Page 58. " he left me what would amount nowadays to a couple of million dollars and his country estate, with its white-pillared mansion on a green, escarped hill and its two thousand acres of wildwood and peatbog "
Creative Commons AttributionRozhdestveno - Credit: minerav
Public DomainRozhdestveno - Credit: Alexey Lavrov

Nabokov's memory has served him well. The Rozhdestveno estate is still there, perched on its escarpment above the St Petersburg-Luga highway and the Oredezh river, about fifty kilometres south of St Petersburg. It was the only house Nabokov was ever to own, and he lost it a year later in the Revolution. It was designed by the celebrated architect Francesco Rastrelli (1700-1771), who was responsible for many of St Petersburg finest monuments, including the Winter Palace,  and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoyoe Selo just outside the city.

The estate was near his mother's at Vyra (lovingly described in Nabokov's first novel of 1926, Mashenka or Mary), and his grandmother's at Batovo, which burned down in 1925.  Vyra was destroyed in WWII although some parts of the estate, including a few trees, remain.  The Rozhdestveno house became a state-run local history museum for a while, and then burnt down in 1995. (See Summary). It has since been restored and is now the Rozhdestveno Estate Museum. It can be visited on excursions organised by the Nabokov Museum in St Petersburg.

Page 60. " My mother's boudoir had a convenient oriel for looking out on the Morskaia in the direction of the Square Marie "
Nabokov House Museum
Public DomainNabokov House Museum - Credit: Alex Bakharev

The Nabokov family house (now a Nabokov Museum) was at 47, Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa. His mother's boudoir would have looked across the Moika river towards the Square Marie, probably the pre-Revolutionary name for the square where the Mariinsky Palace stands. The Palace (not to be confused with the nearby world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre) is nowadays the seat of the Legislative Assembly but it was built for the Grand Duchess Maria between 1839 and 1844.


Mariinsky Palace
Public DomainMariinsky Palace - Credit: Imperialista


Page 67. " From that corner of the house one could see Hesperus and hear the nightingales "
Creative Commons AttributionVenus. - Credit: R. Nunes
Hesperus is the evening star in Greek mythology, better known as the planet Venus.