March 2016

This winter the BBC reimagined Tolstoy’s epic, War and Peace and brought the rich beauty of the Russian aristocracy and their lives into our homes.

Set during the years of 1805 and 1812 the novel charts the history of the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. There is war, love and peace.

The six-part series provided a visually rich insight into the way of life for the Russian aristocracy, from their resplendent homes in St. Petersburg and Moscow to their winter houses in rural Russia. Embodying a mostly Baroque style, the locations used for the BBC series allowed the show to be as historically accurate as possible. The fashions of the time favoured a blend between the ornate Louis XVI style and Napoleon’s Imperial aesthetics to reflect the changing political situation of the country.

Whilst War & Peace was set in Russia, the BBC used additional locations in Lithuania and Latvia for filming. Some of the best, and most iconic scenes were filmed at Rundāle Palace in Latvia. Designed by architect of the Winter Palace and Catherine Palace, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Rundāle Palace shares a very similar aesthetic to those found in St. Petersburg. This week’s blogpost explores the beautiful interiors of Rundāle Palace, used for the opening scenes during Anna Pavlovna Scherer’s soiree, the Rostov’s home and Pierre Bezukhov’s home, both in St. Petersburg.

All photography (c) Rundāle Palace, Latvia