The Own garden by Empress Maria Fedorovna


The Private Garden of Empress Maria Feodorovna is located under the windows of her private apartments, near the southern facade of the Pavlovsk palace. A cast iron grillage separates it from the Slavyanka River Valley and the balustrade of the Pavilion of the Three Graces separates it from Sadovaya street.

The garden is inextricably linked with the palace premises: a terrace with flights of steps leading up to the parterres connects the main alley of the garden with the Common study of the Central building; there is a stairway into the garden from a balcony of the Pilaster study; the Lantern study and cast iron tent with a terrace go directly to the garden, determining the layout of flowerbeds and paths.

The layout of the Private Garden was designed by Charles Cameron together with artist Henri François Gabriel Viollier, in the spirit of small French-Dutch gardens. It has a clear geometrical layout with the intersection of the two axes. The main alley is aligned on the vertical axis; it leads from the southern facade of the palace to the Pavilion of the Three Graces and it is decorated by marble crater vases (Italy, 18th century) from both sides. The flower parterre is located before the southern facade; it is divided into two symmetrical parts by the mail alley and separated by the transverse alley with roses planted along.

Two large white marble park vases Italy, 18th century) are installed at the intersection of the alleys. Previously, a wooden trellis was behind the vases in this place; it separated the front part of the garden from the botanical one.

The lime tree quincunx, a checkered pattern for planting trees characteristic for the 18th century, is located to the right from the main alley surrounded by lime trees. To the left, there are beds and bosquets with ornamental shrubbery and flowers from the different corners of the world. This is the Flora Kingdom, where the real botanical experiments were conducted for the cultivation of rare varieties of flowering plants. A statue of Flora, the so-called Flora Farnese, was initially installed in the center of the bosquet paths; in the early 19th century it was replaced by the “Cupid” by the 18th century English sculptor Thomas Banks, which was lost during the war.

From the terrace of the Private Garden, where the Pavilion of the Three Graces is constructed, a picturesque view of the Marientahl pond opens, with its hilly banks once called the Russian Switzerland or the Swiss Hills, together with the simple outline of the Big stone bridge dam.

The Pavilion of the Three Graces was constructed by Charles Cameron on the terrace of the Private Garden, offering a magnificent view over the Marientahl pond. This terrace was the favorite place for Paul I to work and rest.

From the side of the Private Garden, the Pavilion faces the main alley connecting it with the southern facade terrace, thus being a final perspective of the southern axis of the palace and looking perfectly from the windows of the Common study on the ground floor of from the windows of the Boudoir of the Grand apartments of Maria Feodorovna.

The Pavilion is a 16-column Ionic portico. Its pediments are decorated with the bas-reliefs with figures of Apollo with lyre surrounded by the attributes of the arts, and Minerva with the emblems of the power and glory (sculptor Ivan Prokofiev). The dome is decorated with relief rosettes of acanthus leaves. In 1802, Emperor Alexander I presented the marble sculpture “Three Graces” by the Italian sculptor Paolo Triscornia to his mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna. The sculpture was made from a single block of Carrara marble. The three graces are Euphrosyne (Mirth), Aglaea (Splendour), and Thalia (Happiness) and they are depicted as slender women supporting a vase standing on the column. According to the ancient myths, they are the patrons of all that is beautiful and exalted. This sculpture group was placed in the center of the pavilion, right at the axes' intersection and so fits harmoniously into the pavilion by Charles Cameron, henceforth known as the Pavilion of the Three Graces.


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