Exhibitions

Hermitage Rooms Archive: 2000-2007


The Hermitage Rooms are no longer operating as an exhibition space. The Friends of the Hermitage facilitate collaborations between the Museum in St. Petersburg and institutions throughout the UK, including those based in Somerset House.



France in Russia: Empress Josephine's Malmaison Collection
25 July - 4 November 2007

Painting: François Gerard (1770-1837), Portrait of Josephine, 1801



Malmaison was the country retreat of Empress Josephine, where she lived with her husband Napoleon Bonaparte. The château was decorated and furnished in the latest antique taste providing a luxurious setting for Josephine's burgeoning art collection. Many of the works she collected were gifts from Napoleon which he had acquired during his various military campaigns in Europe.

After her death, Tsar Alexander I bought an important part of the Malmaison paintings and sculpture collection and shipped it to St Petersburg to be installed in the Winter Palace. This exhibition brought together, for the first time in Britain, a significant part of the The State Hermitage Museum's Malmaison collection.
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The Triumph of Eros: Art and Seduction in 18th Century France
24 November 2006 - 9 April 2007

Painting: François Boucher, Pastoral scene 1740s This exhibition brought together a wide range of material from the Hermitage's rich collections, including paintings, drawings, furniture and a recently discovered group of prints depicting scenes from the education of Eros to explore the theme of art and seduction in 18th century French culture.
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The Road to Byzantium: Luxury Arts of Antiquity
30 March to 3 September 2006

Cover plate of quiver: Scenes from the life of Achilles, third quarter of the 4th century BC This major exhibition brought to London for the first time an extraordinary collection of classical Greek, Roman and Byzantine luxury artworks from The State Hermitage Museum, including finely decorated silver and gold, Athenian red-figure vases and exquisite cameos.
Further information

The Exhibition Guide (474KB .pdf file)
left-click to open, right-click to download


Gainsborough to Turner:
British Watercolours from the Spooner Collection

17th November 2005 - 12 February 2006

Detail of painting: Edward Dayes (1763-1804), Somerset House from the Thames 1788; link to more about the exhibition


The remarkable Spooner collection of early British watercolours is one of the finest of its kind. This was a rare opportunity to see 80 of the most exquisite watercolours in the intimate setting of the Hermitage Rooms. The collection, which now belongs to the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, includes outstanding works by Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Sandby, Thomas Girtin, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner.
Further information


Circling the Square: Avant-garde Porcelain from Revolutionary Russia
Extended to 30 September 2005

Image of plate and link to page: Circling the Square

This absorbing exhibition celebrated an extraordinary period in the history of 20th century art and design and presents, for the first time in Britain, a comprehensive survey of the porcelain produced at the world-renowned State Porcelain Factory in St Petersburg (formerly Imperial now the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory), during the years following the Russian Revolution of 1917.
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Heaven on Earth: Art from Islamic Lands
Islamic Art from The State Hermitage Museum and The Khalili Collection
25th March - 3rd October 2004

Object: 17th century tray

This dazzling exhibition of art from Islamic lands was the most significant exhibition of its kind to be held in London since the Festival of Islam at the Hayward Gallery in 1976. Heaven on Earth: Art from Islamic Lands drew on the collections of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London, both of which will be lending more than 60 works.
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Peter Paul Rubens: A Touch of Brilliance
Oil Sketches and Related Works from The State Hermitage Museum and The Courtauld Institute Gallery
20th September 2003 - 8th February 2004

Painting: Peter Paul Rubens, The Apotheosis of James I, 1630-34

This Rubens exhibition was the first project to result from the alliance between the Courtauld Institute of Art and The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The exhibition drew on the two celebrated and complementary collections of the sketches that have long been regarded as one of the most compelling and remarkable aspects of Rubens’ work. With the addition of loans from British collections, the exhibition comprised some 40 oil sketches supplemented by ten related drawings and a small number of finished paintings.
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St Petersburg: A 300th Birthday Tribute
People and Palaces in Photographs around 1900
14th June - 10th August 2003

Photo: Karl Bulla (1854-1929), Self portrait, circa 1900

To mark the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg, home of The State Hermitage Museum, the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House offered free admission to an exhibition of some 200 photographs from the Hermitage collection, presenting a profile of this rich and thriving city when it was still the capital of Russia.
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Painting, Passion and Politics:
Masterpieces from the Walpole Collection

28th September 2002 - 30th March 2003

Painting: Sir Robert Walpole with Horse and Groom, by John Wootton

The exhibition presented 34 masterpieces from the Walpole collection, most returning to England for the first time in over 200 years. Among these are works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Poussin.
Further information

Generously supported by the Open Russia Foundation


The Genius of Caspar David Friedrich:
German Romantic Art for Russian Imperial Palaces

20th April - 18th August 2002

Painting: Tancred and Erminia by Nicolas Poussin

This exhibition brought twelve masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich from the State Hermitage Museum's collection in St Petersburg, together with work by his German contemporaries.
Further information

Generously supported by Donald and Jeanne Kahn


French Drawings and Paintings from the Hermitage:
Poussin to Picasso
3rd November 2001 - 10th March 2002

Painting: Tancred and Erminia by Nicolas Poussin

This magnificent exhibition offered visitors the opportunity to view a selection from one of the world's least known collections of master drawings.
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Treasures of Catherine the Great
25th November 2000 - 23rd September 2001

Painting: Portrait of Catherine II by Vigilius Eriksen

This dazzling exhibition of jewels, decorative art and paintings inaugurated the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House. More than 500 works of art from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg recreated the imperial splendour of the Winter Palace and offered visitors a unique window on Russian art and history.
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