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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Faberge's Flowers Bloom at London Exhibition
Topic: Faberge

Whether a sacred sanctuary, a place for scientific study, a haven for the solitary thinker or a space for pure enjoyment and delight, gardens are where man and nature meet. Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden reveals the way in which gardens have been celebrated in art across four centuries.

Bringing together paintings, botanical studies, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts, the exhibition explores the changing character of the garden from the 16th to the early 20th century. The work of Carl Fabergé is featured in this unique exhibition which opened in London earlier this week.
For the past century, his botanical creations for his aristocratic clients throughout Europe, including the crowned heads of Russia and England have been overshadowed by the exquisite Imperial Easter Eggs he created for the Russian Imperial family. Carved from coloured hardstones, Fabergé's flowers are set on gold stems, and embellished with jewels and enamels, these stunning pieces meticulously replicated real botanical specimens.

Nine of Fabergé's floral creations, from the Royal Collection Trust of HM Queen Elizabeth II are on display at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London, England. 

(1) Philadelphus  c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, nephrite, quartzite, olivines | 14.2 x 7.0 x 9.0 cm | RCIN 40252


A design for philadelphus, closely related to this example, exists in an unpublished album of designs from Henrik Wigström’s workshop. Philadelphus, or mock orange, was well known to inhabitants of Russia – particularly in the region of St Petersburg where during the early part of July its intoxicating scent filled gardens and wafted through open windows of dachas and estates. The popularity of the flower explains why several examples were made by Fabergé.

Marked Fabergé in Cyrillic characters

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection 


Acquired by Queen Alexandra, date unknown

(2) Pansy c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, enamel, nephrite, brilliant diamond | 10.2 x 3.3 cm | RCIN 40210


All three of the pansy flower groups in the Royal Collection combine the same purple and yellow colours of enamel. The similar treatment of the petals, with variations in tone and combination of matt and polished enamel, would seem to indicate that the enamelling was completed in the same workshop. Indeed, Bainbridge asserts that all the flowers were enamelled by Alexander and Nicholas Petrov and by Boitzov, the main enamellers working for Fabergé. A drawing for a similar pansy exists in an unpublished album of designs from Wigström’s workshops.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection


Probably acquired by Queen Alexandra; in the Royal Collection by 1953

(3) Pansy c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, enamel, nephrite, brilliant diamond | 10.7 x 5.5 x 4.0 cm | RCIN 40505


The pansy was almost as popular as the philadelphus in Russia, flowering in spring and early summer and during the White Nights of high midsummer. This example shows the remarkable skill of the enameller in imitating the papery matt surface of the petals. It is one of three Fabergé pansies in the Royal Collection owned by Queen Alexandra.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection


Probably acquired by Queen Alexandra; in the Royal Collection by 1953

(4) Convolvulus  c. 1900
Bowenite, gold, nephrite, enamel, rose diamond | 11.1 x 6.5 x 2.5 cm | RCIN 8943


Convolulus, two flower heads of pale blue and two of pink enamel with one white bud, all with rose diamond centres; 13 leaves of nephrite on gold stalks climbing up an oyster enamel pole, all set in simulated soil and a bowenite trough.

King George V and Queen Mary added further examples to the remarkable collection of Fabergé flowers formed by Queen Alexandra. This study formerly belonged to Vita Sackville-West (the Hon. Mrs Nicolson, 1892–1962), the doyenne of twentieth-century English gardenwriters. The flowers are of enamelled gold centred with rose diamonds, while the leaves are of white nephrite. The plant sits in a bowenite trough, and when Queen Mary acquired it was mounted on a further base of white jade, since lost. The convolvulus was purchased from the London branch in 1908 for £35 by a member of the Sackville-West family. It was subsequently owned by Sir Bernard Eckstein, sold at Sotheby’s on 8 February 1949 and presented to Queen Mary for her birthday on 26 May 1949 by the royal family.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection 


Bought by Hon. Vita Sackville-West (the Hon. Mrs. Harold Nicolson) from Fabergé's London branch, 30 March 1908 (£35); Sir Bernard Eckstein; Sotheby's 1949, lot 119; presented by the royal family to Queen Mary on her birthday, 26 May 1949.

(5) Rosebuds c. 1900
Gold, enamel, nephrite, rock crystal | 12.3 x 7.7 x 4.5 cm | RCIN 40216


A spray of two rosebuds of opaque pink and translucent green enamel, with two sets of nephrite leaves on red gold stalks, set in a tapering vase of rock crystal. 


Acquired by Queen Alexandra, date unknown

(6) Wild roses c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, enamel, nephrite and brilliant diamonds. | 14.8 x 7.8 x 6.4 cm | RCIN 8958


A spray of three wild roses of opaque pink enamel with brilliant diamond centres and red-gold stamens, two sets of three nephrite leaves on red gold stalks in a trumpet shape rock crystal vase. A similar realistically modelled study exists in the India Early Minshall Collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio. A previously unpublished drawing from an album of designs executed by Henrik Wigström relates closely to this flower study.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection 


Probably acquired by Queen Alexandra; in the Royal Collection by 1953

(7) Wild rose c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, nephrite, enamel, diamonds | 14.6 x 5.9 x 4.0 cm | RCIN 40223


A single wild rose of pink and white opaque enamel with red gold stamens and brilliant diamond centre, one set of three nephrite leaves on a green gold stalk, set into a rock crystal jar. 


Probably acquired by Queen Alexandra; in the Royal Collection by 1953

(8) Bleeding heart  c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, nephrite, rhodonite, quartzite | 19.0 x 15.3 x 6.2 cm | RCIN 40502


A double spray of bleeding hearts, carved in rhodonite and quartzite, with three sets of three carved nephrite leaves on dull green gold stalks in a rock crystal vase

Queen Mary acquired this study of bleeding heart in 1934. The nephrite leaves are carved to show the characteristic shape and veins of the plant and the bell-shaped flowers are made of carved and polished rhodonite with quartzite stamens. To ensure that the flower is as true to nature as possible, the flowers are suspended from gold stems, articulated en tremblant so that they can move gently, as if blown by the wind.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection 


Acquired by Queen Mary, 1934

(9) Lily of the valley  c. 1900
Rock crystal, gold, nephrite, pearls, rose diamonds | 14.5 x 7.8 x 5.5 cm | RCIN 40217


The delicate lily of the valley was the favourite flower of Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. The imperial family, like other members of the wealthy in Russian society, were able to afford flowers imported from the south of France, which were kept on ice to preserve their freshness during the long train journey to Russia. Fabergé was able to replicate the charm and beauty of flowers through the ingenious use of precious metal and stones. The stems of this flower are of gold, the leaves of Siberian nephrite and the bell-shaped flowers of pearl edged with tiny rose diamonds, all resting in a vase of rock crystal carved to replicate the refraction of a flower stem in water. This flower was purchased by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna in December 1899 for 250 roubles and is presumed to have been a gift to Queen Alexandra.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection 


Queen Alexandra, by whom bequeathed to Princess Victoria; King George V

The exhibition Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden runs from Friday, 20 March 2015 to Sunday, 11 October 2015 at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London, England. 
© Royal Collection Trust and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:36 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 March 2015 6:41 AM EDT
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Peterhof Marks 300th Anniversary of the Grand Palace
Topic: Peterhof

The Grand Palace at Peterhof celebrates it's 300th anniversary in 2015
This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Grand Palace at Peterhof. Last month, the Peterhof State Museum Preserve held a presentation of the program of events scheduled for 2015, dedicated to the historic anniversary of the Grand Peterhof Palace, former residence of the Russian sovereigns and their families.

The history of Upper chambers in Peterhof (future Grand Palace) is counted from the decree by Peter I, who commanded “To make tents in Peterhof, as well as to dig a canal from the sea…and to face with masonry”. The decree dated January 24 (February 4, new style) 1715, is stored in the Russian State Historical Archive.

The Grand Peterhof Palace – is the creation of the great Rastrelli, the monument of Russian military men and diplomatic triumphs, one of the most luxurious palaces of the Russian empire, without exaggeration, the most visited museum of modern Russia.

The Peterhof State Museum-Reserve has prepared a series of events, timed to the anniversary of the palace. The program of the anniversary year contains exhibitions, conferences, events, holidays. The website of the museum-reserve will inform about them during 2015.

During the presentation held on February 12th guests were informed of the following events and exhibits:

-The exhibition action in the Parade suite of the Grand Palace “History in Details”.

The exhibition action is devoted to the subject of historical collections of decoration of the Grand Peterhof Palace. Objects of decorative furniture, lamps, paintings - are presented as witnesses before which events of three century history were unfolded. Participants of the rally will be given the opportunity to consider some of them more closely. The campaign is designed for individual visitors, families and small groups and will last until the end of April.

- The exhibition of new acquisitions "Dowry of Russian princess. Items from the silver service of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna" in the Dance Hall of the Grand Peterhof Palace.

The exhibition presents the latest acquisitions to the collection of the State Museum "Peterhof". Wedding of the daughter of Nicholas I and the Crown Prince of Württemberg was held in Peterhof in 1846. This holiday - with ballet outdoors, stunning illumination - has become one of the highlights of the Peterhof history of the XIX century. Silver service for 500 persons, made for dowry in the trendy "English shop N. Nichols and Plinke", was made in the style of "second rococo", is decorated with two-headed eagles and the monogram of the bride. Gradually service were scattered in private collections. Nineteen subjects were brought in Peterhof in 2005. In late 2014 the museum's collection has been enriched with a few more items. After the exhibition service will be placed on a permanent place in the exposition of the Grand Palace. 

-Multimedia information and entertainment system “The Grand Peterhof Palace” in the entrance area of the Grand Palace. 

Interactive multi-table to be established in the entrance area of the Grand Palace. Visitors in an exciting and visual forum can get acquainted with the history of the major milestones of the Grand Palace. 

Further exhibitions, conferences, events, and holidays scheduled for 2015 will be announced on the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve and the Royal Russia news blog during the course of the coming year ahead. 
© Peterhof State Museum Preserve. 29 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:13 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 March 2015 5:23 AM EDT
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Faberge from the Royal Collection Trust on Display at Holyroodhouse Exhibit
Topic: Faberge

A dazzling selection of gold from the Royal Collection has gone on display in Scotland for the first time in a new exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.  It includes exquisite items of jewellery and personal accessories that give an insight into the tastes of generations of Queens and Consorts.

Gold explores and celebrates the qualities of the rare and precious metal through over 60 items from across the breadth of the Royal Collection, incorporating sacred and ceremonial items, including those of Fabergé.

Mikhail Evlampievich Perkhin (1860-1903)

Patch box 1894
Four-colour gold set with moss agate and rose cut diamonds | 4.6 x 4.1 x 2.5 cm | RCIN 9133
Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


By including moss agate in mounted jewellery and boxes, Fabergé was continuing a long tradition. Originally mined in India, these agates were known as mocha stones after the town on the Red Sea from which they were imported to Europe. The term 'moss' agate came about because deposits of ferrous and manganese oxides infiltrated the stone, thereby forming tree- and moss-like patterns. In the eighteenth century moss agate was discovered in Germany and it became much sought after in Europe, both for collectors of natural history specimens and for incorporating into snuff boxes and jewellery. Fabergé's source of the material was Siberia. His craftsmen also produced enamel with patterns simulating moss agate. Mark of Michael Perchin; gold mark of 56 zolotniks (before 1896); Fabergé in Cyrillic characters.Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection and the catalogue entry from "Gold", London, 2014. 


Presented to Queen Mary when Duchess of York by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, Christmas 1894


Cigarette case 1903
Three-colour gold, rose diamonds, cabochon ruby | 1.4 x 9.4 x 6.8 cm | RCIN 4344
Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


This sumptuous cigarette case was given to King Edward VII as a fortieth wedding anniversary present by his sister-in-law, the Dowager Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, on 10 March 1903. Its elegant rounded rectangular shape is composed of red, yellow and white gold, a typical technique of Fabergé’s work, in a sunburst design centring on the combined cipher of Edward and Alexandra and on the reverse the date, 10 March 1903 XL 1863–1903, all set in diamonds. 

Marked with a Moscow gold mark of 56 zolotniks (1896-1908); K. Fabergé in Cyrillic characters; the mark of Ivan Britzin, assay master.

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection and a catalogue entry from "Gold", London, 2014. 


Given to Edward VII by the Dowager Tsarina Marie Feodorovna as a fortieth wedding anniversary gift, 1903

Mikhail Evlampievich Perkhin (1860-1903)

Frame with miniature of Tsarina Marie Feodorovna  c.1895
Four colour gold, violet guilloché sunburst enamel containing watercolour miniature | 9.0 x 7.8 x 7.3 cm | RCIN 40107
Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


This portrait miniature of the Dowager Tsarina Marie Feodorovna was painted by Johannes Zehngraf and is based on a photograph by Alexander Alexandrovich Pasetti of 1894. Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928), born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, married the future Tsar Alexander III in 1866. In contrast to the Tsar, she enjoyed the excitement and extravagance of court life in St Petersburg. She had great admiration for Fabergé and his artistry and in 1882 she personally endorsed his work by purchasing a pair of gold cuff links in neo-Greek style from the Pan-Russian exhibition in Moscow. Following her husband’s death in 1894, her son Nicholas II continued the tradition of presenting her with a Fabergé Easter egg. In a letter dated 8 April 1914 to her sister Queen Alexandra, she describes how on receipt of the egg for that year she told Fabergé ‘vous êtes un génie incomparable’. Even during the first decade of the twentieth century, in a period of particularly difficult political relations between England and Russia, Marie Feodorovna visited England several times, notably in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Following the Revolution in 1917, the Dowager Tsarina escaped to the Crimea and was eventually rescued with her daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia, by a British cruiser sent at King George V’s insistence. After a brief stay with her sister and nephew at Sandringham, she returned to Denmark, moving finally to Hvidøre, the villa outside Copenhagen she shared with Queen Alexandra. Even at Hvidøre, where she was to spend the remainder of her life, she was not without objects by Fabergé, having earlier had seals made for use there; of these there is an example in the Royal Collection. Mark of Michael Perchin; gold mark of 56 zolotniks (before 1896); Fabergé in Cyrillic characters. Miniature signed Zehngraf.Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection and the catalogue entry from "Gold", London, 2014. 


Acquired by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), c.1895
The exhibition Gold runs from Friday, 27 March 2015 to Sunday, 26 July 2015 at the Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse. 
© Royal Collection Trust and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:57 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 March 2015 6:40 AM EDT
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Saturday, 28 March 2015
The Alexander Palace: Pages from the History
Topic: Alexander Palace

Soft cover * English text * 34 pages * 61 photographs - mostly colour!
Price $25.00 + Postage - $6.00 Canada & USA - $11.00 All Other Countries 
Imported from Russia, this is the first English-language book on the Alexander Palace. Copies of this book are now available for purchase from the Royal Russia Bookshop.

This small, but richly illustrated book offers a history of the Alexander Palace and it’s August residents, from Emperor Alexander I to the last residents, Emperor Nicholas II and his family. 

The text explores the history of the palace and it’s residents, particularly that of Nicholas II and his family; the post revolutionary period, the Soviet years, post WW2 period, restorations to the present day.

The book contains 61 photographs and illustrations - mostly colour. These include images of the palace and it’s interiors (historic and contemporary), as well as the members of the Russian Imperial family who resided at the Alexander Palace from the beginning of the 18th to early 20th century.

The text is written by Larissa Bardovskaya, Chief Curator of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve since 1984. She is the author of numerous books on the Romanovs and their palaces at Tsarskoye Selo.
© Royal Russia. 28 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:13 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 March 2015 8:36 AM EDT
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A Russian Moment No. 61 - Iconostasis of the Ascension Convent, Moscow Kremlin
Topic: A Russian Moment

The grand six-tier iconostasis of the Ascension (Voznesensky) Convent has been preserved to the present day
in the Cathedral of Twelve Apostles in the former Patriarch’s Palace of the Moscow Kremlin
The Ascension (Voznesensky) Convent was founded at the beginning of the 15th century very near the Spassky (Saviour's) Gate of the Moscow Kremlin. Over the centuries, many of the wives and sisters of the Moscow grand princes found peace in the Ascension Convent, which was one of the most famous and respected convents in Russia. 

In Soviet times religious buildings in Russia were ruthlessly destroyed or reconfigured as warehouses, museums or archives. In 1929, this destiny also befell the Ascension Convent in the Kremlin to make way for a military training facility. Its demolition caused unprecedented opposition within society and well-known figures from around the world wrote letters to Stalin. However, despite the outcry, the monastery was demolished. Today its previous location in the Kremlin is recalled as an empty rectangle next to Spasskaya Tower.

However, few know that the historic iconostasis of the Ascension Convent has been preserved to the present day. Despite having little time to save the church’s cultural valuables, the employees of the Armoury Museum managed to save the grand six-tier iconostasis, created around 1679. It was moved to the Cathedral of Twelve Apostles in the former Patriarch’s Palace of the Moscow Kremlin, where it can be seen during a visit to the Kremlin.

In August 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the reconstruction of the Ascension Convent and the nearby Chudov Monastery. As of January 2015, the decision remains unresolved, and during my recent visit to Moscow in March, I can confirm that work on the Kremlin Presidium or "Building 14" which was constructed on the site of the Chudov and Ascension monasteries had come to a grinding halt. The fate of the reconstruction of these historic buildings now rests with UNESCO and the Russian government. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:57 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 March 2015 8:13 AM EDT
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Friday, 27 March 2015
Alexander, Napoleon & Josephine, a Story of Friendship, War and Art from the Hermitage
Topic: Exhibitions

In 2015, as the Battle of Waterloo is commemorated throughout Europe, the Hermitage Amsterdam will turn the clock back to the decisive years that preceded Waterloo, the days of Napoleon Bonaparte and two exceptional and very different contemporaries: Tsar Alexander I, his friend and enemy, and Joséphine, the love of his life.

More than two hundred magnificent paintings, sculptures, personal possessions, gowns and uniforms, objets d’art and impressive weapons will tell the story of two mighty rulers and a woman with great personality. The central themes are friendship, war and politics, as well as Joséphine’s great art collection, which included Dutch and Italian masters such as Potter, Van der Werff, Luini and Canova. The two men come even physically close, in Napoleon’s death mask and in a medallion with a lock of Alexander’s hair. A significant part of Joséphine’s collection eventually came into the possession of the Hermitage, and many of the highlights will be on display in the Netherlands for the first time.

A story in four scenes

Our story begins in 1807. Napoleon and Joséphine were seeing very little of each other, because of the many wars that Napoleon was waging across the European continent. Joséphine was on her own in their love nest, Château de Malmaison, just outside Paris. That year, Napoleon and the tsar concluded the Treaty of Tilsit, establishing a coalition for peace intended to change the political constellation in Europe and Asia. In the process, they formed a friendship that seemed genuine and enduring. After fifteen days, they said farewell, and in the years that followed they exchanged many diplomatic gifts.

The treaties were intended as an eternal seal on their peace and their friendship. But they proved impossible to enforce, and a new war broke out. The disastrous turning point was Napoleon’s Russian campaign of 1812. Few events in history have made such a strong impression as the French retreat from Moscow in that year. The most catastrophic episode for Napoleon's army, however, was probably the crossing of the ice-cold Berezina River. In just a few days’ time, tens of thousands of soldiers died in battle, froze to death, drowned or starved. Many of them came from the Netherlands, a fact that is still well-known today, thanks to an illustration by Jan Hoynck van Papendrecht used in Dutch schools for many years and included in the exhibition. The drama of the campaign surges to life in works such as four large battle paintings by Peter Hess. The Russian campaign put an end to many years of success for Napoleon and his Grande Armée. The French army was massacred: out of 600,000 soldiers, less than 100,000 survived.

The Tsar also suffered heavy losses, but he held a victory parade in Paris. Napoleon was utterly defeated and sent into exile. In Paris, the Tsar contacted the former empress, Joséphine, who received him at Malmaison. Just as the Tsar and Napoleon had once developed a warm friendship, the Tsar and Joséphine did the same. There are various, often contradictory stories about the motivations of the two. In any case, she gave Alexander one of the greatest gifts a tsar could ask for: the ancient Gonzaga Cameo, from the 3rd century BC. Alexander invited her to come and live in St Petersburg, but she never had the chance to take the invitation into consideration because of her early death. Shortly after a stroll with the Tsar, the former empress died of pneumonia. The rest is history.

The Tsar was not only the victor, along with his allies, but also the buyer of Josephine’s famous art collection. By the time of her death, it comprised more than four hundred works, by masters such as Potter, Metsu, Van der Werff, Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Luini, Schidone, David Teniers the Younger, Terborch and Canova. She had purchased many of these works herself, and many others were gifts from Napoleon, war trophies from conquered territories. Alexander bought a large number of paintings and sculptures in 1815 for the then-astronomical sum of 940,000 French francs. Joséphine’s daughter Hortense and son Eugène came under Alexander’s protection, and a generation later Joséphine’s grandson married a Romanov princess, creating a tie of blood between the two families. Partly for this reason, many of the works in her collection ultimately found their way to the Hermitage. Her descendants married into the royal families of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden.
The exhibition Alexander, Napoleon & Joséphine, a Story of Friendship, War and Art runs until 8th November 2015 at the Hermitage Amsterdam. 

© Hermitage Amsterdam. 27 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:21 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 March 2015 12:27 PM EDT
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Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 March 2015 4:39 AM EDT
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Thursday, 26 March 2015
Tsarskoye Selo Acquires Tsesarevich Alexei's Prayer Book at Auction
Topic: Tsarevich Alexis

A prayer book, originally owned by Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, son of Emperor Nicholas II and last heir to the Russian throne has been acquired by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. The item was bought at an auction held in the United States. 

The auction was held on November 18th-19th, 2014 at Jackson's International Auctioneers and Appraisers in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The small prayer book dated 1910 with dedicatory inscription to Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich was purchased by the museum for $3,750 USD.
Click on the link below to read the full article posted in the Royal Russia News section of our web site:
Tsarskoye Selo Acquires Tsesarevich Alexei’s Prayer Book at Auction 
+ VIDEO (in Russian) and 6 Colour Photos
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:49 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 March 2015 6:56 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Restoration of Tsar Nicholas II Fresco in Serbian Monastery Church
Topic: Nicholas II

Fresco of Tsar Nicholas II in the Church of St. Sava of the Zica Monastery in Kraljevo, Serbia
The Zica Monastery in Kraljevo, Serbia (192 km south of Belgrade) has begun emergency restoration work to preserve the frescoes in the Church of St. Sava, damaged during an earthquake which hit the region in 2010. Among the frescoes is one of Tsar Nicholas II. 

The Church of Saint Sava has never been open to the public. For years, many believers wondered if the church might harbour some hidden secrets known only to the clergy. In some respects they were correct. In 1945, the State Security Service ordered the church to hide the fresco of Tsar Nicholas II, and those of other Russian saints for fear of destruction by Communist authorities.
"The nuns cleverly disguised the frescoes by covering them with portrait paper, which they then painted blue to resemble bare walls. The frescoes remained hidden for decades up until about three years ago, when they were rediscovered," said Dusan Jovanovic from the Office for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Kraljevo.

Only one nun Dorothea, one of the oldest at the monastery is a living witness to the postwar period, and witnessed the fresco’s concealment. "The fresco could not be seen. It was impossible to even speak of it’s existence. It was covered with blue wrapping paper and forgotten as if it did not exist," said the nun Dorothea.
The church was built in 1935 on the orders of Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic. The frescoes painted by the Russian Baron Nikolai Meyendorff, while the iconostasis was the work of the Russian artist Ivan Melnikov. 

The preservation of the church will be conducted in three stages. The Ministry of Culture has provided funds for the first stage of the work. The restoration of the floor and basement of the church is now complete, restorers are now working on the protection of the frescoes, an area exceeding 300 square meters. Art restorer Bojan Nikolic said that urgent repair is required to the frescoes, which had been damaged by leaks, and then the 2010 earthquake. The frescoes will be protected from further deterioration, and a special commission will decide how to restore the missing fragments from many of the frescoes.

After seven decades, the fresco of Tsar Nicholas II will once again shine in full splendour and glory. The church will open to the faithful, and his image, along with those of other Orthodox saints will once again be seen by the public, including many Russians, who have recently settled in Kraljevo. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:04 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2015 2:13 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Tsarskoye Selo Extends Exhibition of Exquisite Hand Fans
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve have extended their exhibition dedicated to hand fans until September 28th, 2015. The Hand Fan Returns is currently open in the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace.

A hand fan is a small and lightweight, usually folding, hand-held implement, used to create an airflow and associated with a bird’s wing and a flight.       

The Tsarskoye Selo collection of over 100 hand fans includes Western European, Oriental and Russian items of the 1700s (our historical collection) and of the 1800s–1940s, purchased from antique stores and private collectors and donated to the museum over the past years. 

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 24 March, 2015
Forty nine fans in our collection were restored during 2010–2013 by a team of high-class professionals from the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO and the company Phenomen (Moscow), as part of the governmental program “Russian Culture (2006-2011)”.

The restorers' names: L.V. Getjman, Y.A. Voronin, O.S. Golovliova, T.A. Zhdanova, S.V. Krasnova, T.A. Levykina, M.E. Mailyan, S.V. Medvedeva, O.S. Popova,    Y.V. Savkova,    E.S. Sinitsyna, N.V. Solomatina, S.G. Tyutimova, A.Y. Utekhina, O.V. Frolova,  N.N. Tsvetkova,  E.Y. Chepeleva, A.V. Shulinina, T.V. Yurjeva.

All works were supervised by the highest-category artist and restorer N.P. Sinitsyna, head of textile and leather restoration. The masters literally gave a new life to these delicate works of art and made their display possible.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 24 March, 2015
The unique exhibition Hand Fan Returns, set out at the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace, showcases a number of the restored items for the first time. Its highlights are some very valuable 18th-century fans, as well as fans from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  

Conceptually, the exhibition draws on cultural phenomena of different ages and lands – Europe, Russia and the Far East, meeting like the sticks of an imaginary fan spread out in time.  Little concentrated on the history and production centers of fans, it uses modern scenography tools to accentuate artistic and semantic properties of these exquisite objects, their lightness and captivating beauty, and to recreate the atmosphere of a ball and a holiday – so natural for this fragile and elegant attribute of aristocratic lifestyle.

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 24 March, 2015
The fans emerge from the darkness like bright fluttering butterflies. They shimmer in silver and gold. Their colours play in the rays of light and cast lacy shadows. Reflected in the mirrors, they bring a nostalgia for the refined beauty of bygone eras, which is lacking so much in our pragmatic time.

The Wing of the Fan, Spread Out in Time. Fans of the 1700s–Early 1900s in the Collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. Compilation and texts by Elena O. Kalugina, Everyday Objects Collection Curator

Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 24 March, 2015
This richly illustrated booklet accompanies the exhibition Hand Fan Returns, which runs on the first floor of the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace September 28, 2015.

The booklet brings together information about the history of fan-making and about the Tsarskoye Selo collection of more than 100 hand fans, including Western European, Oriental and Russian items of the 1700s (historical collection), and of the 1800s–1940s, gathered over the past fifty years.

Click on the link below to read another article about this exhibition:
Tsarskoye Selo Hosts Fan Exhibit + VIDEO (in Russian) 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 24 March, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:09 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2015 2:38 AM EDT
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