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The Tsars’ Cabinet illuminates a period of sociopolitical change and comments on the fascinating personal lives of the members of the Romanov dynasty through a display of superbly crafted objects. Spanning 200 years of Russian history—from Peter the Great in the early 18th century to Nicholas II in the early 20th century—these objects, used both publicly and privately by the Romanovs, rise above functionality into the realm of art through ornate stylistic expression, exemplary craft, and thematic explorations of nationalism and militarism.

Made from porcelain, glass, enamel, silver gilt, and other materials, this collection dazzles through sheer size and sumptuous quality. Not only do these objects sketch a picture of the luxury of Russian court life in the midst of a modest, orthodox society, but they also illustrate Russia’s burgeoning desire to adopt elaborate European customs in order to play a central role in European affairs. The objects in The Tsars’ Cabinet—including plates, dishes, pitchers, glasses, cups, saucers, Easter eggs, and much more—reflect the individual tastes and styles of particular rulers, weaving together a compelling story of Russian history in all its beauty and complexity.

The Tsars’ Cabinet is developed from the Kathleen Durdin Collection and is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

Related Programs
Jepson Center

Opening Lecture and Celebration
Thursday, September 29, 6pm
Members free / non-members $12

Click here to register  »

A lecture by Kathleen Durdin, Russian decorative arts collector, provides a collector’s perspective on the exquisite works drawn from her private collection in this exhibition and shares her fascination with Russian history and decorative arts. A reception following the lecture features special demonstrations and traditional Russian fare! Sponsored by the Telfair Academy Guild.


Free Family Day
Saturday, October 8, 1–4pm

Celebrate Russian culture through the arts! Make your own paper Russian nesting dolls, fancy plastic picnic ware, and Fabergé eggs. You can also hear a live performance of Russian music by the Atlanta Balalaika Society.


Exhibition Sponsors
Alice and Bob Jepson, Richard H. Middleton, Cynthia and Dwaine Willett, Bob and Jean Faircloth, Wilson and Linda Fisk Morris, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Roelle, Dr. Victor L. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. F. Reed Dulany III, Mr. and Mrs. Don McElveen, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Rabinowitz, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas V. Reilly, Cheri D. and Benjamin R. Roach, Cathy and Philip Solomons, Susan Willetts and Alan K. Pritz.


Charger, Cup and Saucer, and Bowl from the Kremlin Service
Hard-paste porcelain
c. 1840-1855
Imperial Porcelain Factory, Russia

Figures (Hunter, Woman from Kamtchatka, Hunter, Woman in Beige Coat, Man from Kamtchatka, Samoyed Man, Kabardian Man, Teleutan Tartar Woman, Male Cossack), modeled by J.D Rachette
Hard-paste porcelain
c. 1785-1800
Imperial Porcelain Factory, Russia

Campana Urns Illustrating the Arts
Hard-paste porcelain
c. 1845
Imperial Porcelain Factory, Russia


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