Kazantsev Mansion

The art of building up


Everyone knows the asymmetrical building at 14 Volodarskogo Street

Tourists from all over the world come to see it, and every Irbit resident has visited it at least once, even if not everyone remembers this.
Thanks to its former owners – the Kazantsev merchant family – the building conveys a sense of hard work, an undertaking spirit and creativity.

How it all started

The history of this Irbit merchants’ dynasty started back in the 19th century

Its founder, Vasily Kazantsev, came from a family of icon painters who worked in Vladimir. Vasily specialized in shuttle trade. His son Vladimir, while failing to live up to his father’s merchant talent, excelled at building connections, which earned the family its fortune: as a young man, he fell in love with Pavla Cherkasova, who came from a noble family, and won her heart.
The young woman’s parents did not like the idea of this union but were helpless in the face of Vladimir’s natural charm and power of persuasion. In addition, he proved to be a responsible and reliable person capable of heading a family.

The Morozov dynasty

The Morozovs were major industrialists and among Russia’s wealthiest people at the turn of the 20th century. The clan’s patriarch, Savva Morozov, accomplished what seemed like an impossible feat by succeeding to buy himself and his sons out of serfdom. He started with a small textile factory and expanded his business to several plants by the end of his life, becoming a 1st Guild Merchant. He, his sons and grandchildren were famous art patrons and benefactors.
For several generations, the Morozov family invested generous amounts of money in education, healthcare, research and art.

This marriage gave his family a big fortune and connections

It did not take long for Kazantsev to become friends with the Morozovs. The prominent industrialists loaned him big sums of money which Kazantsev invested in his undertakings. Before long, he needed more than just the two shops his father left him and rented seven more in the shopping arcade, as well as another storefront near Sretenskaya Church.


Морозовы — одна из самых знаменитых династий предпринимателей, меценатов
и благотворителей России. Занимались текстилем.

United despite differences

Кузнецовский ФАРФОР

«Товарищество М.С. Кузнецова» было крупнейшим поставщиком фарфора не только в России (две трети всего производства в отрасли), но и во всём мире.

Vladimir’s sons, Vasily and Vladimir Jr., continued the family business

Vasily worked with the owners of big Moscow factories, while Vladimir focused on local trade and manufacturing.

Кузнецовский ФАРФОР

«Товарищество М.С. Кузнецова» было крупнейшим поставщиком фарфора не только в России (две трети всего производства в отрасли), но и во всём мире.
Представители купеческого рода Морозовых: Абрам Абрамович, Тимофей Саввич, Иван Захарович и Викула Елисеевич. Начало 1860-х годов.
Each had his own business strategy and tactics, complementing each other. In the 19th century, they were known as an affluent Irbit merchant family, which gave them an opportunity, if not an obligation, to build a home that would match their social status. Even here the two brothers went separate ways.

Kazantsev Mansion

Construction started in 1880 with Ivan Toropov, a well-known local architect, in charge of the project

By that time, Toropov already had a solid portfolio of past projects, including the city college, the boys’ and girls’ schools, and the entrance to the Irbitsky Passage.
In the mansion plans, the right wing was bigger than the left one. Designed for Vladimir Jr., it hosted the merchant’s library, office and a spacious reception room, as well as guest rooms for his long-time friends, the Kuznetsovs.
Vasily had the left wing, built a little later, between 1892 and 1894, by another prominent architect, civil engineer S. Kozlov, who had already worked with Ivan Toropov on several projects. Smaller than the right wing, the left part of the mansion nevertheless had enough space for reception rooms and guest rooms for visiting factory owners from Moscow.
House of Kazantsev merchants, nowadays

The family’s cultural footprint

Both brothers loved art and were proactive in supporting cultural undertakings in Irbit

Their mother, Pavla Cherkasova, taught the family to love painting and other kinds of art. Her husband, Vladimir Sr., and their sons often spent their time painting, and Vladimir Sr. collected paintings.
One day, he got his hands on Ivan Shishkin’s paintings, which he got from the painter’s son-in-law, Nikolai Stakheyev, a merchant from Tyumen. Having lost a fortune playing cards, Stakheyev was deep in debt. Vladimir Sr. bought his shop and home in Irbit with Shishkin’s paintings on the walls. One of them has remained in the city to this day. The Forest House is on display at the Irbit History and Ethnography Museum.
Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin, "A Small House in the Woods"

The Kazantsevs’ legacy

Like many other merchant families, the Kazantsevs lost everything during the 1917 revolution

After 1917, and to this day, one of the wings has hosted city government offices, while the other one became a maternity hospital, where until recently every new generation of Irbit residents was born.

The Urals Art Museum has since replaced the maternity hospital

Its collection includes works by painters from the Urals from the early 20th century to this day, such as works by Mikhail Brusilovsky, Vitaly Volovich, Alexei Kazantsev, German Metelev and others.


The Kazantsev Mansion remains a major city landmark, just like 150 years ago, with the same spirit of creativity and progress