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Saturday, 13 April 2013
Rare Russian Vases Sell for $2.7 Million in Private Sale
Topic: Auctions


Jerry Holley, executive vice president of Dallas Auction Gallery, rotates a rare Russian vases made in 1833 by Russia's Imperial Porcelain Factory and on display at the gallery in Dallas. The rare 4 1/2-foot tall vases, which had been packs away for around a decade, were sold Thursday, April 11, 2013, for $2.7 million in a private sale about a week before they were to be auctioned. Photo Credit © L.M. Otero, Associated Press

Two vases produced at the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory in the 19th century have been sold in the United States for $2.7 million, a report posted on Dallas Auction Gallery’s website says, Voice of Russia reports.

The vases, dated 1833, were acquired by a private collector who asked not to be named.

Before that, they were part of a private collection of American oil tycoon Franco Battram, who bought them at an auction in Munich in the early 20th century.

Battram’s descendants decided to put the vases up for auction after their authenticity was established and confirmed by experts.

For more information on this auction, please refer to our original article posted on March 15th, 2013: Dallas Auction Gallery to Sell Imperial Porcelain Vases

© Russkiy Mir. 13 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:06 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 13 April 2013 12:50 PM EDT
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Friday, 12 April 2013
Archive of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Moves to Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Tsarskoye Selo’s collection of items from the American descendants of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich is to be increased with over 100 photographs, letters, dozens of books, and paintings and portraits of close relatives to the Tsar’s family.

The generous gift is from Michael Romanoff Ilyinsky who has made another generous donation of items related to his grandfather, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, the grandson of Emperor Alexander II and cousin of Emperor Nicholas II.

The handover ceremony, timed to celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, has taken place in New York. The Act of Donation was signed by Mr. Romanoff Ilyinsky and Consul General Mr. Igor Golubovsky of the Russian Federation.

The archive and other items, including the portraits of Grand Duke Dmitri (see above left) and Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fiodorovna (above right), will join our exhibition The Romanovs: From Tsarskoye Selo to Cincinnati, which will run at the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace from July 17th to September 30th, 2013.

The exhibition will highlight Grand Duke Dmitri. He is known to have had to leave Russia after the assassination of Rasputin in December 1916 and move to Persia; there he was in military service and then learned of the 1917 revolution. Afterwards Dmitri lived in London, Paris and Davos where he died in 1942.At the exhibition, that period of his life will be reflected in numerous photographs taken by the Grand Duke and in his “home videos” of the 1920s–1930s.

As Mr. Romanoff Ilyinsky said in New York, “The items I am handing over to the Museum are the personal belongings and materials related to the life of my grandfather, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich. These are only part of the family archive. The remainder will gradually return to Russia. It’s a common decision of Dmitri’s descendants.”

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 12 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:23 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 April 2013 8:31 AM EDT
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Thursday, 11 April 2013
French Cathedral Declared Russian Property
Topic: Russian Church



A French Court has ruled that one of the country's largest cathedrals is actually the property of Russia as it was paid for by Tsar Nicholas II. 

France’s Court of Cassation has upheld Russia’s ownership of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, thus making the final decision over a seven-year dispute, AFP reports on Thursday.

In 2010, the Nice Superior Court declared Russia to be the rightful owner of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, dismissing a claim by the Russian Orthodox Association of Nice (ACOR), which had managed the church for over 80 years.

The ACOR filed an appeal with a court in the French city of Aix-en-Provence and refused to vacate the church. In May 2011, the court ruled in Russia’s favor and the ACOR representatives had to give up the keys and leave, but they filed a second appeal with a higher court.

The Court of Cassation has made the case final.

St. Nicholas Cathedral, the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral outside Russia, was built in 1912 in Nice and opened by Tsar Nicholas II, who had funded the construction, in the same place where his uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich died in 1865. The land on which the church was built had been purchased by Alexander II.  In the 1920s, the church came under ACOR management, however their lease to the church expired on December 31 2007. 

In 2006, Russia decided to retrieve its property and filed a lawsuit to this aim.  The church is a popular tourist attraction with up to 150,000 people visiting it annually, according to the French media.

© RAPSI Russian Legal Information Agency. 11 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:19 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 January 2016 6:53 AM EST
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The Art of Restoration at the Moscow Kremlin Museums
Topic: Exhibitions

Photo: Cup-Nautilus. © Moscow Kremlin Museums

A new exhibition, being held in the Assumption Belfry, incorporates outstanding artworks from the Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collection, that have passed through the hands of restorers over the last ten - fifteen years. The exposition serves as a representation of the profound research and scientific work, being carrying out in the museum but still staying a veiled mystery to our visitors.

Ninety five XIVth-XXth century masterpieces, made from various materials and finished with various techniques, are exposed at the exhibition. The museums’ specialists, having mastered to perfection the art of restoration, successfully employ current technologies and innovations in the restoration industry and show an exquisite workmanship in renovating artworks and historical artifacts. Their diligence and proficiency gave us an opportunity to admire the beauty and splendour of the restored items therefore to learn more about our past.

The exhibition runs until August 11th, 2013 in the Assumption Belfry of the Moscow Kremlin.

© Moscow Kremlin Museum. 11 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:11 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 April 2013 6:18 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Help Keep the Memories of Old Russia Alive
Topic: Royal Russia

If you enjoy the daily news, videos and photographs on this blog, as well as our main web site, please consider supporting our ongoing work by purchasing our magazines and calendars (coming September 2013). The proceeds help offset the costs of maintaining this blog and web site, translation costs and much more. Plus, earlier this year, Royal Russia initiated a new campaign: Giving Back to Russia - which provides donations to Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof for restoration work and the acquisition of items for their respective museum collections. 

The magazines and calendars will be enjoyed by any one with an interest in the Romanov dynasty or Imperial Russia. Not only will they make great additions to your own personal library, but make the perfect gifts to friends and family who share your interest in these subjects.

Thank you for helping to keep the memories of old Russia alive!

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 April, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:05 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:22 AM EDT
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Romanov Treasures to Return to Russia
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Angelica and Paul Ilyinsky, in a 1999 photograph. Source: Palm Beach Daily News 

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve is to receive a collection of items from the American descendants of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich.

Michael Romanoff Ilyinsky, the son of Paul Ilyinsky (1928-2004), and grandson of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich will present the museum with a gift which includes "more than 100 photographs, dozens of books, and portraits of members of the Imperial family."

"The personal items related to my grandfather returning to Russia are only part of the family archive," said Ilyinsky in New York, "the remainder of the collection will eventually find its way home to Russia." - Source: Itar-Tass

Michael Romanoff Ilyinsky made a previous gift to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve in January of this year. The article Russia's Largest Collection of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Memorabilia was added to Royal Russia Bulletin on January 30th.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 April, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 April 2013 10:44 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013
A Russian Moment 10 - The Children's Island at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: A Russian Moment


The Children's Island is situated in the Alexander Park at Tsarskoye Selo, and a short walk from the Alexander Palace.

Dominating the tiny island is a pavilion simply known as the Children's House. It was built in 1830 according to the design of the Russian architect Alexei Gornostayev for the children of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855). The house, island and pond were all later enjoyed by the August children of his successors: Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

The pavilion contained a Drawing-Room, and four small rooms; to the right of the Drawing-Room were the Rooms of the Tsesarevich Alexander Nicholaevich (the future Emperor Alexander II) and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria Nicholaevna, and to the left the Rooms of Grand Duchesses Alexandra Nicholaevna and Olga Nicholaevna. The rooms were decorated very simply; the ceilings painted in the Empire style and in the style of Louis XVI, and included children's furniture.

The Children's Island is currently in terrible state of disrepair and neglect. During the 1990s, the Pavilion was used by the homeless and by drug addicts, who left the interiors in an appalling state. The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve have plans to eventually restore the pavilion and island and to incorporate it into the museum complex.

The Children's Island will be the subject of the next installment of My Russia, which will appear in Royal Russia Annual No. 4, to be published in August 2013.

My article will provide interesting facts and details on the history and use of the Children's Island and House based on Russian language sources, and will also include a floor plan of the Children's House and my own photographs which I took during two successive visits to Tsarskoye Selo in which I actually walked on the island to view the Children's House and the pet cemetery up close.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 09 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:28 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 April 2013 10:08 AM EDT
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Monday, 8 April 2013
The Occult in Tsarist Russia
Topic: Books

Witches had been burned at the stake in Medieval Russia, as they were throughout Europe. However by the 18th century the occult had become fashionable and spiritualist groups were common throughout Russia. Mediums and secretive societies were particularly popular during the reign of Catherine the Great. Occultists like Cagliostro ultimately ran afoul of the Empress, leading Catherine to author plays condemning the occult. But such was not the case by the end of the Romanov dynasty, when occultists such as Dr. Philippe and Rasputin wielded enormous influence. Nineteenth century literary figure such as Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky attended séances, while Pushkin shared his own family's belief in ghosts. There was even an occult newsletter called The Rebus that was published for over 40 years.

In The Occult in Tsarist Russia, author Thomas E. Berry offers a fascinating historical expose of this widespread and somewhat forgotten phenomenon; even providing some insight into how the occult might have ultimately influenced the decline of the Tsarist era.

Dr. Thomas E. Berry is a retired Professor of Russian language and literature who lectures in the Odssey Program of Johns Hopkins University, the Smithsonian Institution and the Russian Cultural Center of the Russian Embassy, Washington DC. He was granted a "Gramota," an award for service started by Catherine the Great, by the Russian Government for promoting relations between the US and Russia. He has lectured on many cruise lines and is the author of numerous books, including Memoirs of the Pages to the Tsars (translated and edited by Dr. Berry).

© PRLog Press Release. 08 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:31 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 April 2013 10:38 AM EDT
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Cossack Community Expands in Australia
Topic: Cossacks


A group of Russian Cossacks announced Monday the creation of an Australian branch and four new traditional units there.

A Siberian group of Cossacks, the Zabaikalsky Cossack Host Association, said that the decision to expand the organization was made following a request from Australia-based descendants of the Cossacks who emigrated after the 1917 Russian revolution.

The request was submitted by Australian Cossack ataman Simeon Boikov in light of “the growing number of Cossacks in Australia,” a spokesperson for the organization told RIA Novosti.

Four Australian “stanitsas,” historically villages inside a Cossack host, as a territory of Cossack settlements was known in imperial Russia, will be established in Melbourne, Geelong, Dandenong and on the island of Tasmania.

The first and only Cossack “stanitsa” in Australia was established as a cultural and historic organization in June 2012 in the town of Cabramatta near Sydney.

The local Cossack diaspora then compiled 152 people, some of whom have voiced their intention to move to Siberia’s Zabaikalsky Krai, the Cossack association said.

The Cossacks, who served as a special police force in tsarist Russia, are remembered for their role in fighting against the revolutionary side in the 1917 uprising against the tsar. Many of them fled abroad following the Bolshevik revolution.

Monday’s announcement came amid an ongoing revival of Cossack culture in Russia, though critics have questioned the authenticity of some self-proclaimed Cossacks.

© RIA Novosti. 08 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 April 2013 8:01 AM EDT
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Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St Petersburg Celebrates 300th Anniversary
Topic: Russian Church


On April 5, 1713, in St. Petersburg, in the presence of Peter I, the wooden Church of the Annunciation was consecrated. This day is considered the official founding date of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

According to legend, Peter I, surveying in 1710 the neighborhood of St. Petersburg, took notice of the place where, it is believed that on July 15, 1240, Prince Alexander scored a famous victory over the combined forces of the Swedes, Norwegians and Finns led by Birger Jarl. This important skirmish became known as the Battle of the Neva, for which Prince Alexander became known as Alexander Nevsky. Peter I ordered that a monastery in honor of the Holy Trinity and St. Alexander Nevsky be built at this site.

In 1714, monastic cells were built here and monastic communal life started. In 1720 under the monastery was opened a printing house, and later – the Theological Academy, which still operates. In 1722, in accordance with the project of Domenico Trezzini the wooden Church of the Annunciation was replaced by the Church of the Annunciation of the Holy Mary – the oldest church of St. Petersburg. On September 10, 1724, the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky were transferred here from Bogolyubski Nativity Monastery in Vladimir. Here they had stayed until 1790, and then were moved to the new Holy Trinity Cathedral, where they remained until 1922.

Construction work at the monastery lasted almost until the end of the 18th century. Metropolitan House, House of Bishops, the new buildings were constructed. In 1776, under the direction of the architect I. E. Starov, started the creation works of a new monumental Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. In addition to the Trinity Cathedral, Starov designed a round square at the entrance to the monastery, built the Gate Church, which completes the perspective of Nevsky Prospekt, the stone wall and two corner houses and building of the almshouses at the entrance to the square.

On December 29, 1797, Emperor Paul I ordered the Holy Synod to rename the Alexander Nevsky Monastery “into Lavra with the staff equal to the one of Kiev-Pechersk and Trinity St. Sergius.”

From the very beginning of St. Petersburg’s existence, Alexander Nevsky Lavra became the burial place for outstanding statesmen and public figures, representatives of art and culture. The ensemble of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra contains three cemeteries: Tikhvin, existing from 1823, Nikolsky, founded in 1861, and Lazarevskoye.

Numerous cultural figures were laid to rest at the monastery, including Alexander Suvorov, Mikhail Glinka, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and many others.

After the October Revolution of 1917 the monastery was abolished and its church closed, and countless relics and works of art were transferred to the Russian Museum, State Hermitage Museum and other museums of St. Petersburg.

In 1957, Holy Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church as a parish church. June 3, 1989, the cathedral received back the relics of St.. Alexander Nevsky. In 1987, St. Nicholas cemetery church opened. In the summer of 1995 Holy Spirit building was partially returned to the St. Petersburg diocese. The final transfer of all the Lavra buildings to the Diocese took place April 18, 2000.

© Russkiy Mir. 08 April, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:52 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 April 2013 7:55 AM EDT
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