Decorated Objects Made of Leather and Cloth


Torzhok is among the oldest settlements in central Russia. Referred to in written sources as early as 1139, it is situated on the Tvertsa River some 60 kilometers to the west of Tver. Its favorable location made it a place of active commerce (the name “Torzhok” comes from the word for trading site). After the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Torzhok saw a revival of its fortunes, as the town became a major transfer point for supplies moving to the new imperial capital. By the turn of the 19th century, Torzhok had became a prosperous center of provincial Russian culture, with a number of artisans engaged in occupations such as gold embroidery—a craft that continues in Torzhok to this day. Seen here are three small containers with leather surfaces decorated with appliqué and gold embroidery. This 1910 photograph was taken in the Gold Embroidery Workshops. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Декоративные предметы, сделанные из кожи и ткани

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: July 9, 2015