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Prince George Galitzine

46 Fontanka

The Galitzine Family

The Mecklenburg-Strelitz Family








The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library is situated at 46 Fontanka in St Petersburg in the house now houses The Central City Public Library named after V.V.Mayakovsky.  This building is known as the Carlow mansion, and before the revolution in 1917, it was the family home of  Prince George Galitzine’s maternal grandmother – Countess Natalia Feodorovna Carlow .

In the days of Peter the Great it was the country residence of the quartermaster of the Imperial Court A.Kormedon, who was the head of the “Buildings Office”.  Then the house belonged to Adjutant-General G.Biron.  Later the country estate became the property of F.Y.Dubiansky – the Empress Elizabeth’s (Peter I’s daughter's) confessor.  He was one of the most educated and influential people of his time.  In the 19th century the members of the ancient noble Zinoviev family, were the owners of the house at Fontanka; this family was related to the Dubianskys.  In the 1830's the main entrance of the estate on the Fontanka side was decorated with the magnificent gates (architect V.I.Beretti).  In the 1840's the adjutant-general N.V.Zinoviev – director of the Corps of Pages, mentor of the future Emperor Alexander II’s sons – reconstructed the building (architect V.Y.Langvagen).  In 1895, the mansion together with the plot and all buildings surrounding it was acquired by Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – Prince George Galitzine’s grandfather.  At this time the outhouse was built in the yard, and some changes in decoration to the interiors of the mansion were made (architect V.P.Statsenko).  The Carlow’s mansion is a proteced architectural monument from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The house at 46 Fontanka went down in the history of musical culture of St Petersburg and Russia.  In the second half of the 18th century F.M.Dubiansky (1760-1796), a composer of the Catherine II’s time, lived there.  From 1896 to 1917 the string quartet created by Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz gave concerts at the mansion.  Prominent Russian musicians V.R.Bakaleinikov, A.A.Bornemann, S.E.Butkevich, G.N.Dulov, and others were members of The Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s quartet.Other famous musicians such as A.K.Glazunov, A.N.Skriabin, S.I.Taneev, A.S.Arensky, and A.I.Ziloti performed music along with the quartet in the White Hall of the Carlow mansion. The Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s quartet played concerts in both Russia and abroad, gaining the fame and love of all audiences.
The family of Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Countess Natalia Carlow took an active part in various charitable actions. They were patrons of numerous hospitals, asylums, orphanages, educational institutions, and individuals.  During the years of the Russo-Japanese war, the meeting room for the Port Arthur Committee, (the head of which was Countess Natalia Carlow), was located at 46 Fontanka.  During World War I a hospital for recovering officers was organized in the main rooms of the mansion by the Duke George of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s and Countess Natalia Carlow’s daughter Countess Ekaterina Georgievna Carlow.
The Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the Carlow family often lent works of art from their collection to various exhibitions.  The Carlow mansion was so well admired that in December 1917 the new authority gave it a seal of protectionas ‘a building important in both historic and artistic aspects and containing many artistic valuable things’.  A year later the mansion became a part of the Museum of the City: itsinteriors were included as one of the open houses in the 'permanent' exhibition called Inner House decoration.  This museum existed until 1929.  Afterwards objects of art and books were given to various museums and libraries of the USSR; some of them were sold abroad.  Since 1992 the Carlow mansion has housed the Department of Forein Language Literature of the Mayakovsky Library.  Since October 1994,The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library is situated in one of the rooms of the mansion.
Everyone is welcome to view the permanent exhibition of photographs and documents on the history of the Countess Carlow mansion and its owners, and attend the lectures and tours given by the Chief Librarian of the collection Elena Konyukhova.