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On the night of 25 November 1741, a palace coup took place in Russia. As a result, Elizaveta, daughter of Peter I and Catherine I, came to power and ruled the country for the succeeding twenty years.

On 25 April 1742, a solemn coronation of Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna took place in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The ceremony had the scope never seen before, involving the enormous number of people in the Kremlin and beyond. The festivities continued for two months and were notable for the unprecedented luxury.

Empress’s triumphal arrival to Moscow on 28 February became a show, symbolic meaning of which was no less significant than rituals in the Assumption Cathedral. The participants of the procession gathered in Tverskaya Yamskaya Sloboda, where Empress arrived together with her courtiers from the village Vsesvyatskoe. There she sat into a carriage, and a coronation cortege moved slowly to the Kremlin through the streets along which the regiments stood with flying colours. The cortege consisted of ten carriages, surrounded by hundreds of horsemen; each carriage decorated with gold, brocade, and velvet.

When the scenario of the coronation events was worked out, the banner of state, the sword of state, and the seal were added to the list of state regalia.

Coat of arms of Russia’s territories on the Banner of State corresponded to the title of Empress. The two-headed eagle with a Moscow coat of arms and chain of St. Andrew’s Order on its chest was placed in the centre of the Banner. When the regalia were transferred to the Assumption Cathedral, the Banner of State headed the procession; the honour to carry it was entrusted to M.Y. Volkov, General in Chief and ‘principle commander’ of the Workshop and the Armoury Chamber. ‘General in Chief… Naryshkin’ carried the Sword of State.

In the Assumption Cathedral, the sword and the banner were laid on the fourth step of the platform; the officials stood by them during the whole ceremony. The seal was put on the table by Empress’s throne together with ‘the personal regalia’ – the crown, the sceptre, the orb, and the mantle. Except for the sceptre, all regalia were made especially for the coronation of Elizaveta Petrovna anew. Archbishop Ambrose held the mantle and the crown, the Empress put them on herself thus showing that they belonged to her legitimately. Johann Heinrich Zalirt created the crown, both Russian and foreign masters and apprentices helped him. When the ceremony in the cathedral was over, the Empress, dressed in full regalia, left it through the northern doors and, standing under the canopy, deigned to proceed first to crowded Ivanovskaya Square and only then to the Archangel Cathedral. She walked on the specially built platform with bannisters, along which there were installed galleries for everyone interested in the procession. The public could access the galleries with a reserved seat ticket.

After this coronation, the celebrations for the public during the congratulatory audiences continued for several days. On 28 April, four bulls staffed both with poultry and fish were placed in Cathedral Square. They were fried in the kitchen, in the pits dug right in Ivanovskaya Square. Two carved gilded fountains, made under the guidance of architect I.Y. Blank, spurted with white and red wine. During the feast, the Empress threw gold and silver counters from the balcony. Elizaveta Petrovna left the Kremlin on 29 April 2022 and moved with a solemn procession to the imperial house by the Yauza river, where a series of balls and banquets continued. The Italian opera ‘The Mercy of Titus’, shown in the new-fangled Opera House,  ‘revealed a cheerful disposition and high moral qualities of the Empress’. Elizaveta wished also to make a costume ball that lasted 8 days – more than eight hundred tickets were handed out. Public demonstration of state regalia and coronation headdresses in the Faceted Chamber during the celebrations became another novelty. Besides, the batons of Supreme Marshal of the Coronation Prince N.Y. Trubetskoy and Supreme Master of Ceremonies Baron J.L. Luberas von Pott were also under the display.



Russia, first quarter of the 19th c

Author: Unknown artist. Oil on canvas, wood.

Elizaveta is depicted with badges of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called against a red drapery. The Empress wears a low neck dress with a white satin skirt, golden patterned bodice, and ermine mantle. Powdered hair set in two long curls run down the shoulders and the chest. On the head, she wears a small crown with precious stones. In the right hand, Elizaveta holds a sceptre, her left hand touches the big crown which lies on the table.


Портрет императрицы Елизаветы Петровны


Copy of the engraving by I. Stenglin (after 1746). 
Unknown artist. Russia, the 18th c. Oil on canvas. 

It is a knee-high portrait of Elizaveta Petrovna with her head slightly turned to the left. The Empress wears a silver-grey dress, adorned with a brilliant agraffe in the centre of the chest, with greyish-white laces along the low neck and the sleeves. Elizaveta Petrovna has a powdered wig, one curl of which runs down the right shoulder. A minor imperial brilliant crown is on her head, and a brilliant aigrette is at the temple. A blue moire ribbon of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called with a brilliant cross by the left hip is thrown over the right shoulder. There is a brown mantle with ermine fur lining that Elizaveta holds with the right hand over the shoulders. Her left hand adroop points at the gold sceptre and orb, lying on the red velvet cushion.

Церемония публикации перед коронацией императрицы Елизаветы Петровны


Russia, middle of the 19th c. (after a board of 1744). 
Paper; copper plate engraving. G.А.Kachalov (after adrawing by J.J. Shumacher). 

The coronation of Elizaveta Petrovna was assigned for 25 April 1742, and three days before that this event was announced to the Muscovites and guests during the special ceremony. At noon of 22 April at Elizaveta Petrovna’s palace by the Yauza river, a team headed by Lord Chamberlain of Her Majesty, Governor-General of Moscow A.B. Buturlin, as well as Marshal of Ceremonies Major General Prince P.B. Cherkassly, and Actual State Councillor Lopukhin made the first announcement of the coming coronation. The team consisted of kings of arms, marshals of ceremonies, officers, riders of cavalry Leib Guards, twenty trumpeters, and two musicians with silver kettle-drums. The engraving shows one of the key moments of the proclamation when the forthcoming ceremony was announced at Ivanovskaya Square of the Kremlin for the first time.

Государственное знамя


D.M. Strukov. 

Cardboard; water-colour, Indian ink, whiting, gold and silver paint.

The water-colour depicts the Banner of State of 1742, made for the coronation of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna and remade for the coronation of Nicholas I in 1826. The Russian coat of arms is in the centre of the banner: two-headed eagle under the crown holds a sceptre and an orb, it has a chain of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called and an escutcheon with the Moscow coat of arms (St. George) on its chest. Small oval escutcheons with coats of arms of kingdoms, princedoms, and lands of the Russian Empire are placed along the edges. The Banner of State, as well as the other regalia, took part in the coronation ceremony of Elizaveta Petrovna on 25 April 1742. It was delivered from the Workshop and the Armoury Chamber to the Faceted Chamber and then, together with the rest of regalia, headed the solemn procession of Elizaveta Petrovna, who wended her way to the Assumption Cathedral, the main temple of the Moscow Kremlin. This very banner had been being used during the succeeding coronations up until 1862 when it was changed a little. The author of this water-colour is Dmitry Strukov, who worked in the Armoury Chamber in the 1860-1886s as an artist and depicting many Kremlin antiquities left a significant graphical heritage. Thus, in 1862 he made twenty-three drawings of ancient Russian banners including this one.

Государственный меч


Moscow, Kremlin workshops, second half of the 17th c.; blade — Poland (?), the 16th – 17th cc.(?) 

Damask steel, silver, giltglazet, gilt cord, wood; forging, casting, chasing, engraving, carving, gilding, flat-chasing.

This sword is mentioned in the earliest inventory of the Armoury Chamber – the Census book of 1686/1687 in chapter 8 ‘Swords of the German and Russian work…’ It was written first in the row that indicated the high status of this object.  After Peter I accepted the title of Emperor in 1721, the court ceremonial, as well as the set of symbols of power, demanded renewal. In 1724, Peter crowned his wife Catherine. The common European tradition required the presence of Sword of State among insignia, however, it took some time before it appeared in the regalia set of the Russian Empire. In April 1742, a commission in charge of the coronation ceremony of Elizaveta Petrovna started its work. Among other issues the commission ordered to include ‘the Seal of State, the Banner of State, and the Sword of State ’ to the regalia. It was assumed that the best sword would be chosen from the Workshop of the Armoury Chamber. Thus, in 1742, ‘the first sword’ of the Sovereign’s armoury treasury of the 17th century became the Sword of State of the Russian Empire. The Sword of State took part in all official ceremonies of Elizaveta Petrovna’s coronation and was an integral attribute of all future coronations of the Russian monarchs and monarchess, symbolizing the right and the duty of the monarch to defend the nationals and render justice. The last renovation of the Sword of State was due to the coronation of Emperor Alexander III in 1883.  The silver glazet on the scabbard and handle was replaced with the gilded one.



Russia, 1742. 

Elk leather, giltfringe; braiding.

In 1742, for the first time the set of imperial regalia prepared for the coronation of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna besides the crown, the sceptre, the orb, the chain of Order of St.Andrew the First-called, and mantle, included the Banner of State, the Seal of State, and the Sword of State. During the ceremonial procession, the prelacy of Empire carried the regalia on the brocade cushions. These gloves were designed for General in Chief and Cavalier of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called Naryshkin, who carried the Sword of State. After the coronation of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, the gloves were delivered to the Armoury Chamber among other items with the mark that ‘they were used by the Sword of State’ during the ceremonial procession from the Faceted Chamber to the Assumption Cathedral. During the coronation procession in 1762, Grand Equerry Senator P.S. Sumarokov also used these gloves when he carried the Sword of State.

Супервест кавалергардский


Saint-Petersburg, 1742. Tailor Barsatiny. 

Cloth, woollen fabric, linen, gilded galloon, spun gold thread, silver thread, silk threads; weaving, needlework, applique work. 

Taking for example the drabants of the Swedish King, Tsar Peter Alexeevich, future Peter I, established a drabants’ corps, personal horse-guardsmen of the sovereign, from the troops of the Preobrazhensky regiment in the 1707-1708s. For the coronation of Catherine I, a guard of Empress was formed of 60 drabants. The captain of these Cavaliere guard officers was Emperor Peter I himself, and the captain-lieutenant was P.I. Yaguzhinsky. In the course of the events, the first half of the Cavaliere guard opened the coronation procession and the second one - tailed it. During the church order of the coronation, the officers of the Cavaliere guard stood as sentinels on the steps of the throne platform. Later Cavaliere guard officers participated in all coronation feasts. Although in 1731 the Cavaliere guard had been disembodied, its role in the coronation of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna was played by the Leib-company – a privileged military corps, transformed from the grenadier troop of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, that had been closely involved in the enthronement of Elizaveta Petrovna on 25 November 1741. A ‘model’ supervest Iwas made of red cloth with sewed golden lace. It was sent to the Armoury Chamber in 1742 as a part of ‘ammunition for the Leib-company’. On the chest and the back of the supervest, there are large stars of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called embroidered with metal and silk threads.

Медаль в память коронации императрицы Елизаветы Петровны


Saint-Petersburg mint, 1742. Medallists V.S. Baranov (after an original by I.K. Hedlinger; the obverseside), V. Klimentov (after an original by I.K. Hedlinger; the reverse side). 

Gold; chasing.

The Empress in the crown, mantle and ribbon of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called is depicted on the obverse. On the reverse side, the Empress stands in full height with a mantle, a sceptre in the right hand, and a badge of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called on the ribbon over her right shoulder. A genius with a shining star and shield in the left hand puts a crown on her. A knelt woman against two columns with monograms of Emperor Peter I and Empress Elizaveta Petrovna to the right impersonates Russia. She holds a burning heart in her right hand and leans on the shield with the Russian coat of arms.  

This model is a copy of the most successful portrait of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, made by medallist Jogann Karl Hedlinger in 1745. With the help of allegory, the coronation medal underlines the legitimacy of enthronement as a result of the palace coup, undertaken by Peter I’s daughter with the support of ‘the loyal subjects’. It also proclaims the restitution with God’s help to the rule, based on the laws of her famous father.



Russia, 1741—1744s

Gold, silver, brilliants, rubies, ivory, glass; painted enamel, water-colour, casting, enamel, carving. 

The two-sided panagia with the upper part in a form of a crown and massive pendant comes from the sanctuary of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. One side places an enamel miniature insert with the Mandylion surrounded by the brilliant shining. Another side has an image of the Virgin of Vladimir framed by rays of brilliants and rubies. The pendant is spangled with large diamonds; its reverse side places the portrait of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. 

Elizaveta Petrovna presented this panagia to Archimandrite of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Archbishop Arsenius (Mogilyansky) in 1724, and during the second half of the 18th century, it was thought to be the most representational. On the ceremonial portraits, the archimandrites of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Gideon (Krinovsky), Laurentius (Khotzyatovsky), Plato (Levshin) wore this well-recognized, brilliant panagia. Probably it was put on for the most important state and court ceremonies



Russia, 1744. 
Glazet, silk, taffeta, gold, silver, brilliants, rubies, pearls, glasses, gold threads; weaving, needlework, enamel, chasing.
According to the inscription, Elizaveta presented this mitre to the prior of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Arsenius (Mogilyansky) on the third anniversary of her enthronement. A young teacher of the Moscow ecclesiastical academy attracted Empress’s attention during the coronation events, obviously by the brilliant speech delivered on 21 May 1742 in the Spassky Cathedral of the Saikono-Spassky monastery due to the Candlemas of the Icon of Virgin. With Empress’s kind treatment, Arsenius makes a meteorous career. At the beginning of February, he was shifted as a teacher to the new ecclesiastical seminary at the Trinity monastery of St. Sergius, and in 1743 he became a court preacher. Yet on 29 January 1744, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite of the Trinity monastery of St. Sergius. 

It was on 8 June 1744, when Empress Elizaveta Petrovna ordered to assign to the Trinity monastery of St. Sergius an honourable name ‘Lavra’. And already on 25 July 1744, Arsenius was ordained archbishop of the newly-created Pereslavl-Zalessky diocese and became a member of the Most Holy Synod. Besides, Arsenius retained the seat of the prior of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.

Жетон в память коронации Елизаветы Петровны


Saint-Petersburg mint, 1742. 

Gold; chasing.

The imperial crown is depicted on the obverse side in the shining coming from the cloud. There is an inscription along the circle: ‘GRACE FORM THE ALMIGHTY’. On the reverse side, there is an inscription in seven rows: ELIZAVETA/ EMPRESS/AND SOVEREIGN/ OF ALL RUSSIA/CROWNED/IN MOSCOW/1742. It was modelled on the counter produced for the coronation of Empress Anna Ioannovna, its obverse side entirely copies the earlier drawing. The counter came from the Archives in 1883.

Трон царя Михаила Федоровича


I.A. Sokolov. Russia, first half of the 1740s

Paper; copper plate engraving, etching.

The engraving with the image of the throne of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich was created by I.A. Sokolov for the coronation album of 1744 of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. During the coronation of Elizaveta Petrovna, this throne (called ‘armchairs’ in the 18th century) was under a canopy on a specially created stepped platform decorated with ruby-red velvet and gold lace in the centre of the Assumption Cathedral. The throne of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich, constructed in the early 17th century and preserved in the Moscow Kremlin Museums, was used in the coronation ceremonies of the Russian emperors throughout the 18th – 19th cc.  In the course of the coronations of Anna Ioannovna, Elizaveta Petrovna, Catherine II, the throne was placed in the Assumption Cathedral. In the 19th century, it was first put in the Assumption Cathedral for the ceremony of coronation and then transferred to the Faceted Chamber for the gala dinners.

Алмазный трон царя Алексея Михайловича


I.A. SokolovRussia, first half of the 1740s

Paper; copper plate engraving, etching.

The engraving with the image of the throne of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich was created by I.A. Sokolov for the coronation album of 1744 of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. She sat on this throne during the gala dinner in the Faceted Chamber after the coronation. In the right (eastern) part of the ancient Kremlin Palace, there was constructed a canopy of scarlet velvet with gold lace, tassels and fringe, and a plafond with the embroidered monogram of Empress. Under the canopy, there was arranged a throne, or a place covered with velvet and gold lace. The throne, brought for Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich by the Armenian merchants from Iran in 1660, was used during the coronation ceremonies in the Moscow Kremlin throughout the 18th-19th cc. In the 18th century in the course of coronations, the throne was in the Faceted Chamber, where the gala dinners were held after the enthronement ceremony. In the 19th century, it was first placed in the Assumption Cathedral and then, together with the other ancient thrones, transferred to the Faceted Chamber.