theodorealexander. com It is commonly acknowledged that the Golden Age of Russian art and patronage was achieved during the reign of Catherine the Great in the second half of the 18th century. Politically astute and an avid writer she made Russia the cultural envy of Europe's courts, employing the most avant-garde artists and architects of the day to decorate, build and furnish the lavish palaces of the Imperial Romanov Court. Russia's royal and aristocratic elite enjoyed probably the most exclusive and luxurious lifestyle in all of Europe. Empress Catherine referred to the palace adjoining the Winter Palace, designed especially for art collections, as " my hermitage" - her refuge from the world. The Winter Palace together with Catherine's Hermitage forms part of the complex of palaces now known as The State Hermitage Museum. Built by the Italian artist Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Palace was conceived as the winter residence of the Russian Tsars and became under Catherine a powerhouse of both politics and culture. The palace, set in the Imperial capital of St. Petersburg was a statement of Russian power, the grand courtyards and imposing façade were to intimidate and impress, the walls creating a sanctuary for some of the world's greatest treasures. USING FINE MATERIALS AND TRADITIONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP ON EACH INDIVIDUAL PIECE, THEODORE ALEXANDER HAS BECOME EMINENT IN ITS FIELD - RENOWNED AS A UNIQUE BRAND EMBODYING QUALITY IN DESIGN.