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THE ASSEMBLY HALL

There are three buildings near the Bath House: the Assembly Hall - the wing directly connected with Hahn's structure, as well as the ewery and the coffee kitchen behind it.

In 1726, on the orders of Catherine the Great, three stone blocks began to be built for a kitchen and other services running eastward from the southeastern corner of the Monplaisir Garden. The work was completed in 1732, but already in 1747 Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli was commissioned to redesign the kitchen block into an Assembly Hall. The architect hung mere seventeen tapestries embroidered at the St Petersburg Tapestry Works in the first half of the eighteenth century. Eight of them were narrative scenes - they reproduced the well-known series Tenture des Indes, the so-called Indian Wall-Papers, and had conventional names of the parts of the world - Asia, America and Africa. The prototype for this series were gobelins produced in France from cartoons by Francois Desportes and presented to Peter the Great in 1717. The tapestries of the Assembly Hall depicted animals, birds, flowers and Ethiopians against the background of a lavish tropical scenery. This explains the other title, The Ethiopian Series. The narrow tapestries covering the piers were in fact gobelins made for the seats of armchairs and the draping of screen leaves which were sewn together in pairs. They depicted zephyrs and characters of the Italian commedia del'arte from cartoons by Philippe Pillement.

The unique collection has been preserved during the war. Now the Assembly Hall of the Monplaisir complex is the only display in Russia illustrating the use of tapestries in eighteenth-century interiors.

In 1755 a kitchen with a ewery for keeping dinner services and table-linen, and a house for preparing coffee, tea and other beverages were added to the Assembly Hall.



The Assembly Hall.
Tapestry.
"Ethiopian Stringing His Bow."
Russia. 1720s.


The Assembly Hall.
Ornamental tapestries.
From cartoons by Phillippe Pillement. 1730s.

The Assembly Hall.
Ornamental tapestries.
From cartoons by Phillippe Pillement. 1730s.
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Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)

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