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