The Linen Factory Estate is one of the most famous museums in the Kaluga region. For two centuries, the estate belonged to the Goncharovs, Natalia Goncharova spent her childhood here, who in 1830 married the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. 

The Linen Factory estate is located 35 kilometers north of Kaluga. During the WWII, it was destroyed greatly, but since Pushkin visited this place twice, and his wife lived here, in the 1990s the Linen Factory was completely restored, and a Pushkin Museum was created in the main Manor House.  In 2018, the Buzeon Paper Museum was opened in the production shop, which is attached to the main Manor house.

It is necessary to allocate most of the day to visit the Linen Factory estate, since the territory of the museum and park complex is huge. First, visit the exposition in the Manor House, here you will see the history of the Goncharov family, as well as the Museum of Pushkin and his wife Natalia Goncharova. Then go to the Buseon Paper Museum. There you will get acquainted with the history of the appearance of paper, as well as with the production of paper in the Linen Factory since the beginning of the 18th century. After that, go for a walk in the English Landscape Park.   

The history of the Goncharov family 

The Sailing and Linen factory on the bank of the Sukhodrev River in Kaluga province was founded by merchant Timofey Karamyshev in 1718. In January 1732, merchants Afanasy Goncharov and Timofey Shchepochkin became his partners. A year later Karamyshev died. Goncharov`s capital was 3 times higher than Shchepochkin`s capital, and soon the partners divided the Factory. Goncharov laid out a manor here and began to actively develop production.  

Goncharov was doing very well. A third of the sailing canvas of Russia was produced at the Goncharov Linen Factory, and it was also exported in large volumes to Europe. Sailors highly appreciated Goncharov`s canvas, and the paper was recognized as the best in Russia. In 1742, Empress Elizabeth granted Afanasy Goncharov the rank of collegiate assessor and the hereditary nobility. In 1775, Empress Catherine II wanted to personally visit the Linen Factory to see it with her own eyes. 

The huge manor house was built in the 1730s. At first it had two floors, but by the end of the 18th century another floor was added and the facades were rebuilt in the classical style. By its size, the Linen Factory was one of the largest noble estates in Russia. 

In 1788, Afanasy Abramovich Goncharov died and his son Nikolai Afanasievich inherited his business. He outlived his father by only 1 year, and his son Afanasy Nikolaevich inherited the business. However, Afanasy Nikolaevich, the third of the Goncharov family, having accepted a prosperous enterprise, managed it very poorly, which by the 1830s led to bankruptcy. But this was preceded by events related to the marriage of his son to Natalia Zagryazhskaya, and then the marriage of Alexander Pushkin to their daughter Natalia Goncharova. 

The marriage of Nikolai Goncharov to Natalia Zagryazhskaya 

In 1807, the wedding of Natalia Ivanovna Zagryazhskaya and Nikolai Goncharov, the son of Afanasy Nikolaevich, the sole heir of the Linen Factory, took place in the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg. More details about the circumstances of this marriage can be found at the link: The Goncharov Estate in Yaropolets. After the wedding, the young people came to the Linen Factory and started living together here. 

In the Linen Factory, the Goncharovs had 7 children. They were born almost every year in the period from 1809 to 1818. Daughter Natalia Goncharova was born on August 27, 1812 in Tambov province, in the estate of Karian. At this time, the war with Napoleon began, and the Goncharovs sent their family to a distant estate. In October 1812, the Russian army was disposition in the vicinity of the Linen Factory, and Kutuzov`s headquarters was located in the main Manor house.  

In 1811, Afanasy Goncharov went to Europe for a long time, where he thoughtlessly spent money, and also lost huge sums at cards. His son, Nikolai Goncharov, began to manage the Linen Factory and achieved great success, increasing the wealth of the family. However, in 1814, Afanasy Goncharov returned from Europe and removed his son from the management of the estate. He was very offended, began to fall into melancholy, and became addicted to alcohol. In 1814, Nicholas fell from his horse and hit his head hard. As a result, due to alcohol and a head injury, he went crazy.  

Afanasy Goncharov had a passion for card games, in addition, after the birth of seven children, his son`s family expenses increased. As a result, having accepted a fortune of 6 million rubles from his father, Afanasy Goncharov squandered it all and, dying in 1832, left his children a debt of one and a half million rubles. They then restored the business for a long time. 

Alexander Pushkin in the estate Linen Factory 

Alexander Pushkin first saw Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova in December 1828 at the ball of the dance master Yogel. He fell in love with her and decided to woo her right away. In 1829, Pushkin, through Fyodor Tolstoy, sent a letter to her mother, Natalia Ivanovna Goncharova, asking for her daughter`s hand in marriage. The answer was vague, although there was no refusal. Natalia was 16 years old at the time, and Pushkin was 30 years old. Her mother said she was too young to be married.  

She hoped that her beautiful daughter would have other suitors and decided to wait. Upset, Pushkin left for the Caucasus, but returned a year later and in 1830 again asked for the hand of Natalia Goncharova. Since there were no other suitors, the mother agreed to the marriage. However, conflict situations between Pushkin and his future mother-in-law appeared already at the stage of matchmaking. The situation was complicated by the actual bankruptcy of the Goncharovs by the 1830s. 

Natalia Goncharova had no dowry. Father Nikolai Goncharov had already gone mad by that time. Mother managed the Factory as best she could. For the first time, Alexander Pushkin visited the Linen Factory Estate in May 1830, a month after receiving consent to the marriage. He came to her grandfather Afanasy Nikolaevich to solve the issue of the dowry. Although he received him cordially, he began to invent various stories where to get money. It was obvious to Pushkin that he did not want to give his granddaughter a dowry. 

However, despite these difficulties, the lovers had a great time here. They walked in the park, Pushkin dedicated epigrams to some oaks that have survived to this day. There is also a history of how two locals came to Pushkin on foot from Kaluga to see the great poet in person.  

The first visit to the Linen Factory and negotiations on the dowry turned out to be fruitless. As a result, Pushkin decided to lay the village of Kistenevka in his father`s estate Bolshoe Boldino and gave his future mother-in-law 11 thousand rubles to borrow to buy a dowry. She never returned the money to him afterwards.  

Afanasy Goncharov died in 1832, and his son Nikolai Goncharov was finally recognized as insane and isolated from society. As a result, the estate of the Linen Factory was inherited by Dmitry Goncharov, the eldest in the male line. 

Alexander Pushkin came to the Linen Factory estate for the second time on August 21, 1834. Then he was already married to Natalia Goncharova. For financial reasons, as well as due to illness after a miscarriage, his wife decided to spend the summer at her native estate, and Pushkin was forced to stay in St. Petersburg at the court. At that time, he was actively working in the archives on his poem about Emelyan Pugachev.  

Arriving at the estate, Alexander Pushkin rested here for several weeks with his wife. In the library, Pushkin chose 69 books and 23 manuscripts for himself, which he then took to St. Petersburg. Since then, Pushkin has not come here once, but he constantly ordered paper from the Linen Factory, which he needed a lot. 

Natalia Goncharova`s father lived a long life and died in 1861 at the age of 74, but all this time he remained crazy, although he no longer experienced fits of violence. Natalia Goncharova, after the death of Alexander Pushkin, spent two years in seclusion in her native estate of the Linen Factory. She was only 25 years old at the time. They lived with Pushkin for 6 years, and they had four children. 

6 years after the poet`s death, in 1844, she married Lieutenant General Peter Petrovich Lansky. He accepted Goncharova`s children as his own. They also had two children together. Natalia Goncharova lived for another 16 years, until 1863, and died of pneumonia. She is buried in the Necropolis of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg. 

Photo Gallery
View All (26)
The Goncharov manor house in the Linen Factory was one of the largest among the noble estates of Russia
Panorama of the Linen factory of the 19th century, reconstruction by A.Kondratiev, in the Estate of the Linen Factory
Paper with protective signs, which was produced at the Linen Factory, in the Buzeon Paper Museum
Pushkin Alley with a length of more than 700 meters in the English Landscape Park in the Estate Linen Factory
The forked Oak Lyre of 1797 in the English park of the Estate Linen Factory, where A.Pushkin walked with his bride
Monument to Alexander Pushkin, installed in the English Landscape Park in the 1960s
Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (1741) in the Estate Linen Factory
The bank of the Sukhodrev River near the Main Manor House in the Linen Factory
Alleys in the English Landscape Park in the Estate Linen Factory during the golden autumn
The Buzeon Paper Museum is located in an 18th century factory shop near the Manor House in the Linen Factory
A mill for the preparation of paper raw materials in the Buzeon Paper Museum in the Estate Linen Factory
Portrait of Natalia Ivanovna Goncharova-Zagryazhskaya during her marriage with Nikolai Goncharov
Portrait of Nikolai Goncharov in 1807 during his marriage to Natalia Zagryazhskaya at the Linen Factory Estate
View of the Sukhodrev River from the Milovida Pavilion in the English Park at the Linen Factory Estate
Oak in the English Park of the estate Linen Factory, named the Fountain of Love, the Fountain of Life
Kutuzov oak, which is more than 200 years old. A stone is set near it in memory of the position of the Russian army in 1812
The gates of the Horse Yard in the English Park of the Estate Linen Factory
Spassky Gate - the main entrance to the Estate Linen Factory
The exposition of the Buzeon Paper Museum is located in the workshop of the 18th century in the Estate Linen Factory
The prototype of the paper-making machine is in the Buzeon Paper Museum, it is in the Linen Factory Estate.
Various types of paper made from various raw materials, in the Museum of Paper Buzeon in the estate Linen Factory
The Goncharovs manor house in the Linen Factory was built in the 1730s
At the end of the 18th century, the exterior decor of the Goncharov Manor House in the Linen Factory was made in the style of classicism
Oak staircase leading to the second floor, where the Goncharov Museum is located, in the Manor house of the Linen Factory
A large living room in the Goncharov Manor House in the Linen Factory
The hostess`s room in the Goncharov Manor House in the Linen Factory