A magnificent hoard of Imperial Tsarist treasure, belonging to the noble Naryshkin family, has been discovered hidden in a St Petersburg mansion.
The beautiful 18th century Trubetskoi-Naryshkin mansion was once home to the illustrious Naryshkin family, whose members included the mother of Peter the Great. The family were forced to flee when the Bolsheviks came to power after the October Revolution of 1917. Countless treasures, including antique cabinets, open bookcases and fine artworks, had to be left behind, being moved to the St Petersburg State Hermitage Museum in 1920. However, the State didn’t get everything.
Before they fled, the Naryshkins managed to secrete over 1,000 priceless objects, including silver sets, jewellery, enamel, pearl-handled flatware and medals, in a secret compartment between the second and third floors of the building. They went to great lengths to ensure the pieces would be well preserved, wrapping them in vinegar-soaked cloths before binding them in newspaper. As a result, they remained in excellent condition.
The mansion itself has a rich and fascinating history, dating back to the 17th century. Following the Bolshevik revolution, the first floor became a stolovaya, or workers’ restaurant. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the mansion was converted to apartments, before restoration work began to turn it into offices and a cultural centre in 1999. It was while construction company Intarsia were carrying out the renovations that the cache was discovered.
The question of ownership of the St Petersburg hoard remains a thorny one. In the meantime, if you need a new antique cabinet for your own household silverware, why not visit a Lancashire antique dealer?
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