Attention to details: how the stained glass dome from the Abrikosov’s house was restored

August 9

The restoration of the Abrikosov’s residential house in Malaya Krasnoselskaya Street (house 7, building 31) is underway. At the end of last year, the specialists completed the main restoration works on the facades and proceeded to the interior. And now they have managed to complete the restoration of one of the most amazing elements in the house decor — the stained glass dome. Its diameter is nearly two meters.

The dome consists of 11 petals, a round central portion and 22 smaller elements (triangles and small elongated petals). All the elements are attached to a metal framework. The dome was in the central part of the building under a skylight (a round roof window designed to provide natural illumination of the interior). So, the day light entered the interior through the painted stained glass.

“Returning the historical appearance to the building is a very labor-consuming process where attention to unique details is of primary importance. Before commencing any work, a detailed examination of the facility and associated archival materials is carried out. It often results in unexpected discoveries. This is what happened with the Abrikosov’s house in Malaya Krasnoselskaya Street. For example, the historical shade of the house facade walls turned out to be olive instead of red-brick, to which everyone has become accustomed in recent years. The restorers returned the walls their original appearance. Another discovery was the preserved glass stained dome with its paintings simply covered by paint. After the restorers had removed paint to the lower layer and discovered the graceful patterns beneath, it was decided to carefully dismantle the entire structure and bring it to perfection at the workshop,” told Aleksey Emelyanov, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow.

He noted that the dome restoration lasted for almost six months. First, it was cleared and then dismantled. After that, samples of the paints were sent to a laboratory to determine their exact characteristics for reproduction purposes. It turned out that oil-base paint had been used.

The experts carefully renewed all the elements and restored the paintings resembling floral patterns. The dome metal framework was reinforced additionally. The whole structure is now awaiting at the workshop fully restored. It will be re-installed after the restoration of the building interior is completed.

The Abrikosov’s house has another similar element. It is a colored stained glass window. The specialists are now specifying the procedure to be used for restoration. It will also bedismounted and taken to the workshop to return the stained glass its historical appearance.

The Art Nouveau house was built in 1902. It belonged to the Abrikosov dynasty who were famous for their confectionery production. The founder of the dynasty, Stepan Abrikosov, began making sweets back in 1804. His grandson, Aleksey Abrikosov, continued the business and established the “Factory Commercial Partnership of A.I. Abrikosov and the Sons” in the second half of the 19th century. Soon the factory became one of the three largest confectionery manufacturers in Russia. In the 1880s, Aleksey Abrikosov moved his production to Malaya Krasnoselskaya Street. He also built a house for the family next to the factory.

The two-story Abrikosov’s mansion was designed by architect Boris Schnaubert. The main porch and three outbowed bay windows on the second floor became the compositional center of the building. The house facade was decorated with gracefully curved moldings in the form of vases for sweets. The fence on the roof of the house has the Art Nouveau pattern, the smooth curves of its elements resembling waves. In 1919, the Abrikosov‘s confectionery factory was nationalized, and in 1922 it was renamed to Babaev Factory.

Nowadays, the building belongs to the cultural heritage sites of regional significance. It is owned by a large confectionery enterprise. The restoration of the house will be completed by the end of 2022.


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