Welcome to Hermitage Foundation UK web site


Professor Piotrovsky responds to US withdrawal from UNESCO

The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917

Hermitage Foundation UK supports publication of important catalogues of Greek vases

Hermitage Foundation UK buys superb watercolour for the Hermitage collection

Hampton Court Albums of Catherine the Great



in an interview with reporters in St Petersburg on Tuesday 17 October 2017, Professor Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum and Head of the Union of Museums of Russia, described the US’s withdrawal from UNESCO as 'sad'. He emphasised, however, that the action will not affect the organisation’s activities:

'I believe any country’s withdrawal from UNESCO is a sad fact, because this is the place where people who have different points of view can talk to each other. In the United Nations, for example, it is difficult for enemies to talk to each other, while there [in UNESCO] that’s possible.'



THE WINTER PALACE AND THE HERMITAGE IN 1917. History happened here

Exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum, 25 October 2017 – 14 January 2018

This a commemorative exhibition takes place in the very buildings where the Revolution unfolded. It represents the most comprehensive exhibition on the subject ever held, incorporating photographs, correspondence, relics and works of art from the museum collections, together with important loans from the State Archive in Moscow.

Focusing on the two institutions, the official residence of the Russian Tsars and the Imperial Hermitage museum, during 1917, the exhibition follows the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, two revolutions, the establishment of a provisional government, and the succession of the Bolsheviks. These events marked the beginning of a transformation of the buildings which resulted in the expansion of the Hermitage through the whole complex.


Packing up art treasures for evacuation 1917 / Protestors on Palace Square before the Winter Palace

Offering new insights into the life and abdication of the Tsar, the role and influence of individuals from soldiers and peasants to the nobility, the intentions of the Provisional Government, and above all, the unanimous appreciation throughout for the treasures held within The Hermitage, the exhibition offers an opportunity to reexamine the circumstances and events of the revolution.

Key exhibits: Nicholas II’s abdication letter, the personal diaries of the Tsar and Tsarina, revolutionary banners, equipment made by Fabergé for hospitals and the army, the imperial children’s cuddly toys, photographs of the chaos in the Winter Palace after the Bolshevik takeover and photo albums kept by the children.



Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum

In 1919 a project was established to catalogue all known Greek vases and related wares in museums and private collections across the world. The first volume in 1922 presented part of the collection in the Louvre. The Hermitage Museum joined the project in 2004 and Professor Piotrovsky is head of the Russian committee of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (http://www.cvaonline.org/cva/). In 2016 the Hermitage Foundation UK funded the translation of two volumes of the vases in the Hermitage, which appeared in spring 2017, bringing the total to twelve, with more in the pipeline.

The two volumes supported by the Hermitage Foundation UK were of Corinthian vases by Dr Anastasia Bukina – past recipient of a Visiting Curators grant – and Attic red-figure drinking cups by Dr Anna Petrakova – who will be making a research visit to the UK in November 2017 under the scheme. The translations were carried out by a specialist art historian, Dr Catherine Phillips.


One of the volumes sponsored by the Hermitage Foundation UK and Drs Bukina and Petrakova with their book on the history of the Hermitage’s vase collection, published in Oxford in 2013


One of the reasons we know so much about the appearance of the imperial palaces in and near St Petersburg in the nineteenth century - and of the rooms inside the Hermitage - is that Nicholas I commissioned numerous watercolours from artists Luigi Premazzi, Eduard Hau and Konstantin Ukhtomsky. Between 1850 and the mid-1860s they produced a fine body of exquisite and historically vital interior and exterior views, many of which are in the Department of Western European Fine Art.

In 2016 the Hermitage Foundation UK purchased a drawing from this series for the Hermitage Museum. The work of Premazzi, it shows the Sergievka estate of Nicholas I's favourite daughter, Grand Duchess Nikolaevna, built in 1839 for her and her husband Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, by the architect Andrey Stackenschneier. The estate was a gift from Nicholas, who also presented his daughter with the Mariinsky Palace in St Petersburg.

Luigi Premazzi (1814, Milan – 1891, Constantinople): View of Sergievka Palace: West Façade. 1850
Watercolour on paper, white body colour; 245x357 mm. Signed bottom left: Luigi Premazzi 1850

Luigi Premazzi was an Italian painter, mainly of watercolor vedute. From 1850 he worked on commission from Emperor Nicholas I and other members of the imperial family. In 1851 he was awarded the title of ‘appointed academician’ at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, in 1854 Academician of Fine Arts; in 1861 appointed Professor of Perspective and Watercolour Painting.

The Hermitage Foundation UK and its Friends are proud to have been able to make this important contribution to the Museum's important collection of architectural drawings and interior views.


Superb publication of the Hampton Court Albums of Catherine the Great!

In 2016 everyone seemed to be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, the great landscape gardener. The Hermitage Foundation UK joined in by supporting publication of this album of drawings. So famous were British landscaped parks in the eighteenth century that even Empress Catherine the Great dreamed of having an English Garden in St Petersburg. She purchased two albums of watercolours of Hampton Court Palace gardens and its surrounding parks which she used as inspiration while designing her 'English Garden' at Peterhof.

Some of the sheets were on display at Hampton Court 28th April - 4th September 2016 but although that exhibition has closed you can still purchase a copy of the publication at the special price of just £25.

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One of the best kept secrets in the run-up to the launch of the Hermitage's celebrations of its 250th anniversary in December 2014 was the British Museum's loan of the marble statue of the river-god Ilissos from the west pediment of the Parthenon. When it was unveiled in St Petersburg it caused a furore, with visitors to the Hermitage keenly aware of the significance of the event.

This symbol of British-Russian museum friendship remained on display until 18 January and is now back in its home in London. But a short film about the loan has been made by Foxtrot Films - who made Hermitage Revealed, the one-hour documentary that showed across British cinemas in 2014 (and on the BBC in January 2015). It can be seen at:

Link to Foxtrot Films Ilissos

Read the blog on the loan by Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, at:

Link to British Museum website



Want to learn more about art and history, discover the Hermitage and enjoy exclusive private tours of some of the best exhibitions in London? Then join the Hermitage UK Friends.

Membership gives access to a programme of activities (mainly in London) that includes talks, seminars, international tours and a range of social events that bring together all those with a passion for the Hermitage. Being a member of the Hermitage UK Friends automatically gives Friends membership in St Petersburg - allowing each member free entry to all the Hermitage Museum's collections. And don't forget that annual Hermitage reception hosted by the Russian Embassy.

See some of the things we did in 2017.

See some of the things we did in 2016.

See some of the things we did in 2015.

See some of the things we did in 2014.

So join us now!

Contact us by phone, email or post:
5a Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2TA
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 7780
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London Friends are offered

  • Private views to some of the most popular exhibitions in London, visits to artists' studios, previews of contemporary shows, book launches and lectures
  • Invitation to the Hermitage Museum's annual birthday celebrations (7-9 December) in St Petersburg, including openings of several exhibitions
  • Updates about events at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg
  • Invitation to two openings a year at the Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Invitation to the annual reception at the Russian Embassy, London
  • Membership card allowing free entry to the Hermitage Museum collections





  • All of the above   PLUS
  • Priority bookings for all events
  • Invitations to the Russian Ambassador’s exclusive summer party in London
  • Opportunities to join tours to view Hermitage exhibitions abroad
  • Patrons may request special viewings of Hermitage treasures in any field (exhibited or in storage), escorted by relevant specialist curators




  • All of the above   PLUS
  • Two tickets for either of our gala evenings each year – London in the spring and at the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, in June
  • Publicity on our website and name or page in gala brochure, depending on the level of sponsorship

Join us now