Extract

Some corner of a foreign land

On the Great Lake of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, outside St Petersburg, stands this peaceful Turkish bath, an ironic legacy of a century of intermittent warfare. By Rose Baring. Photographs by Francesco Venturi

Summer home to countless Romanovs, the palace and gardens of Tsarskoye Selo were laid out in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, a passionate devotee of the naturalistic style of English landscaping. ‘I adore English gardens.’ she told Voltaire, ‘with their curved lines, pente-douces, ponds like lakes… I hate fountains that torture water into running contrary to its nature.’ Her garderners, the aptly named John Bush, and his son Joseph, were of course English.

Just as in England, at the time, inspiration for the various follies and pavilions that dot the serene landscape was eclectic. There are Chinese pavilions, classical columns, gothic boathouses and baroque grottoes.

The Turkish Bath was a late edition to the ensemble, built by the little-known Italian architect Ippolito Monghetti in 1852, in ironic commemoration of the Russo–Turkish War of 1828–29…

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Issue 15, 1998 Mountain Secrets
£12.00 / $16.63 / 63.31 TL
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Issue 15, 1998 Mountain Secrets
£12.00 / $16.63 / 63.31 TL
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