This is a well written and interesting book. Any biography you read on Catherine the Great will mention her art collecting and building. This is the first book to look at that collecting in conjunction with other events of her reign. Its also not only Catherine's story of how she put together one of the best art collections in Europe but also about the rise and fall of other major European collectors in the 18th century.
You will learn a lot about the overreach of aristocrats and noble families and the sale of amazing treasures as Catherine went from sitting precariously on her throne to a collector to be feared. A lot of research has gone into this book and it will be valuable for anyone who wants to know the context of Russian art acquisitions during Catherine's reign. It also gives an overview of how those same artworks were treated in subsequent reigns and the dispersal of key art works during the Russian revolution.