Together with the letters and pictures offered by Prince Nicholas Romanovich, the Hotel Des Ventes in Geneva is offering some 3000 Russian items including other rare photographs of the Russian Imperial family from the private collection of Ferdinand Thormeyer, who served as tutor at the Russian Court, and some 46 pages of love letters from Tsar Alexander II to his mistress, Princess Katia Dolgourovky.
*Note: The full catalogue consists of 372 pages. I have only included the pages from the catalogue which reflect the Romanov letters and photographs being offered in the auction.
Nicholas Romanovich Meets Journalists at His Home in Switzerland Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds Topic: Nicholas Romanovich
Journalists were invited to the home of Nicholas Romanovich last week to get a preview of the items of his personal collection which will go under the hammer this month. Among the items are letters, photographs and other personal belongings of his ancestors, including his great-great uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich.
Nicholas told journalists that his decision to sell these heirlooms is in the hope that they will help shed further light on the history of the Russian Imperial family in anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013.
"Of course, I am sorry to part with all of this, but I am 90 now. I made the decision," he told journalists.
In 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich was relieved of his duties as Commander-in-Chief when Tsar Nicholas II took over the military lead, but Nicholas Romanovich, who was born four years after the Tsar's murder in 1918, has kept his Grand Uncle's military cap, that he's selling at the Geneva auction. "When I found this, I tried it of course, not because I wanted, but because I knew, that if it didn't really fit me, and you see on these photographs, it never reached the back of his (Nicholas Nicholayevich) head", Nicholas Romanov told journalists.
The auction which consists of some 3,000 items will be held at Hôtel des Ventes of Geneva on December 10th.
Alexander II Statue Returns to Sofia Topic: Alexander II
The landmark statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II was returned to the square in front of Parliament in Sofia Thursday, after undergoing repair.
The statue of the mounted tsar was re-assembled, with workers installing a headless horse first, then installing its head and the torso of the tsar.
Some of the legs of the horse had to be replaced because of wear, and other parts of the statue and the additional figures that went missing had to be also replaced.
Svetoslav Glosov, who was part of the team responsible for the reconstruction, defended the procedure used as both innovative and flawless.
During the restoration process there were controversial reports that the landmark statue is not being taken adequate care of.
Around December 20, a photo exhibition will open at the Sofia Central Bath documenting the whole process.
The restored monument will be officialy inaugurated on March 3, the day of the peace contract in the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish war led by Alexander II, which resulted in Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
Nicholas Romanovich Presents Romanov History Topic: Nicholas Romanovich
Nicholas Romanovich at his home in Switzerland presents his personal collection of Romanov memorabilia to journalists, which included letters, photographs and other personal items of his ancestors.
In the framework of the forthcoming Special Russia sale, Bernard Piguet, director and chief auctioneer at the Hôtel des Ventes of Geneva, invited journalists to a press conference on November 29th that was attended by Nicholas Romanovich, head of the Romanov Family Association.
The eldest living representative of the House of Romanov and a direct descendant of Emperor Nicholas I answered questions by journalists and commented on the photographs and letters of Tsar Nicholas II and his uncle Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich, supreme commander of the armies of the Russian Empire which will be part of the upcoming auction on December 10, 2012.
Initially, the press conference was to be held in Geneva; however, the weather forced the 90-year-old to change his plans. Instead, journalists were invited to his home in the town of Rougemont, located in the eastern Swiss canton of Vaud.
“These documents lay in a box owned by my grandfather for a very long time,” said Nicholas Romanovich, “then - they were handed down to my father - and then to me. I hope that the letters will fall into the hands of competent people who will one day write a new biography about my ancestors.”
Letter from Tsar Nicholas II to Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich
Photographs and cabinet cards of Tsar Nicholas II
The cap worn by Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich as seen in the photograph
Grand Duke Peter Nicholayevich (his grandfather), Nicholas Romanovich as a child, Prince Roman Petrovich (his father)
Peter the Great's House in the Netherlands to Be Renovated Topic: Peter the Great
The 17th century house in the Dutch city of Zaandam where Russian tsar Peter the Great lived during the first days of his 1697 visit to Holland was closed for renovation on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. “The museum closes for the work and will reopen in March 2013,” said Zaans Museum, which administers the building. The renovation is due to take about three months.
The house was built in 1632 from old ship's wood. A heavy wooden frame was built in late 19th century to support the old structure. Later it was encased in a brick building on the order of Russia’s last tsar Nicholas II.
Peter the Great, who came to power at the end of the 17th century, was determined to modernize Russia. At the age of 25, he travelled to the Dutch Republic, the leading power at that time. It was his first foreign visit.
Peter the Great stayed in Zaandam only for the eight days and studied shipbuilding incognito, posing as a Russian carpenter named Pyotr Mikhailov.
The house was designated a historical monument in the 18th century. It was handed over to the Russian royal family in 1886, but in 1948 the heirs of the Romanov family returned the building to The Netherlands.
Set of Medals Honour Russian Sovereigns Topic: 400th Anniversary
The Property Management Department of the President of the Russian Federation has announced that it will offer a series of collectible souvenirs marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013.
Among them is a set of 20 medals depicting Russian sovereigns who ruled from 1613 to 1917: from Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich to Tsar Nicholas II.
The medals are made of silver and gold plated. Each medal depicts the portrait of a sovereign of the Romanov dynasty on the face, and the coat-of-arms on the reverse. The set of 20 medals is packaged in a box of polished mahogany. All sets are numbered and each has its own certificate. They are currently for sale at museum shops in the Moscow Kremlin. Price: 175,000 rubles ($5,700 USD).
Religious Association Rises in Defense of Russian Orthodoxy Topic: Russian Church
Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, Sergei Stepashin and Patriarch Kirill
Russia's Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society has called for setting up "a public system" in Russia that would "rule out insults to the religious feelings of believers."
"In condemning attempts by certain forces to sow discord in society and question the role of Orthodox tradition in shaping the identity of the Russian people, we state our readiness to act resolutely in national interests, defend Christian values and help promote national unity, civil peace and harmony in Russia," the Society said in a statement passed at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
After "humiliating persecution and accusations," the people of Russia have a right to establish "a public system that would rule out insults to the religious feelings of believers," the Society said.
The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was set up in 1882 by Emperor Alexander III to organize Russian pilgrims' journeys to sacred places including Palestine, Mount Athos and Bari, assist the Russian Orthodox Church's service abroad, do cultural and educational missionary work in the Middle East and study the historical heritage of Holy Land.
After the 1917 Revolution, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was closed, but a Russian Palestine Society was formed at the Academy of Sciences, which continued the traditional studies of the historical heritage of Holy Land.
The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was registered again in May 1992 under its historical name. It has 18 regional branches and is chaired by Sergey Stepashin.
Cossacks Evoke Spectre of Imperial Russia Topic: Cossacks
Renowned for their sword-fighting prowess and horsemanship, the Cossacks are taking on new enemies – beggars, drunks and improperly parked cars on the streets of Moscow.
With the approval of city authorities, eight Cossacks clad in fur hats and uniforms patrolled a Moscow train station yesterday looking for signs of minor public disturbances.
The Kremlin is seeking to use the once-feared Tsarist paramilitary squads in its new drive to promote conservative values and appeal to nationalists.
The southern province of Krasnodar – which includes Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics – launched Cossack patrols in September to crack down on Muslim migrants from the neighbouring Caucasus.
Cossacks trace their history in Russia back to the 15th century. Serving in the Tsarist cavalry, they spearheaded imperial Russia’s expansion in exchange for special privileges, including the right to govern their villages.
In the 2010 census, about 650,000 Russians declared themselves Cossacks. Yesterday’s patrol was a test run for whether the group can become an armed and salaried auxiliary police force, with the power of arrest, patrol leader Igor Gulichev said.
Mr Gulichev’s group, which he said numbers up to 85, has patrolled south-western Moscow with police approval for the past year, and has brought about 35 arrests. They are unpaid but receive free public transport passes and uniforms.
The conservative Cossacks have increased their political activity in response to an impromptu protest that feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot staged in Moscow’s main cathedral in February.
Groups of Cossacks recently barred visitors from entering a Moscow art exhibition that daubed Pussy Riot’s trademark balaclavas over Orthodox Christian icons, and they led a successful campaign to cancel a staging of Vladimir Nabokov’s racy novel, Lolita, in St Petersburg.
A government-backed Cossack political party held its first congress in Moscow last weekend. Communists have called it a cheap attempt to siphon pensioners’ support from their party, which is widely known by the same acronym. Six other groups have applied to form splinter Cossack parties.
Mr Gulichev, whose official title is deputy ataman, a Turkic word meaning commander, said he expected his group’s responsibilities would expand to fighting drug trafficking and terrorism, mirroring the special relationship Cossacks had with the tsars.
“Cossacks have always been on the frontiers of the Russian empire, fighting foes and adversaries, illegal immigration – repulsing raids, as people say today,” he added.
President Vladimir Putin was inducted into what is known as the Cossack host in 2005 and given the rank of colonel, previously held by tsars.
A 400,000-strong all-Russia Cossack host directly subordinate to Mr Putin is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year.
The dressing rooms of the Romanov dynasty and the chambers of their maids of honor became part of the permanent exhibition at Gatchina Palace last week.
The rooms have become part of an exhibition called “The Family Members of the Emperor Alexander III in Gatchina,” which forms part of the museum collection of the former royal estate at Gatchina.
Wardrobes, trunks and other everyday belongings can be seen in the imperial dressing rooms, as well as a unique object called a wardrobe-suitcase, in which one part serves as a wardrobe with coat hangers, while the other is meant for smaller items. Such suitcases were convenient for long journeys, and reflect the new approach to the packing and transport of luggage following the appearance of trains, cruise ships and automobiles.
The interiors of the rooms designated for maids of honor were designed in a simple, formal manner that emphasized the service function of the chambers. There were no decorative elements, only essential belongings, and the furniture was often old.
My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg Topic: Paul Gilbert
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg. I have travelled to Russia more than 20 times, but this was my first visit to the Ural region.
My four day visit to the city allowed me to visit the sites associated with the final days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918.
My Russia is a series of articles which I write for Royal Russia, a unique publication that celebrates the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia in words and photographs. In the current issue I write about my visits to the Church on the Blood and Ganina Yama, including a brief history of each. I was profoundly moved by both of these holy sites and my impressions of each are found in the current installment of My Russia.
My Russia: Journey to Ekaterinburg appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 2 (2012). The article is 16 pages in length and illustrated with 20 black and white photographs, many of which I took myself.
Many people who share an interest in the life and reign of Russia's last Imperial family will never have the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg, therefore I hope that my article and photos about my recent trip will allow them a brief glimpse from the comfort of their favourite armchair.