A unique 18th-century kidney bean table makes up a one piece exhibition opened on January 28, 2008 in the First Antechamber and now continued in the Small White Dining-Room of the Catherine Palace. This exquisite “lady’s item”, painted in imitation of aventurine and biscuit plaques, boasts an amazing history.
It is one of the two twin tables created for Empress Catherine II’s personal rooms in the Great Tsarskoye Selo Palace which, like the other interiors, were destroyed during the Second World War. Both tables escaped the destruction: they left the palace during massive sales of art objects authorized by the Soviet government in the 1920s and then were auctioned in Berlin in 1931. The tables re-emerged not earlier than a 2008 Sotheby’s auction in London where they were purchased by a Moscow collector David Iakobachvili. The owner generously honoured the request of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum to put one of the tables on display at the Catherine Palace.
The kidney bean table of Catherine II graces the historical interiors of the palace where visitors can admire this highly artistic piece of 18th-century applied decorative art in the place of its provenance.