Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

From autumn 2000 it is planned to devote a suite of rooms to a series of rotating exhibitions from the St Petersburg museum, where only five per cent of the 3 million items in the collections can be put on public display.

The scheme, which will help generate financial support for Russia’s greatest but cash-starved museum, has been developed by the Hermitage’s director Professor Mikhail Piotrovski and Lord Rothschild of the Somerset House Trust.

Writer Geraldine Norman, who recently completed a history of the Hermitage, has been appointed director-designate of the project.

The opening of the Hermitage Rooms will follow the long-awaited uveiling of the Gilbert Collection of gold, silver and micromosaics next May. Both collections will be displayed in the South Building at Somerset House, beside the River Thames. The Courtauld Institute of Art has been housed in the North Building since 1990.

A similar space for display of travelling Hermitage exhibitions is planned for Amsterdam but the building will not be ready for five years.