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Collection of artifacts

In the prewar period, the Gatchina Palace possessed a substantial collection comprised of artworks made of bone, lacquer, wood and stone, as well as household pieces such as caskets, bags, ink stands, cigarette cases, frames, Easter eggs, etc. These are those insignificant pieces that fill up the palaces rooms and, when taken as a whole, produce a unique, yet historically distinctive, ensemble. Most of the collection was made up of oriental lacqureware, including rare objects of carved red lacquer, as well as black and red lacquer items, both polychrome and painted in gold of various tints.

Items of the collection with the most significant artistic or historic value were evacuated during wartime and to a large extent have been maintained. The exceptional carved tusks that used to adorn the rooms of Alexander III prior to the war made their way back to the Gatchina Palace, as did the oriental lacquer collection in segments, regarded to be one of the finest of its kind. Unfortunately, most of the pieces from this extensive collection have not yet been returned to the Palace and are preserved in other country residences, in particular at Pavlovsk, Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof museums. However, even those items that are now back at the Gatchina museum give an idea as to the richness of the collection that once adored the interiors of the Arsenal Wing. The collection continues to expand through purchases made by the museum.

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