Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
A brooch belonging to Alexandra Tegleva, wife of Pierre Gilliard. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
The Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Preserve has received a gift of items that once belonged to Alexandra Tegleva (1884-1955), the head-nurse maid to the children of Nicholas II. She later married Pierre Gilliard in 1922. The items were recently donated to the museum by her 83-year-old niece, Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht, who lives in France.
One piece of jewellery - a brooch, which was presented to Tegleva on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913 shows the personal coat of arms of the Romanovs, the golden griffin. The brooch is decorated with four rubies and one diamond. The second item is a pocket watch made by Pavel Buhre (Supplier of His Majesty's Court). According to the inscription, the gift was presented to Tegleva by Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on Christmas Day, 1904.
From 1901, Alexandra Tegleva (known as “Shura” to the Imperial family) served as a nurse for the imperial children. She had a room on the second floor of the Alexander Palace, next to the rooms of grand duchesses. She voluntarily followed the Imperial family into exile to Tobolsk. When the children were moved to the Ipatiev House at Ekaterinburg, Tegleva was not allowed to join them and sent back to Tobolsk. In 1920, she escaped Russia via Vladivostok with Pierre Gilliard. They lived for a brief period in Paris with the family of the Nikolai Sokolov, investigator of the murders of the family of Nicholas II. In 1922, she married Pierre Gilliard and they later settled in Lausanne, Gilliard's hometown.
All documents related to Pierre Gilliard and Alexandra Tegleva, are now kept in the Pierre Gilliard Foundation at the Cantonal University Library (BCU) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht and her family allowed the staff of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve to copy a number of documents, including Pierre Gilliard’s personal collection of 200 photos, and granted the right to use them for exhibition and research purposes. Among them - letters to Gilliard's parents and brother during his first years at the Alexander Palace, his memories of life in Siberia and his stay with Kolchak, letters from Tsesarevich Alexei, postcards, and sheet music set to a prayer written by Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna.
In addition, Ms. Gilliard Knecht transferred to the museum photographs of a Gilliard as a young man and in old age, taken not long before his death in 1962, two photos of Alexandra Tegleva taken in the 1940s and 50s, and a satin towel embroidered by Tegleva depicting the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin.
Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht lived with Alexandra Tyeglev and Pierre Gilliard for eight years. They regaled their niece with tales of their happy years with the last tsar and his family at Tsarskoye Selo, and the terrible months of exile in Siberia. After the Revolution, Tegleva maintained a memorial room in which there were pictures of the Imperial children, her pupils.
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 November, 2013