The Restored Large Imperial Throne Officially Presented
On 19 February, 2003, in the St George Hall of the Winter palace took place the official ceremony marking the completion of the restoration of the Large Imperial Throne executed in 1731 by the English master Nicholas Clausen for Empress Anna Ioannovna. Programs for the restoration of metal, wood and fabric were approved in September 2002. Several restoration laboratories headed by M.N. Lopato Senior Curator of the West European Art Department took part in the project: Laboratory of Applied Art Restoration (Director A.I. Bantikov), Laboratory of Fabric Restoration (Director N.S. Pinyagina) and Special Restoration Studios of the State Hermitage Museum (Director N.I. Trubnikov).
Dirt and old glue were removed from the places where wooden surfaces met. Lost elements of the throne base and footstool were made anew from the wood species of the original throne. Carved details of the throne base were restored.
Gilt was restored or made anew on the interior surface of the throne and footstool and on all surfaces where it was no longer extant, matching the original gilt.
Metal restoration included the dismantling of all gilt silver cover pieces and fixtures, cleaning of surfaces, fixing of deformities, making of a cross for the orb, gilding and silvering.
Velvet details were removed from the wooden case and dismantled, nails were removed. The eagle, big crown and braids were detached from velvet, fastening threads were removed; new natural silk fastening threads of various colors were selected. To restore the lost elements, gilt and silver threads and sprangles were used. Silver silk brocade, blue silk and red velvet were selected to restore coats-of-arms. Silk gauze was used to make copies of braids. Materials used to restore the lost elements date from the original throne’s time. The restored details of gilt embroidery and braids were attached to new velvet whose quality and color correspond to the fragments of the original velvet preserved under metal cover pieces. Velvet was cut with account of the pile direction and underlain with thick cotton fabric.
Coats-of-arms were dismantled and cleaned, master models were made from silver, enamel color was selected by computer, fixtures were made and installed, lost enamel was restored, coats-of-arms were put together and fastened to fabric, then gilt, toned and patinated.
The Imperial Throne will be on permanent display in the Large Throne (St George) Hall of the Winter Palace.
The project was sponsored by Energy Standard Group S.A.
Members of the Hermitage Friends Club also provided their generous support for the realization of this project.