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The Tsar's Cabinet: Decorative Arts of the Romanovs at the Gardiner Museum Toronto

From a media release:

Be transported to Tsarist Russia and discover Toronto’s connection to the Romanov Dynasty
The Tsars’ Cabinet: The Luxury and Romance of the Romanovs
October 13, 2011 – January 8, 2012 at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto

TORONTO – Visitors to Toronto’s Gardiner Museum will be transported to another time and place through the evocative exhibition, The Tsars’ Cabinet.

The Tsars’ Cabinet presents more than 200 examples of decorative arts, including objects with Fabergé mounts, gilded dinner services, imperial porcelain eggs, and historic court photographs that document the extravagance and sumptuousness of life in palaces and yachts during the Romanov era.

The exhibition follows the history of the Tsars and their family, including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. The Tsars’ Cabinet also features intimate Romanov family photographs from the Toronto-based Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection and personal artifacts once owned by Grand Duchess Olga, the younger sister of Tsar Nicholas II, who spent her final years living in Toronto.

The Tsars’ Cabinet was developed from the exceptional private collection of Kathleen Durdin, and organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in collaboration with International Arts + Artists, Washington D.C.

The Gardiner Museum is the first stop of an international tour.

“We enhanced the extraordinary Durdin Collection with Romanov family photographs and several objects once owned by Grand Duchess Olga to provide a more direct connection between Toronto residents and visitors and the luxury, romance and tragedy of the Romanov Dynasty. Dr. Peter Kaellgren, our Interim Chief Curator, and the on-site curator for this exhibition, should be congratulated for these inspired additions that will truly transport visitors to the period of Russian history revealed by this exhibition,” said Alexandra Montgomery, Executive Director of the Gardiner Museum.

The Tsars’ Cabinet runs from October 13, 2011 to January 8, 2012 at the Gardiner Museum.

Exhibition-Related Lecture Series

• Ambition and Authority: The Decorative Arts Under Catherine the Great
Speaker: Dr. Christina Corsiglia, Former Curator of European Art,
Art Gallery of Ontario
Tuesday October 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm
$12General Public / $10 for Members

Catherine the Great: The Empress of China
Speaker: Peter Kaellgren, Interim Chief Curator
Wednesday November 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm
$15 General Public / $12 for Members

• Russian Christmas Traditions:
From Palace to Cottage and to the Present Day
Speaker: Dr. Karen Kettering, VP Russian Works of Art and Icons,
Sotheby’s New York
Tuesday December 6, 2011 at 12 pm
$45 (includes gourmet lunch prepared by Jamie Kennedy Kitchens)

For tickets or information, call 416.586.8080 or visit


  1. The Romanov family were illustrious and their lifestyle was among the most decorated. Their possessions like furnitures were all of grade class.


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