Thursday, 15 February 2018

Empress Alexandra’s Glass Cabinet of Fabergé in the Winter Palace

Empress Alexandra displayed her Fabergé Easter Eggs and other precious objects [i.e. crystal vases on the third shelf] in a glass cabinet. It was located in her Study [185] by the door to her Bedroom [184].

Photograph (below) of Nicholas II standing in front of the glass cabinet visible in the right corner
After the February 1917 revolution all the gold, silver and Fabergé objects were removed from the rooms of the emperor and empress and sent to Moscow.

Photograph (below) of the same view of the Study in November 1917 [note the double doors between the rooms]
Photograph (below) of the Study today

Monday, 12 February 2018

Baron von Derviz Mansion - Fabergé Exhibition - in St. Petersburg

On Thursday March 7th 1902 Empress Alexandra and her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth ‘went to organize a charity bazaar of Fabergé objects belonging to members of the family’. The exhibition opened the following Saturday in the von Derviz mansion on the English Embankment located near the Winter Palace.

Photograph (below) of the von Derviz mansion today

Photograph (below) of the English Embankment c1900 with the Winter Palace on the far left

Plans and photograph of the Salon (below) of the von Derviz mansion c1898

Photographs (below) of the Fabergé Exhibition on March 9th 1902

In 1903 the mansion was sold to Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich, the son of Grand Duke Vladimir and Maria Pavlovna.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Empress Alexandra’s Study in the Winter Palace – Then and Now

The architect Alexander Krasovsky reconstructed the Study [185] on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace for Empress Alexandra in 1895.

Photographs (below) of the Study today

In February 1899 Alexandra and her daughters Olga and Tatiana were sick. Nicholas II noted in his diary on Tuesday February 16th that ‘Alix at last got up and sat on the divan in the yellow room’. The following Monday the 22ndthe daughters were allowed to come upstairs to our quarters’.

Photographs (below) of the Study c1899

Photographs (below) of Nicholas II sitting in the ‘cozy corner’ with the platform and the corner today

The ceiling, window frames, parquet floor and door frames with gold trim in the former study have been restored.

3D Panorama of Empress Alexandra’s Study

Monday, 5 February 2018

Atlas of Tsarskoe Selo in 1857 – Catherine & Alexander Palaces

Nikolai Tsylov published an Atlas of the City of Tsarskoe Selo with plans of the imperial palaces and gardens and city streets in 1857. There are 74 pages of watercolor drawings.

Map and cover pages (below) of the Atlas of Tsarskoe Selo in 1857

Plan (below) of the Catherine Palace in 1857

Plan (below) of the Alexander Palace in 1857

Samples (below) of the streets in Tsarskoe Selo

Maps (below) of Tsarskoe Selo today


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A Little-Known Palace - Schloss Bruchsal

Princess Louise of Baden was born on January 13th 1779 (OS) in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg. At the time of her marriage in 1793 to the future Emperor Alexander I, she adopted the name Elizabeth Alexeievna on her conversion to Orthodoxy.

Photograph c1895 (below) of Karlsruhe Palace, Germany

Aerial view (below) of Karlsruhe and photograph of the palace today

With the marriages of their children from the 1860s, Queen Victoria has been called the grandmother of Europe and King Christian IX of Denmark the father-in-law. Many are unaware that from the 1700s the princesses from the small Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt were the ancestresses of the royal families.

A fascinating glimpse into the Russian and Hesse-Darmstadt relationship is through Empress Elizabeth’s mother Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Amalie was the sister of Wilhelmina, the first wife of the future Emperor Paul. Her youngest daughter Wilhelmina, wife of Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hesse-Darmstadt, was the mother of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II.

From 1792 on her arrival in Saint Petersburg until her death in 1826, Empress Elizabeth wrote over three thousand letters to her mother. Many are unpublished, scattered across archives and libraries. In the reconstructed Karlsruhe Palace, the Badisches Landesmuseum exhibits the toilet set made by the Strasbourg jeweler Johan Harnish for Elizabeth. This service was a wedding present from her parents.

After the death of Elizabeth’s father Karl-Ludwig of Baden on December 16th 1801, her mother Amelie moved to Schloss Bruchsal located between Baden and Karlsruhe. Visiting Baden in 1814-1815 and 1818-1819 Elizabeth stayed at Bruchsal. Charles Edward Dodd had written in 1818 that the ladies of Amalie’s court complained bitterly of its magnificent dreariness. I am now interested to learn more, another research project!

Photograph c1871 (below) of Schloss Bruchsal

Aerial view (below) of Schloss Bruchsal and photographs of the Schloss today

Plans (below) of Schloss Bruchsal


Monday, 29 January 2018

A 1913 Dinner held in the Jordan Gallery on the 1st Floor of the Winter Palace

After you enter the Winter Palace doors from the Neva River and Large Inner Courtyard on the 1st floor, there is a long corridor [Jordan Gallery] with two rows of white columns to the Jordan Staircase.

Photographs (below) of the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace

Konstantin Ukhtomsky’s c1850 watercolor (below) of the Entrance to the Jordan Gallery
Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra and their children moved to the Winter Palace on Tuesday February 19th 1913 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The following Saturday while the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna attended the baise-main [kissing of hands with the ladies], Nicholas ‘received the district elders in the lower corridor where a dinner had been organized for them’.

Photographs (below) of the dinner held in the Jordan Gallery on February 23rd 1913 and today looking from the stairs to the corridor

3D Panorama link (below) of the Gallery leading to the Jordan Staircase [note the doors on either side of the staircase that led to the 1st floor storerooms under the Court Ministery offices]

My sister and I have climbed the Jordan, Saltykov, Small Church, Own Majesties and Commandant Staircases many times during our visits to the Hermitage. A lady-in-waiting wrote that there were 90 stairs from the 1st floor to her apartment on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace. We dare not count how many stairs we have climbed over the years!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

King Christian IX & Queen Louise Museum - Amalienborg Palace

The historic private rooms of King Christian IX and Queen Louise have been recreated in Amalienborg’s Christian VIII’s Palace Museum [upper right in the aerial view below].

Photographs (below) of Queen Louise’s Drawing Room

Photographs (below) of King Christian’s Study

Aerial View (below) of Amalienborg Palace
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark live in Amalienborg’s Frederick VIII’s Palace [lower right in the aerial view]. A book on its restoration was published eight years ago with many photographs. It is difficult to compare the design styles with its cluttered Victoriana of the past and today. The elegant simplicity and color scheme is beautiful in the photo (below) of the royal couple in their drawing room.