B. Gip, The Passions and Lechery of Catherine the Great, London, 1971
Of the many legends surrounding Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796) that relating to a supposed secret erotic cabinet is perhaps the best known. According to some sources, this was placed in the Empress's private apartments at Gatchina Palace, while according to others, the room was in one of the palaces of Tsarskoye Selo, in the outskirts of St Petersburg.
Two photographs exist supposedly representing the table - of which the present one is a faithful copy - and a chair from this eccentric suite of furniture; the photographs were taken by Wehrmacht soldiers in 1941. Soon after, the palaces were bombed, most of their contents - including, one might infer, the aforementioned pieces - destroyed in the ensuing fire.
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