The Palace of Alexander Menshikov is a branch of Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg. The palace belonged to a close associate of Peter the Great, and an eminent statesman and military figure, Alexander Menshikov (1673-1729).
The favorite of Peter, the "demi sovereign master" Menshikoff, was so mighty, that in a letter to Korsakoff he commands: "Order, that in our own province, in the Russian as well as in the Lutheran churches, my name should be mentioned during prayers".
Sergei Vilkovski, 1865
Passing through the kitchen, with its black and white marble floor, you arrive at the palace’s central entrance hall. The walls here are painted to look like marble and in the niches stand Greek and Roman statues, which Menshikov, copying Peter the Great, brought back from Europe. The main oaken staircase leads upward, its railing bearing the intricate monograms of Peter the Great and Menshikov. On display here are various pieces of antique furniture, including a carved 16th century desk and a wooden traveling trunk with gilded handles – all objects used by Menshikov during military campaigns.
Prince of the Ijorsky lands of the Roman and Russian Empires, General-Governor over the provinces of Ingria and Estlandia, Minister of secret imperial matters to H. C. M. and general field marshal, knight and under-colonel of the regiment of Preobrajensky, and captain of H. M. first Grenadier Guards and colonel of two cavalry and two infantry regiments.
Official Title of Alexander Danilovich Menshikov
Further on is the secretary’s room, containing such remarkable objects as a carved bureau and medallions on the ceiling bearing representations of the goddesses of fertility and justice, pictures by Dutch landscapists, and astronomical instruments. Next is the state room decorated in Dutch tiles.
The palace rooms are ornamented with 27,810 tiles. Of them 80 percent were made by Dutch masters. The white tiles with a cobalt decoration depicting primarily pastoral scenes cover the walls and ceiling.
Just beyond these [buildings] stands the magnificent and spacious edifice, which was formerly prince Menzikoff palace, but is now the academy of the corps of cadets of noble families, and has received considerable additions, though it still wants a Jest wing. In 1731 the empress Anne, by the advice of the field-marshal count Munich, issued a proclamation, by virtue of which all the young nobility, and officers sons, of Russia and Livonia, were invited to Peters burg, where they were to be educated gratis, according to their rank, &c. In consequence of this ordinance, in the beginning of the year 1732, they made their appearance at Petersburg, and the above-mentioned palace was assigned for their dwelling.
History of the Russian Empire, 1763, Voltaire
The stove is faced with tiles of Russian workmanship. Take special notice of the mirror in a silver frame, the early 18th century oval table, and the portrait of Menshikov. In the next room (the state bedroom) personal effects of the palace’s former owner are on display.
The tiles in the chambers of Varvara, the sister of Menshikov’s wife, are of particular interest. Here you can see elegant furniture decorated in marquetry, and a cabinet with delftware and Russian glassware.
Menshikov’s favorite room was the Walnut Study. Its pilasters topped with gilded capitals and its small lattice-windows looking out over the Neva.
Sometime previously Peter had appointed Menshikov the governor-general of the city of St Petersburg, which was now rising amid the Finnish marshes. Menshikov had been with the Tsar when he laid the foundations of the fortress of Petropavlovski, and was now occupied with the building and settlement of the new city destined to be the capital of Russia. One of the bastions of the fortress of St Petersburg was named after him.
A History of Russia, 1904, Willam Richard Morfill
In the study take note of the Indian chess pieces, and the mirror in an amber frame hanging on the wall. This mirror belonged to Peter the Great. In pre-Petrine times mirrors were not kept in Russian homes. Domostroi, the rules drawn up in the 16th century for social, religious, family and everyday behavior forbade people to look at themselves, as this was considered indecent.