, the heir of Empress Elizabeth (the future Emperor Peter III). Over the last ten years of Elizabeth's reign, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli reconstructed the Grand Palace.
The Chinese Palace (built between 1762 and 1768) is part, along with Katalnaya Gorka (roller coaster) Pavilion (1762-1774), a cupola pavilion, and the Gates of Honor, of the complex built by Italian architect Antonio Rinaldi on the order of the Empress Catherine II, that she called it "My Own Countryside House". In the end it proved a dream unfulfilled, because in fact the Empress spent only 48 days there during the 34 years of her reign. Be noted that ambitious Prussian woman ordered the construction exactly in the year which she ascended the throne, after she murdered Peter III.
In fact the Chinese Palace isn't quite chinese, as seen and in the picture, because the style is in essence Baroque, with some Classicist elements and a few Chinese motifs. From the outside, the palace is a relatively simple building, single-storey except the small central pavilion, painted in a mellow combination of ochre and yellow. Instead the seventeen rooms inside are splendid examples of Rococo, richly decorated by Rinaldi and other leading artists and craftsmen of the day, and featuring pink, blue and green scagliola, painted silks, and intricate stucco work.
Palace and Park Ensembles of the Town of Lomonosov and its Historical Centre is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, about which I wrote here.
About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of the fifth series of definitive stamps of the Russian Federation, designed by A. Drobyshev, and issued on August 29, 2008.
• Hare (0.10 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0088
• Hare (0.15 RUB) - It's on the postcard 1001
• Hare (0.25 RUB) - It's on the postcard 1001
• Fox (0.30 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0933
• Fox (0.50 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0077
• Fox (1.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0385
• Lynx (1.50 RUB) - It's on the postcard 2634
• Lynx (2.00 RUB)
• Lynx (2.50 RUB) - It's on the postcard 1428
• Moose (3.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0187
• Moose (4.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0205
• Moose (5.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0077
• Bear (6.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0385
• Bear (10.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 0385
• Bear (25.00 RUB) - It's on the postcard 1774
The last stamp, designed by A. Povarihin, was issued on October 14, 2011, to mark the 300th Anniversary of Plant Arsenal. Arsenal was opened in 1711 by Peter I as Cannon Foundries. The stamp depicts a cannon, Shuvalov Unicorn and the panorama of the fortress in the background.
Sender: Elena / julyfly (postcrossing) RU-655140
Sent from Saint Petersburg (Russia), on 22.11.2011
Photo: Ivan Fedorov