Prior to the Revolution of 1917, Russia had one of the greatest traditions of private art collecting in the world. The first great collections were created by the aristocracy, and then by the newly rich industrialists and businessmen in the 19th century. Finally came the 'Merchant Princes', who were among the first and most important collectors of Impressionist and Modern Art. After 1917, all these collections were confiscated by the State, put into reserves in Moscow and Leningrad, and eventually integrated into the collections of the State Hermitage, the Tretiakov Museum, the Pushkin Museum and other institutions. This beautiful, all-colour book recreates the collections as they were, describes how they were made and by whom, and offers not only stunning photographs of the great treasures themselves, but portraits of the owners, illustrations of the exteriors and interiors of their palaces as they were when the collections were in situ. Superb images of the cream of each collection follows each one's history.