Major Expansion of Faberge Museum in St Petersburg Announced

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The size of the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg will increase fourfold by 2020, the press service of the Glavgosexpertiza of Russia has announced in a press release issued on Wednesday 18th April. 

The release notes that the project includes the adaptation of the western wing of the Naryshkin-Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Embankment to the existing museum-exhibition complex. “The total area of ​​the western wing of the palace will increase from 686.5 to 2318.7 square meters, and take 24 months to complete,” the report said.

According to the project approved by Glavgosexpertiza, complex repairs, restoration and adaptation of premises for museum use will be carried out in the western wing of the building. Among other things, it is planned to rework the front courtyard and the facade of the transverse wing, which were destroyed during air strikes in 1942. The project will be funded by Viktor Vekselberg and his Link of Times Foundation. 

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The mansion on the Fontanka Embankment was originally built for Count Vorontsovs, and later home to the noble Shuvalov and Naryshkin families. It was in 1799 that the Naryshkins, significantly expanded the building. The palace became the center of the Saint Petersburg society, and its grand ballroom — also known as the Alexandrovsky or White Column Hall — played host to society balls of up to 1,000 people. In 1846 Sophia Naryshkina married Peter Shuvalov, at which time the western section of the palace was significantly enlarged. After 1918, the building housed the Museum of the Nobility life, design offices, the House of Press and the House of Friendship of Peoples.

In 2006, the building was recognized as a cultural monument of federal importance and leased to Viktor Vekselberg’s Link of Times Foundation. The businessman bought Imperial Easter eggs among other Faberge items from private collections, and in 2013, after a large-scale restoration in the palace, the Faberge Museum was opened. The museum’s collection contains more than 4,000 works of decorative applied and fine arts, including gold and silver items, paintings, porcelain and bronze. A highlight of the museum’s collection is the group of nine Imperial Easter eggs created by Faberge for the last two Russian emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II.

Click HERE to read more than 100 articles and news stories about Faberge – richly illustrated with beautiful colour photographs

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April 2018

Baroness von Rintelen donates personal items of Alexander II to Peterhof

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This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 14th April, a ceremonial transfer of memorial items from the collection of Baroness Clotilde von Rintelen, the great-great-granddaughter of the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, to the collection of the Peterhof State Museum-Preserve took place in the Farm Palace of the Alexandria Park. 

The Baroness brought a unique album Chasses dans la forte de Białowieźa (Hunting in Białowieźa Forest), which highlights one of the important events that took place during the reign of Emperor Alexander II – the royal hunt in Białowieźa Forest in October 1860.

Hunting in Białowieźa Forest, organized in October 1860 on the initiative of the Russian monarch, became an unofficial meeting of the heads of European states and was the beginning of the gradual withdrawal of the Russian Empire from the isolation in which it found itself after the Crimean War of 1853-1856. The Hungarian-Russian artist Mikhail Alexandrovich (Mihai) Zichy (in 1859, Zichy was appointed court painter and held this post until his death in 1906) was commissioned to create watercolours of Białowieźa Forest. Alexander II approved the watercolours, and ordered that an album be published. Only 50 copies of the album were published in Russian, and was intended exclusively as gifts for the participants of the hunt. But even more rare was the publication of a French album, issued specifically for diplomatic gifts.

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In addition to the album Chasses dans la forte de Białowieźa, a framed picture of Alexander II and a brass snuff-box were presented to the museum-preserve. According to the Baroness, the photograph of the emperor-liberator up to the last days adorned the bedside table of her grandmother, the daughter of A.S. Pushkin – Natalia Alexandrovna, later Countess von Merenberg (1836-1913). The brass snuff-box with a medallion image of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780).

According to the baroness, the memorial items “have finally returned home to Russia, where they will be studied, preserved and displayed.” Deputy Director General of the Peterhof State Museum Tamara Nikolaevna Nosovich, welcomed Clotilde von Rintelen and thanked her on behalf of all employees of the museum, noting that this is not her first gift to Peterhof. In 2005, to the 60th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Baroness gifted the museum with 60 specimens of ancient varieties of roses for the garden on Tsaritsyn Island, while another 15 rose bushes gifted for the garden of the Farm Palace in 2010. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 April 2018

The Romanovs. Love, Power & Tragedy – 25th Anniversary

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Romanovs: Love, Power & Tragedy, the first of Royalty Magazine’s (Leppi Publications) historic publishing collaborations.

The timing of it’s publication in 1993 was unprecedented. Combining the extraordinary source material with the highest production values and some of the finest and most beautiful photographic reproduction, The Romanovs, Love, Power & Tragedy was an immediate success, hailed as a unique work which brought the story of the last Tsar and his family to life as never before.

This coffee-table sized book tells the story of Russia’s last Imperial family through their private diaries and family photograph albums. It features 320 pages, and richly illustrated throughout with HUNDREDS of unique historic colour / black and white / and sepia photographs.

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A copy of the book is presented to HM Queen Elizabeth II in Moscow, October of 1994

The official presentation of The Romanovs, Love, Power & Tragedy (above) was made to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Moscow during her first visit to Russia in October of 1994. To Her Majesty’s left is President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, and (right) Royalty Magazine Founding Editor Bob Houston.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the hitherto unseen Romanov archives were opened and Royalty Magazine was given world exclusive access to the complete collection. It soon became clear that it was an historic moment – the Soviets were meticulous in their record keeping – and called for a project that would do justice to the historic photographs, letters and family albums kept hidden during seven decades of communist rule.

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Researching the Romanov archive was the first step in a project that took three years to complete. Working with the state archivists every photograph, letter and document was photographed and catalogued.

The book is divided into 14 chapters, each with a carefully researched article by Romanov experts and historians: four Russian and one German:

Alexander Bokhanov is a Professor of History, a specialist in 19th and 20th century Russian history. He is the author of more than 30 books and 200 articles. A graduate of Moscow University, he is a leading scientific researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he began to adhere to monarchical views. He was also the first historian in post-communist Russia to publish a series of books about the fate of Emperor Nicholas II, and has since become one of Russia’s leading experts on the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. In September 2013, Alexander Bokhanov suffered a double stroke, but after treatment, has returned to writing about Russian history.

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Alexander Nikolayevich Bokhanov

Zinaida Peregudova has worked in the State Archives of the Russian Federation since graduating from Moscow University in 1957. Head of the Archives’s Russian History Department, she has written numerous books and articles on Russian revolutionary movements in Tsarist Russia.

Lybov Tyutyunnik has worked at the State Archives since graduating from Moscow University in 1972. Currently she is Chief of Depository of its Personal Funds and Archival Collections; and author of several publications on political development in Tsarist Russia. 

Vladimir Oustimenko is a graduate of Kiev University, taught Marxim-Leninism in Moscow before taking a post-graduate course in the subject between 1988-90. Since 1990, he is the director of Stop-Kadr which organizes exhibitions of Russian and Soviet history.

Dr Manfred Knodt served as a pastor of the Lutheran City Church in Darmstadt and chaplain to the Grand Ducal family of Hesse. A specialist in Hessian ducal history and biographer of the last Grand Duke, Empress Alexandra’s brother Ernst Ludwig, he served as chaplain in German POW camps in Britain between 1945-48. He served as Chairman of the Hessian Family History Association from 1984-1995. He died on 29th October 1995.

An introduction is written by Professor of History and Director of the State Archives of the Russian Federation Dr Sergei V. Mironenko. The entire book has been beautifully translated into English by Lyudmila Xenofontova.

For many Romanovphiles and collectors – myself included – The Romanovs: Love, Power & Tragedy remains the classic title on the life of Russia’s last Tsar and Tsarina.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 April 2018

Collection of letters of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna donated to the All-Russian Museum of AS Pushkin

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Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960)

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 17th April 17 2018 at 16:00 in the Concert Hall, situated on the embankment on the Moika River, the solemn transfer of the collection of letters of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna from the family archive of Princess Nadezhda Vladimirovna Volkonskaya was presented as a gift to the All-Russian Museum of AS. Pushkin in St Petersburg.

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Director of the All-Russian Pushkin Museum Sergei Nekrasov, & Princess Nadezhda Volkonskaya

Several dozen letters of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna – were solemnly presented on Tuesday as a gift to the All-Russian Museum of AS. Pushkin in St. Petersburg.

“This archive is unique – it is not known to anyone, the letters have never been published any where, nor have they ever been translated into Russian. A total of 65 letters (in French) written by Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna and addressed to Madame Brizak from the 1920s to the 1930s during the emigration her exile in Denmark”, noted a museum spokesperson.

The owner of the archive is Princess Nadezhda Vladimirovna Volkonskaya, the great-granddaughter of Madame Brizak on her maternal side. Her great-grandmother was friends with Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, because both spoke excellent English. “I am very glad that I am giving these letters to the All-Russian Museum of AS. Pushkin. I planned to return them to my homeland, to Russia, for several years already. And now my soul is at peace,” said the princess.

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The correspondence of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and Madame Brizak was of a systemic nature and came to an end due to the demise of the latter. At first glance, the letters are personal: Olga Alexandrovna describes everyday life, writes with special tenderness about her children Tikhon and Guri, her beloved husband Nikolai, shares family joys and sorrows, and worries about her friends in Russia. However, the persons and events mentioned in them go beyond private, because they are connected with history, culture, public and political life – with the life of Russians in emigration. Among the characters of the letters are numerous relatives – members of the Russian Imperial family, Princess Margaret of Denmark, Countess Maria Vorontsova-Dashkova, King George V of Great Britain, as well as artists, musicians, literary publishers and theater figures. From the letter of the Grand Duchess of April 1920: “In the end, we had to leave our homeland. We absolutely could not live there anymore. But it was very painful to break away from what we loved all my life, so many friends remained. Here in Denmark you can calm down a bit …. Olga Kulikovskaya. The Palace of Marienburg. “

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Olga Aleksandrovna Kulikovskaya-Romanova was born on 13 June [O.S. 1 June] 1882, she was the youngest child of the Emperor Alexander III and the Empress Maria Feodorovna, as well as the younger sister of Emperor Nicholas II.

She became one of the few representatives of the Imperial family who managed to escape Bolshevik Russia after the 1917 revolution.

Soon after the coup she emigrated to Denmark, and later – to Canada, where she died on 24 November 1960. During the Second World War, she worked in the hospital as a sister of mercy, and also engaged in charity.

Madame Brizac (nee Emans), was born in London in 1865. In 1865, at the age of twenty, she came to Russia, right after her marriage with the son of the founder of the St. Petersburg couturier A. Brizak, the main designer and supplier to the Russian Imperial court. Among their clients were Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Emperor Alexander III, Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the wife of Emperor Nicholas II, and their four daughters. Madam Brizak was a talented fashion designer, she created such styles that later gave the memoirists a reason to mention that the female half of the family of Nicholas II dressed simply, but with taste. The first House of Haute Couture in Russia lasted about 50 years and was closed by the decree of Lenin in 1918.

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Evening dresses made for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, by St. Petersburg couturier House A. Brizak. 1900-1905

About the museum

According to the official website, the All-Russian Museum of Alexander Pushkin is the oldest Pushkin Museum in Russia and one of the largest literary and memorial museum complexes in Europe. It was the first museum dedicated to the poet, opening in the Imperial Alexander Lyceum on 19 October 1879.

In 1997, the President of the Russian Federation issued a decree recognizing the museum for its valuable collection of objects pertaining to Russia’s rich cultural heritage. Its collection totals more than 200 thousand items of iconographic, memorial, pictorial and historical materials, which reflect ​​Russian history and culture of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Click HERE to read a full-length article about the life and death of one of the most beloved and respected members of the Russian Imperial family. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 April 2018

Divine Liturgy performed on the Imperial cruiser ‘Aurora’ for the first time in 100 years

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Cruiser Aurora is now berthed at Petrogradskaya Embankment in St Petersburg

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 15th April 2018, an historic event took place on the cruiser Aurora, where a Divine Liturgy was perfomed in the ship’s church for the first time in 100 years.

The head of the service was the rector of the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in St. Petersburg, the head of the Commission of the Public Chamber of Russia for Charity, Protopriest Alexander Tkachenko. Taking part in the Divine Liturgy were the pupils of the Nakhimov Naval School, as well members of the ship’s crew and command.

According to Father Alexander, liturgies in the cruiser Aurora church will continue to be held in the historic cruiser of the Imperial Russian Navy on a regular basis.

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Protopriest Alexander Tkachenko

“These people have a strong Christian Orthodox world view, and they came to the service, because prayer to God is an important part of their inner spiritual life,” Father Alexander noted on the day of the service.

“This, of course, is not a parish church, and thus not open to local residents. This is a church, which is on board a combat ship of the Baltic Fleet. Members of the ship’s crew and command, as well as students of the Nakhimov Naval School, will take part in the services,” explained the priest.

According to Father Alexander Tkachenko, the Divine Liturgy was an act of historical reconciliation, since it is the Aurora, “was associated with the beginning of the revolution and the beginning of the terrible era of our country.”

“During the Liturgy, a prayer of commemoration was held for all – including those who were on the side of the Reds, and those who were on the side of Whites, and those who saw the future of the country in the continuation of the old order, and those who wanted to change the system. Probably, for Orthodox people this is an act of historical reconciliation of people of different views and different classes,” the priest concluded.

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Early 20th century watercolour depicting Divine Liturgy in the cruiser Aurora church

The cruiser Aurora was constructed at the Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg, and launched on 11 May 1900, commissioned on 29 July 1903.  She served during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), and survived the Battle of Tsushima (27–28 May 1905). During the battle her captain, Captain 1st rank Eugene R. Yegoryev (1854-1905), and 14 crewmen were killed. The Aurora managed to reach neutral Manila, Philippines, where she was interned under US protection from 6 June 1905 until the end of the war. In 1906 Aurora returned to the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Imperial Navy and became a cadet training ship. From 1906 until 1912 the cruiser visited a number of other countries; in November 1911 she was in Bangkok as part of the celebrations in honour of the coronation of the new King of Siam, Rama VI (1880-1925). 

During the First World War Aurora operated in the Baltic Sea. At the end of 1916, she was moved to Petrograd for a major repair. The city was brimming with revolutionary ferment and part of her crew joined the 1917 February Revolution.

The ship’s commanding officer, Captain Mikhail Nikolsky, was killed when he tried to suppress the revolt. A revolutionary committee was created on the ship, with Aleksandr Belyshev elected as captain. Most of the crew joined the Bolsheviks,, who were preparing for a Communist revolution.

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Cruiser Aurora 1909-1910

At 9.40pm on 7th November (O.S. 25th October) 1917, a blank shot from her forecastle gun signaled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace, which was to be the beginning of the October Revolution. In the summer 1918, she was relocated to Kronstadt and placed into reserve.

During the Second World War, the guns were taken from the ship and used in the land defence of Leningrad. The ship herself was docked in Oranienbaum port, and was repeatedly shelled and bombed. On 30 September 1941 she was damaged and sunk in the harbour.

After extensive repairs from 1945 to 1947, Aurora was permanently anchored on the Neva in Leningrad as a monument to the Great October Socialist Revolution. In 1957 she became a museum-ship. 

Having long served as a museum ship, from 1984 to 1987 the cruiser was once again placed in her construction yard, the Admiralty Shipyard, for capital restoration. During the restoration revealed that some of the ship parts, including the armour plates, were originally made in Britain.

Aurora is the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy, still flying the naval ensign under which she was commissioned, but now under the care of the Central Naval Museum. She is still manned by an active service crew commanded by a Captain of the 1st Rank.

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The cruiser Aurora docked in Kronstadt for overhauling in 2014

In January 2013 Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu announced plans to recommission Aurora and make her the flagship of the Russian Navy due to her historical and cultural importance. On 21 September 2014 the ship was towed to the Admiralty Shipyard in Kronstadt to be overhauled, to return in 2016.

On 16 July 2016 she returned to her home harbour in Saint Petersburg. Unlike the Soviet years when the ship was used for propaganda purposes, the newly restored Aurora will be the venue of a new historical exposition, which will open late in July. It will include nine rooms devoted to the cruiser’s participation in three wars – the 1904-1905 Russian-Japanese war; the First World War and WWII.

Click HERE to watch a VIDEO of the legendary Imperial Russian Cruiser Aurora being towed to Kronstadt for repairs on 21 September 2014.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 April 2018

Round-Table Forum on Nicholas II Held in Moscow

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Konstantin Malofeev (second from left), chairman of the Double-headed Eagle Society

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

The context of the important dates of the country’s history, related to the last Russian Sovereign Nicholas II, can not but influence the development of the country.

That is why a fair interpretation of the events connected with the downfall of the Russian Empire and its last sovereign contributes to a more intensive spiritual and political development of the country. 

In 2018, Russia marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s last emperor and tsar Nicholas II, and the 100th anniversary of the massacre of members of the Imperial family.

The act of villainous execution, of course, requires additional comprehension and discussion by historians, politicians, journalists and public figures. 

This was guided by the Double-Headed Eagle Society and the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, who held a joint round table forum in Moscow on 11th April 2018: “Nicholas II: to the 150th Anniversary of his Birth and the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre.”

The event, organized by the Double-Headed Eagle Society, with the assistance of the Public Chamber, included representatives from Moscow, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, and  Stavropol.

The Terek Cossack Host was represented at the forum, as well as the Union of Cossacks of the Warriors of Russia and Abroad (SKVRZ). The round table was moderated by Konstantin Malofeev, chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society.

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Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow

The round table was opened by the welcoming speech of Alexander Tkachenko, Chairman of the Commission on Philanthropy, Civic Education and Social Responsibility of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

This was followed by the welcome speech of the member of the Commission on charity, civic education and social responsibility of the Society S. Rudov.

The first report “Emperor Nicholas II and his influence on the historical and political processes in the world” was made by the chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Konstantin Malofeev.

This was followed by “Preserving the historical memory of the Imperial family: the experience of cooperation of state, church and social organizations”, presented by Anna Gromova, candidate of historical sciences, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Elisavetinsky-Sergievsky Educational Society.

Then the floor was given to Alexander Zakatov, the director of the office of the Head of the Russian Imperial HouseHe made a presentation on the topic “Orthodox veneration of St. Emperor Nicholas II and his family and the legal protection of their memory in modern conditions.”

Deputy editor-in-chief of the Tsargrad television channel, Mikhail Smolin, Ph.D. in History, gave a detailed account of the influence of monarchical consciousness on Russian statehood. In his report, attention was focused on the advantages of a monarchic system of government.

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Lavrov made a presentation on “The reign of Nicholas II and the present: what remains relevant?”

And the next Russian historian and writer Konstantin Kapkov spoke about the spiritual world of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, while candidate of historical sciences, presenter of the television channel “Tsargrad” Pyotr Multatuli spoke on “Emperor Nicholas II. Tragedy of the Unaccounted Autocrat.”

The final report at the round table was made by Alexander Muzafarov, director of information and analytical programs of the Fund for Historical Perspective. He drew the attention of the forum participants to the nature of the last emperor and spoke about the need to further study the personality of Nicholas II .

The free discussion was attended by Evgeny Tsybizov , the head of the Novosibirsk regional branch of the Double-headed Eagle Society, Filip Mosvitin, Honored Artist of Russia , the co-chairman of the International Ilyinsky Committee, the writer A. Sharipov and several other participants.

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Delegates at the round-table forum on Nicholas II held on 11th April in Moscow

In the near future, the Double-Headed Eagle Society will present the public with a resolution of the round table forum, for the preparation of which a special editorial group will be created. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 April 2018

Historic mansions in Moscow open their doors for visitors

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Moscow mansion of General Alexey Petrovich Yermolov

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On the International Day of Culture (15th April), 150 historic buildings of Moscow opened their doors to the public. Among them, the mansion located at Ulitsa Prechistenka 20, the former residence of General Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov (1777-1861), which today houses the Main Department for Servicing the Diplomatic Corps (GlavUpDK) under the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Given that it is a government building, it is not open to visitors, but for Irina Razumovskaya (see video link at bottom of this article) they made an exception.

The mansion was built in the late 18th century by the Russian architect Matvey Feodorovich Kazakov (1738-1812), for Dr. Justus Christian Loder (1753-1812). Kazakov is famous for rebuilding the center of Moscow in the Palladian style during the reign of the Empress Catherine II.

In 1812, the house was badly damaged by fire. In its place the present two-story building was constructed. After the Patriotic War of 1812, the owner mansion was Countess Orlova (1741-1817). 

General Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov acquired the mansion in 1851. He collected a rich library in the house. The hero of the Great Patriotic War of 1812 lived in the mansion for 10 years until his death, in 1861. 

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Portrait of General Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov by Pyotr Zakharov-Chechenets (1843)

After Yermolov’s death, the mansion was acquired by Vladimir Dmitrievich Konshin (1824-1915), a nobleman, businessman, and Merchant of the 1st Guild. The new owner made a number of changes to the interior of the mansion: Yermolov’s library was lost, while the house acquired modern features of rococo and baroque, the facade was decorated with a rich decor with images of double-headed eagles, griffins, lion’s heads, oak and laurel branches. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the mansion acquired by the family of the Russian millionaire industrialist Alexei Konstantinovich Ushkov (1879-1948). who had the building completely redone and became one of the most luxurious in the city, however the mansion lost many of its classic features. 

For his beloved wife, the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater Alexandra Mikhailovna Balashova (1887-1979), Ushkov built a mirrored hall for her classes. He also rooms designed in Pompeian, Roman and Moorish styles. The decoration of one of them was found by accident during the restoration of the building in the late 1990’s.

“There was an office space in the former mansion, all the walls were white. The ceiling was covered with boards and also painted white. Here four people worked, suddenly a lamp falls from the ceiling. After removal of the boards, we were surprised to discover a dome,” said Georgy Orlov, chief architect of GlavUpDK.

They also discovered a box in the hidden dome, which contained details of hidden oriental decor. Experts have established the author of this decoration – the famous architect Fyodor Osipovich Shekhtel (1859-1926). The doors here also concealed a secret. Before discarding the doors, the workers decided to sand them.  

“There were 20 layers of mastic. It was discovered, that hidden underneath these layers was gilding, and it became clear that the doors must be preserved and restored, “he added.

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Early 20th century photo of the Yermolov Mansion located at Ulitsa Prechistenka 20, Moscow

As noted above, the Main Department for Servicing the Diplomatic Corps of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently housed in the former Yermolov mansion. The department has in its charge – 150 mansions, many of which are monuments of architecture.

“Due to the fact that the embassies were located in many of them, they suffered the least damage during the Soviet period, but our organization is doing a great job of preserving these buildings, returning their historical appearance,” said Svetlana Chumikova, director of the Public Relations Department at GlavUpDK.

In 1917, the owner of the mansion on Ulitsa Prechistenka Alexei Ushkov emigrated with his wife to Paris. And from there came the new mistress of the house, the American dancer Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), who arranged a choreographic studio in the house.  

In this hall, where the most important diplomatic negotiations with the ambassadors of different countries are today, Duncan once taught the free dance to her pupils. In 1921, she was invited to live in Moscow, where the Soviet authorities gave her this mansion.

Isadora Duncan lived here with their husband the poet Sergei Yesenin, until their divorce in 1924. The building was passed to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs in the 1930s, who preserved many of the mansions historic interiors and elements.

Click HERE to watch a video of a tour of the Yermolov Mansion, as it looks today.

Restored “Elizabethan” chandeliers returned to the Chesme Hall in the Great Palace at Peterhof

This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 9th April, the eve of the new summer tourist season at Peterhof, two crystal chandeliers were returned from the restoration laboratories to the Chesme Hall of the Great Peterhof Palace. These chandeliers, made in France in the 18th century, according to the researchers, appeared in the Chesme Hall in the 1770s when the Great Peterhof Palace was redesigned during the reign of the Empress Catherine II.

For two centuries, the chandeliers adorned the Chesme Hall. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), they were evacuated to Sarapul (1800 km east of Leningrad). In 1975, 26 years after the re-creation of the Chesme Hall, the chandeliers were restored to the historic hall. The current restoration is the first since the war.

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The Chesme Hall as it looked before the Great Patriotic War (1941-45)

During the restoration, the chandeliers were inspected for wear and tear: the loose parts were strengthened, bronze was partially restored in places by soldering. According to the available samples, experts were able to produce lost suspensions, as well as glass parts – bottles and rod parts. In addition, the obsolete electrical wiring was replaced.

The chandeliers of the Chesme Hall refer to the “Elizabethan” style named after the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in whose era they originally appeared. They are distinguished by a special design consisting of many crystal pendants of various shapes and sizes, their numbers almost completely hiding the core of the chandelier. The glass of the chandeliers in the Chesme Hall has an uncharacteristic lilac hue due to the fact that in the 18th century, manganese was added to it. Such chandeliers adorn the famous Mirror Hall in the Palace of Versailles, France and the interiors of palace in Sanssouci and Potsdam in Germany. 

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The beautifully restored “Elizabethian” chandeliers once again hang in the Chesme Hall 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 April 2018

This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia

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Emperor Nicholas II and his family – Holy Royal Martyrs

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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page – now, with more than 141,000 followers from around the world!

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 14 April 2018:

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ARTICLES – click on the red headline text below to read the respective articles

The cathedral ensemble at Ostashkov: Jewel on Lake Seliger + 10 Colour Photos!

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield writes in RBTH, writes about two remarkable stone churches which illustrate pre-revolutionary style.

St. Anastasia of Kiev

St. Anastasia of Kiev, a Russian Grand Duchess (Alexandra Petrovna) and later a nun, is liturgically commemorated every year on Bright Thursday, and today, April 13, is the anniversary of her blessed repose. Sergei Shumilo writes in Pravoslavie.ru

10 masterpieces of Art Nouveau architecture in Russia

Buildings from this great architectural period can be found throughout Russia, from St. Petersburg and Moscow to Vladivostok. Irina Osipova writes in RBTH.

Collecting Guide: 15 things you need to know about Fabergé + 22 Colour Photos!

Russian art specialist Helen Culver Smith takes us on a guided tour of the legendary jewellery house, looking at everything from the iconic imperial eggs to its jewellery, flowers, figurines and snuff-boxes, and the distinct styles of its various branches and workmasters

Tiny ornamental flower kept under bed is valued at £1MILLION on Antiques Roadshow

The tiny object which owner thought was worth £50,000 – and was kept under a soldier’s bed for years – has been valued at seven figures.

Major Exhibition on Catherine the Great Opens in Zagreb This Week

An exhibition ‘Catherine the Great, Empress of All Russia’ opens on Thursday, 12th April, in Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb, Croatia, featuring more than 1,000 items.

Collection Of Imperial Russian Porcelains Leads $1,193,000 Sale At US Auction

A two-day sale, April 7–8, at Northeast Auctions featured a collection of glass, porcelain, and drawings, owned by the Russian Imperial family.

Treasures From the Peterhof State Museum Reserve Exhibited in Beijing

A new exhibition titled the Story of the Peterhof Palace Treasures, featuring 243 items and giving a peek into the lives of Russia’s old elite has opened at China Millennium Monument and runs until June 10.

Just for fun . . . Customised iPhones Styled like Fabergé Eggs

Russian company Caviar have created a new, ultra-lavish range of religious-themed customised iPhones which have been designed in the style of Fabergé eggs.

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Emperor Nicholas II inspects members of the Caucasian Native Cavalry Division or ‘Savage Division’, a cavalry division of the Imperial Russian Army.

In accordance with the order of Emperor Nicholas II on the creation of the Caucasian Native Cavalry Division of August 23, 1914, the division consisted of the administration and three brigades of two Caucasian indigenous cavalry regiments (each in 4 squadrons ).

It was composed of volunteers from Chechnya, Ingushetia, Karachay, Circassia, Kabarda, Azerbaijan, Dagestan and some from Ossetia, Armenia and Georgia.

It took part in World War I, under the command of the Emperor’s brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich.

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The Emperor’s Family: The Museum of Holy Royal Passion-Bearers Opens in Moscow

On April 10th, the Museum of Holy Royal Martyrs opened in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow. The permanent exhibit Family of the Emperor includes personal items, historical relics, photographs and other exhibits which reflect the life of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Many exhibits are presented to visitors for the very first time.

“There are a lot of personal items here of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family, including an icon, a napkin, photographs, and more. Not only are they historical artifacts, they have a cardinal value for Orthodox people, like any object of a loved one who has left us” – said Konstantin Kapkov.

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Konstantin Kapkov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

The exposition features items from the private collection of the famous Moscow artist-restorer Alexander Vasilyevich Renzhin, who over the past few decades has reverently collected everything connected with the memory of Nicholas II, his family and his ancestors. Renzhin is a collector, artist, icon painter, art historian, researcher, restorer, and an expert of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in the field of paintings and church art. He is the Founder and head of the icon painting workshops Kupina (1987) and Kanon (since 1995).

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Vladimir Lavrov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Doctor of Historical Sciences, and member of the Council of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Vladimir Lavrov notes:

“The year marking the 100th anniversary of the murder of the last Tsar and his family should be a year of historical memory. We must live it with honour, and it is very important that a center, a museum of spiritual and moral education, centered on the fate and reign of Nicholas II, be created. It is of great importance that the museum be Russian, Orthodox, and in Moscow … “

As a convinced monarchist, the creator of the exposition is convinced that this year will be the beginning of the revival of the historical form of government in Russia. Just as it happened in 1613 after the feat of the national hero Ivan Susanin. The feat, glorified in Mikhail Glinka’s opera Life for the Tsar, which sounded, including, at the last coronation in 1896. 

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Alexander Renzhin. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Alexander Renzhin shared with his aspirations about Russia’s future with Russian television network Tsargrad:

“We placed Glinka’s score with in our exposition, and in front of it sits a double-lamp, which was specially made for the coronation of the Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, held in Moscow in May 1896. But now the lamp lies unlit. But it is my hope, that in Russian patriotic circles, we will find opportunities to revive not only Orthodoxy in it’s highest form during the era of Nicholas II, but we will revive autocracy and relight this lamp!”

The permanent exhibition Family of the Emperor is open daily, except Monday, in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 April 2018