ROYAL RUSSIA NEWS. THE ROMANOV DYNASTY & THEIR LEGACY, MONARCHY, HISTORY OF IMPERIAL & HOLY RUSSIA
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Friday, 2 December 2016
Exhibition: Matilda . . . Costumes from the Film by Alexei Uchitel
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

 
Costumes from the film Matilda on display in the Catherine Palace. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum
 
This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The preview of a unique exhibition Matilda . . . Costumes from the Film by Alexei Uchitel, was held today in the Grand Hall of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. The exhibit showcases 70 magnificent costumes from the upcoming film, including ball gowns, evening dresses, uniforms and accessories. The exhibit opens to the public on 3rd December 2016. 
 
More than 7000 original costumes and wardrobe items - shoes, headaches dresses, jewellery and accessories were created for the film. The costumes are based on historical prototypes of the late 19th-early 20th century, designed by St. Petersburg artists Nadezhda Vasilyeva and Olga Mikhailova. 

The creation of the wardrobe for this film took two years to complete, and included more than 50 sewing and textile enterprises, hundreds of masters of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, in the manufacture of fabrics and costumes. Some of the work was done abroad, in England, India, China, Pakistan and Germany. The costume crew employed dozens of experts: artists, costume designers, embroiderers, jewellers, tailors, and historical consultants. It is interesting to note that more than 12 tons of silk, wool, velvet, cloth, gabardine, calico, cotton, organza and leather, were used in the making of the costumes. The Coronation costumes were technologically produced in the same way as a hundred years ago. 

The controversial film Matilda tells the story of a three-year love affair between the future Tsar Nicholas II and the ballet dancer named Matilde Kshesinskaya. The film is scheduled for release in March 2017

The exhibition Matilda . . . Costumes from the Film by Alexei Uchitel runs until 17 April 2017 in the Grand Hall of the Catherine Palace.
 
All Photos © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum
 

 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 2 December, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:44 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 2 December 2016 10:07 AM EST
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Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Arsenal Pavilion Opens to Public at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


The Arsenal Pavilion
Photos © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum
 
This article has been revised and edited from its original by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

After more than seven decades of neglect and ruin, the newly restored Arsenal Pavilion in the Alexander Park opened to visitors on 24th August. The pavilion will house a new display The Arsenal of Tsarskoye Selo: The Imperial Arms Collection, a joint project between the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. 

The highlights of the Arsenal are the finest pieces from the Asian arms collection of Russian emperors. Like before, the main attraction of the pavilion is the Hall of Knights, which is located on the second floor of the pavilion.

With over 400 exhibits, the new museum display includes the famous 1843 oil on canvas The Tsarskoye Selo Carousel by Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet, Oriental cold steel items, 18th-19th century firearms and horse harnesses, as well as pieces of historic furniture, glassware and military uniforms.

The State Hermitage has loaned to the Arsenal some rare exhibits like a 16th-century armour set from the collection of Nicholas I, which was showcased in the pavilion during the Emperor’s time.

The first and second floor rooms now present information on the history of the pavilion and of Western European and Asian arms from the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Modern 3D technologies in the Albanian Room help re-create the historic view of the interior from a 19th-century watercolour depiction by Alois Gustav Rockstuhl. A historical video in one peripheral room introduces into the world of medieval court festivities such as equine carousels. The Spiral Stairs Room offers e-books on the history of the Arsenal, Russian imperial libraries and arms collections.

Besides rarities from the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum’s historic collection and those loaned by the State Hermitage, visitors can see 16th-17th century Western European artefacts: plate armour, helmets, halberds and swords, purchased by the museum at different auctions.  
 

 

 

 

The main pavilion of the Alexander Park, the Arsenal stands on the site of the Monbijou, a pavilion built in 1747–1750s to plans by architects Savva Chevakinsky and Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. Considered one of the finest park structures in the Russian Baroque style, the Monbijou (French for ‘my jewel’) was created in the same fashion as the Hermitage Pavilion in the Catherine Park. It was also known as a hunting pavilion as it stood in the Menagerie, a wildlife and game preserve for the imperial hunt.

After years of neglect and ruin, the partially dismantled Menagerie lost its function. The Arsenal Pavilion was reconstructed as a Neo-Gothic building with four crenulated turrets to the design of Adam Menelaws in 1817–34. The magnificent interior decoration by architect Alexander Thon delighted who visited the Arsenal. The pavilion became home to Emperor Nicholas I’s collection of Western European and Asian arms and armour, with the finest pieces on display in the central octagonal Hall of Knights on the second floor. The Emperor willed that the remodelled pavilion should be named ‘Arsenal’.

A remarkable piece of Russian 19th-century Neo-Gothic architecture, the Arsenal made the whole ensemble of the Alexander Park seen by contemporaries as some kind of romantic mediaeval setting for novels by Sir Walter Scott, whose Abbotsford House in the Scottish Borders was a great influence to Nicholas I. The imperial arms collection in the Arsenal became Russia’s first public museum of arms, with over 5,000 exhibits and several guides.

In 1885–86, on the instructions of Emperor Alexander III, the unique collection of his grandfather was transferred to the Imperial Hermitage, where some of it is now on display in the Knights’ Hall and other rooms.

The Arsenal sustained considerable damage during the Second World War and remained in a neglected and ruined state for decades. It was finally restored by RemStroiFasad CJSC during September 2014 – December 2015 to plans developed for Tsarskoye Selo in 2011 by the St Petersburg Institute for Special Restoration Projects. The cost of the works including project documentation totalled RUB 305,000,000 and was mostly covered by the federal finances.

The renovated building, now equipped with accessibility accommodations for wheelchair users, has an effectively designed reception area on the basement floor, with a cloakroom, technical and service rooms and the Introduction Hall with information on the Alexander Park and the Arsenal.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 August, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2016 1:50 PM EDT
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Friday, 10 June 2016
Petition Launched for Restoration of Imperial Railway Pavilion in Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

 
Blocks of new flats overshadow the forgotten Imperial Railway Pavilion in Tsarskoye Selo
 
This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

The fate of the former Imperial Railway Pavilion in Tsarskoye Selo is an issue which I have been concerned for many years now. I have visited the building on numerous occasions during my visits to Pushkin, even gaining access to the interior only to be horrified by the state of neglect it has been subjected to by the elements and vandalism. Numerous efforts made during the past decade to save the building have been in vain. The latest effort is being spearheaded by a local resident who fears that time is running out, and that immediate action must be taken to preserve this unique architectural monument of early 20th century Russia.
 
Please take a moment to sign the petition at the Demokrator web site (in Russian. You can use an online translator to convert to English text). Upon reaching 500 signatures, the author of the petition will receive a free legal consulation.
 
- Paul Gilbert
 
Elena Troitskaya, a resident of the city of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) has launched an online petition for the restoration of the Imperial Railway Pavilion in Tsarskoye Selo. Troitskaya began collecting signatures on the Demokrator web site. In her petition, she reflects on the sad story of attempts to restore this unique historical monument of the tsarist period:

In March 2009, the Imperial Railway Pavilion in Tsarskoye Selo was transferred to a long-term lease with the obligation of restoring the monument over a period of three years. To date, no work has been undertaken by the firm who secured the lease. Sadly, the 100th anniversary of station’s construction was only marked by the erection of a makeshift metal fence. Over the years, the fence has been constantly broken, giving access to the building to drunks, drug users and vandals, all of whom have left their mark of destruction to both the façade and fading historic interiors, leaving the building in a shocking state of disrepair. 

How long can the destruction of this unique historic building continue? Locals want to see a full restoration of the Imperial Railway Pavilion, and opened as a museum, possibly a branch of the Museum of Railway Transport, or Museum of the Romanov family. Many museums in the city complain of a lack of space for their exhibits, so some locals believe that the building would make a perfect venue for temporary exhibits.

The Imperial Railway Pavilion is an integral part of a complex of buildings created in the style of pre-Petrine Russia, built in Tsarskoye Selo in the early 20th century. This complex includes the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral, Feodorovsky Gorodok, Sovereign's Martial Chamber, and the Barracks of His Imperial Majesty’s Convoy. It is interesting to note that some of Mikhail Kurilko's paintings have miraculously survived inside the pavilion, despite years of neglect and the effects of harsh weather conditions.

Sadly, past experience in the city of Pushkin has shown that the transfer of historic buildings to private investors is often not the solution. The buildings are destroyed or collapse in the process of restoration, or simply can not be restored due to lack of the necessary funding. In the case of the Imperial Railway Pavilion, preservationists are concerned that a private owner will neglect some of the elements during the process of restoration. While they may be careful to restore the pavilions old style paintings, they may not carry out the proper restoration work necessary to preserve the delicate white stone carvings on the facade, replacing them instead with a plastic imitation to save on costs. 

These concerns raise the prospect of the possibility of the Imperial Railway Pavilion coming under the administration of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. The pavilion has a strong historic link to both the Alexander Palace, which is located one kilometre from the palace. A separate branch of the Imperial railway line and the pavilion were built at the behest of Emperor Nicholas II, who lived in the Alexander Palace. Government officials, foreign dignitaries and family members would arrive from St. Petersburg, where they would be met and transported to the Alexander Palace to meet with the emperor and/or his family.

Elena Troitskaya insists that we must not lose this unique architectural monument, we must not lose part of the historic artistic ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo of the early 20th century! Restoration must be carried out carefully and professionally by experts, urging a return to its historic original, and one which when complete would be accessible to all who come to Tsarskoye Selo.

She further proposed that the entire area surrounding the Imperial Railway Pavilion, including the imperial garages, the barracks, the Feodorovsky Gorodok and Sovereign’s Cathedral, Martial Chamber, Farm among other buildings could form an historic reserve, one which would create the spirit of a lost era, one which preserves the atmosphere of the life that flowed here a hundred years ago. 

For more information on efforts to save the Imperial Railway Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo, please refer to the following article (which includes my own photographs):

Legal Action Taken to Save Imperial Railway Pavilion at Tsarskoye Selo + Photographs

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 June, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:00 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 June 2016 8:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 26 March 2016
Lost Romanov Icon Returned to Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Icon of the Mother of God Quick to Hearken and portrait of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich
Photo © Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
 
Note: this article has been edited and updated from its original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia

An icon belonging to Emperor Alexander III’s brother, Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich (1850-1908), was returned to Tsarskoye Selo on 25 March 2016.

Preserved in the Museum’s collection until World War II, the Icon of the Mother of God Quick to Hearken has been donated to the museum by Ms Gabriele Demming from Germany. 

She and her sister, Ingeborg Schenk, inherited the icon after their father’s death in 2014. Their uncle Franz Feldhaus was a chaplain assigned to the military unit ‘I.D.58’. There are no details as to how the icon got into the man’s hands, but he was known to have used it at his unit’s field altar during services. He passed the icon onto his mother, Gabriele and Ingeborg’s grandmother, shortly before he died in Neukuhren (now Pionersky, Kaliningrad Oblast) in February 1945. The icon was later inherited by his brother, Gabriele and Ingeborg’s father.

The sisters tried to look for the icon’s original owner and sought help from Professor Wolfgang Eichwede of the University of Bremen, a well-known German historian who found this icon listed in the Summary Catalogue of the Cultural Valuables Stolen and Lost During World War II.

The icon comes from the historic collection of Tsarskoye Selo. It was registered in a pre-war inventory of the Museum and bears the inventory numbers but was not evacuated from the Catherine Palace in 1941.
 

According to an inscription on it, the icon was presented to Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich on 21 May 1875 during his second visit to the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. He stopped there during his 339-day voyage around the Greek Archipelago and the Mediterranean on the frigate Svetlana in 1875-6. He also visited Queen Olga of Greece (née Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna), his aunt in Athens.

On the way from Constantinople in July 1867, Alexei landed on the shores of Athos for the first time and witnessed the laying of the Cathedral of St Apostle Andrew. The Grand Duke presented a six-ton bell for its 40 m bell tower, the highest one on Mount Athos with twenty five bells.

According to tradition, the Quick to Hearken icon is one of the oldest icons of the Mother of God, originally painted on Mount Athos in the 10th century and now kept there at the Docheiariou, an Eastern Orthodox monastery. The later copy presented to Grand Duke Alexei was revered in the Romanov Family, especially by Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna and by the family of Emperor Nicholas II, in whose rooms at the Alexander Palace it is believed to have been kept.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 March, 2016
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2016 9:16 AM EDT
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Sunday, 20 December 2015
Clothes from Era of Nicholas II Donated to Tsarskoye Selo Museum
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Note: this article has been edited from the original by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
 
Dresses, blouses, a skirt and a boater hat make up a set of exquisite early twentieth century clothes donated to Tsarskoye Selo on behalf of the Montreal-based Slavic Culture Society Svetoch (Quebec, Canada) by its President Zinaida Volodina. These items have joined the collection of Women’s Clothing at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve.

These high-quality donations with filigree decoration were made in the 1900s and 1910s. Svetoch acquired them from private collections at different times.

‘Our Women’s Clothing currently counts a limited number of items from the historic collection that have survived or were returned to the museum after WWII’, says Ms Katherina Potselueva, Tsarskoye Selo Women’s Clothing Curator. ‘That is why the museum acquires artefacts of a particular historical period corresponding with the formation of the Tsarskoye Selo residence. Things from the early 1900s are of interest to us as means of recreating the authenticity of the reign of Nicholas II. Our displays at the Alexander Palace and the Martial Chamber are entirely devoted to that period.’

Hats and skirts are represented in the collection much less than dresses and blouses, while women’s boater hats have never been presented here before. All the donated items will be put on display.

Ms Volodina became a member of the Tsarskoye Selo Friends Society in 2006. Over the past years she, on behalf of Svetoch, donated to the museum a British late-19th-century silver photo frame with authentic 1860s pictures of Queen Victoria (grandmother of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna), Princess Alice (Alexandra’s mother) and Prince of Wales (Alexandra’s uncle, the future King Edward VII), as well as bottles of the last Russian imperial family’s favourite perfumes and sheet music with a Christmas carol authored by Emperor Nicholas II. All these materials are now being studied by the research staff of Tsarskoye Selo.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 20 December, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:47 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 20 December 2015 1:17 PM EST
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Saturday, 31 October 2015
On This Day: Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo Opened
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


The Imperial Lyceum at Tsarskoye Selo. Note the golden cupolas of the Catherine Palace Church towering above the rooftop
 
On 31 October (O.S. 19 October) 1811 in the suburbs of St. Petersburg,  Tsarskoye Selo, took place the grand opening of the Imperial Lyceum, founded with the goal of "education of young people, especially those who were intended for public service".

The initiative to create a privileged high school belonged to the Minister of Education A. K. Razumovsky and Justice Minister M. M. Speranskiy. The curriculum of the Lyceum was drawn up by Speransky back in 1808. The main place in the learning process was given to the sciences of moral and historical character.

Approved in 1810 by Emperor Alexander I «Resolution on the Lyceum," equated the new educational institution in the rights and benefits with other Russian universities. Education in the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum was scheduled for 6 years and consisted of two courses 3 years each. The first course was called the initial, the second one - final. Students were taught languages (Russian, Latin, French and German), moral sciences (God's law, philosophy and foundations of logic), mathematics and physics (arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, algebra and physics), history (Russian history, foreign history, geography), fine arts and gymnastics (painting, calligraphy, dancing, fencing, riding, swimming). The students who were preparing for a military career, in addition studied weapons, tactics, strategy and history of warfare, military topography and drawing of schemes.

The Lyceum was located in a wing of the Catherine Palace, rebuilt in 1811 by architect V. Stasov according to the needs of the institution. On the ground floor were rooms for teachers, hospital and administrative offices, on the second - the dining room with buffet, office and a Small Conference Hall. On the third floor was a Big Hall decorated with paintings on antique themes, classes and a library. The fourth floor was occupied by dormitories - rooms of students.
 


14-year-old Alexander Pushkin reciting his poem before old Derzhavin in the Lyceum
- painting by Ilya Repin from 1911, the school's centennial
 
During 33 years of existence of the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum 286 students had graduated from it. 234 of them entered the civil service, 50 - the military service, and 2 - the Navy. Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum acquired its historical glory, first of all, owing to its graduates of 1817 - Alexander Pushkin, A. A. Delvig, A. M. Gorchakov, Decembrists W. C. Kuchelbecker and I. I. Pushchin. Many of the students had become statesmen, diplomats, senators (A. K. Girs, N. K Girs, A. V. Golovnin, D. N. Zamyatin, N. A. Korsakov, M. A. Korf, D. A. Tolstoy, etc.) or scientists (K. S. Veselovsky, J. K. Grote, N. Ya. Danilevsky, etc.).

In 1843, Nicholas I issued a Decree on introduction of the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum in the general structure of civilian educational institutions. Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum was moved to St. Petersburg and was renamed to the Imperial Alexander Lyceum.

© Presidential Library. 31 October, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:00 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 October 2015 4:18 AM EDT
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Saturday, 26 September 2015
Tsarskoye Selo to Restore Chapelle Pavilion
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve announced this week that the 19th-century Chapelle Pavilion in the Alexander Park, which was almost entirely destroyed during the Second World War, is to be restored. Built to a unique design in the form of a romantic-ruined-gothic castle by famous architect Adam Menelaws, the destruction meted out to the building during the war and in the following years of neglect has taken the romance firmly out of the ruins. The pavilion has been off bounds to tourists for decades, due to the fact that the building is in danger of collapsing at any moment, which is why the territory on which it stands is fenced off to pedestrians.

The reconstruction will cost 150 million roubles, according to representatives of the museum complex at Tsarskoye Selo. The money will come from the federal budget, as part of the Culture of Russia programme. Work is expected to start in the coming months, after the Ministry of Culture and the museum complex executives agree on an appropriate construction firm to carry out the work. Then a survey of the building will be taken and immediate measures to strengthen the foundations will be implemented. 

The restoration is expected to last for a year, and then the pavilion will be used as an exhibition centre.
 


Beautiful detail of the interior have miraculously survived years of neglect
 
Built between 1825 and 1828 the pavilion appeared on the edge of the Alexander Park in the Landscape Park that was given the French name Chapelle. It took the form of a small Gothic church dilapidated by time.

Adam Menelaws’s design for the Chapelle consisted of two square-based towers, one of which had totally “collapsed”, and a broad arch connecting them. Among the deliberate echoes of the Gothic period was the architect’s installation of coloured glass in the windows of the building. Light penetrating them gave a spectral shimmer to the interior. The figures of angels at the base of the vaults were, like the sculpture on the White Tower, the work of Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky, while the statue of Christ that stood in the Chapelle (and is now in the collection of the State Hermitage) was commissioned by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna from the German sculptor Johann Heinrich von Dannecker. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia / Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 26 September, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:21 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 26 September 2015 6:29 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Tsarskoye Selo Director Awarded for Contribution to Russian Culture
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Olga Taratynova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve
 
On behalf of Royal Russia, it's many friends and supporters around the world, I would like to extend congratulations to Olga Taratynova on receipt of this prestigious award and in recognition for her contribution to the preservation of the palaces, pavilions and parks at Tsarskoye Selo - Paul Gilbert 
 
Russia’s Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky has awarded Director Olga Taratynova of Tsarskoye Selo with the Ministry’s badge For Contribution to Russian Culture, laconically describing her long-term work as ‘great’ and ‘fruitful’.
 
The award came on Director’s personal anniversary and was accompanied by a telegram with the best wishes from Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia.
 
Olga Taratynova, who became Director on 6 October 2008, took up the challenge to have the museum ready for the Tsarskoye Selo Tercentenary celebrations in 2010. The museum marked the jubilee with a grandeur appropriate to the traditions of its imperial past, completing restoration of the Hermitage, Turkish Bath and Concert Hall pavilions in the Catherine Park and the Suite of State Rooms of the Alexander Palace.  

Those accomplishments gave Tsarskoye Selo a powerful creative stimulus for new projects. The museum has restored and reopened more park pavilions (Lower Bathhouse in 2011, White Tower in 2012, Agate Rooms in 2013), expanded its collections, created Russia’s first museum of World War One in the recently restored Martial Chamber, and designed interactive children’s programs and other events of social importance (Associations, Winter Evening Of Light).

Our projects received European and Russian heritage prizes, such as Europa Nostra Award 2014 for the Agate Rooms Conservation, and Museum Olympus 2010 (including Museum of the Year) and 2013.

The ongoing restoration of Arsenal and Imperial Farm will be followed by work on the Chapel of the Catherine Palace, Chapelle, Chinese Theatre and the Alexander Palace.
 
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 22 September, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:43 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 September 2015 6:50 AM EDT
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Thursday, 27 August 2015
Pierre Gilliard's Camera Presented to Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Pierre Gilliard's camera is now in the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve.
It will be on permanent display in the Alexander Palace when it reopens as a multi-museum complex in 2018
 
The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve was presented with a very unique item earlier this week: an Eastman Kodak Bulls-Eye camera, which belonged to Pierre Gilliard (1879-1962) - French teacher to the children of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II, and mentor to Tsesarevich Alexei. It was with this camera which Pierre Gilliard took photographs of the imperial family in Tsarskoye Selo and later in exile, many of which are familiar to the world today.

The camera was presented to the museum during a ceremony held in the Semi-Circular Hall of the Alexander Palace on August 26th by Mr. Jacques Moser - a great-nephew of Pierre Gilliard - who lives in Switzerland. 

Pierre Gilliard was one of the faithful few who volunteered to follow the Imperial family into exile to Tobolsk. Then he moved with the Imperial children to Ekaterinburg, however, he was denied entry to the Ipatiev House and returned to Tobolsk. In 1920 he returned to Europe via Vladivostok. In 1922, Pierre Gilliard married Alexandra Tegleva (1884-1955) - who served as a nanny to the grand duchesses for 17 years. She also narrowly escaped death. They lived in Lausanne, Gilliard’s hometown.

All documents pertaining to the Gilliard and Tegleva, are now stored at the Pierre Gilliard Foundation in the Cantonal University Library (BCU) in Lausanne (Switzerland). 

According to Mr. Moser, his mother, who was godmother to Pierre Gilliard, inherited the camera and explains that Uncle Pierre had made all the pictures of the Russian court, and that "the emperor himself held the camera in his hands." She showed him photographs - including the one in which "Uncle Pierre" is seen with the Emperor sawing wood in Tobolsk.
 

Mr. Jacques Moser presents his Uncle Pierre's camera to to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve
during a ceremony held in the Semi-Circular Hall of the Alexander Palace on August 26th, 2015
 
According to my most distant memories, I always heard about "Uncle Pierre" and his wife Aunt Alex with who had lived in Russia. Sometimes we met with him, because he was the brother of my grandfather. I recall opening the bottom drawer of his desk in the living room, and came across a square rigid case of beige leather, which contained the Eastman Kodak Bulls-Eye camera, bought by Uncle Pierre in St. Petersburg. After his return to Switzerland, Pierre, although he was an excellent photographer, no longer used it. It reminded him of the sad years and the death of the Imperial family, the fate of which he himself narrowly escaped - says Jacques Moser.

“For us, these things are particularly interesting and important as memorabilia associated with members of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, and Pierre Gilliard’s close association  as a teacher of the Imperial children,” said Iraida Bott, Deputy Director for Research and Education at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. “The Kodak camera is sure to become an exhibit of the Alexander Palace when we open it after a major restoration in 2018. The updated exhibition will include sections on people who surrounded the last owner of the Alexander Palace,” - added Bott.

Back in 2014 the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve received a gift of a tea set and a set of table items (32 pieces), which also belonged to Pierre Gilliard. They were handed over to the museum another Gilliard relative - his niece Françoise Gaudet, who lives in Geneva. The set had been presented to the Gilliard by one of his August pupils - the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna. The beautiful tea set were made by the famous I. E. Morozova firm, a supplier to the Imperial Court.

Earlier, in 2013, Marie-Claude Gilliard Knecht presented the museum with items belonging to her aunt, Alexandra Alexandrovna Tegleva. The items included a pocket watch presented to her by the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and a brooch that her aunt received as a gift on the occasion of the 300th Anniversary of the House of Romanov in 1913.
 
For more information on previous gifts from the Gilliard collection in 2014 and 2013, please refer to the following articles: 

Silver Tea Service Returns to Tsarskoye Selo - A Gift from Grand Duchess Anastasia - includes photographs + VIDEO

Gilliard Gifts Presented to Tsarskoye Selo - includes 8 photographs

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve / Translated and Edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 27 August, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:26 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 27 August 2015 7:48 AM EDT
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Thursday, 23 July 2015
Exhibition: Court Perfumer at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


A unique exhibition opened at Tsarskoye Selo on 13 July. Court Perfumer is an interactive exhibition laboratory, on display in the Grottoes in the basement of the Cameron Gallery. The exhibit is a joint project presented by the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve and the St Petersburg Perfumers Guild. 

Special video information in Russian, English and Chinese introduces visitors to the history of Russian perfumery during the eighteenth to the early twentieth century, giving facts about perfume etiquette and secrets of perfume creation.

On display are interesting archive materials and images of old perfume bottles and early twentieth-century advertising pamphlets. Visitors can also sample the fragrances of some lost perfumes from the Tsarist Russia, reconstructed by modern experts from archived recipes. The fragrances on display are those preferred by Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, their four daughters Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and their son Tsesarevich Alexei.

During the exhibit,  St Petersburg Perfumers Guild will launch a new line of scents associated with St. Petetsburg, including the Catherine Park of Tsarskoye Selo fragrance. A pilot consignment of the souvenir scent is expected to be made available at the museum in the near future.

According to Oksana Chernyshova, the Guild’s president, the ‘spirit of the park’ is a well-balanced blend of wildflowers and herbs – like the regular Decorative Parterre of the Granite Terrace amid a meadow in the landscape area of the Catherine Park, which served as the inspiration. ‘A tiny drop of it on your wrist or handkerchief will bring back memories of this beautiful place’.  

Director Olga Taratynova of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve says, ‘Millions of our visitors take with them some amber and other souvenirs, photo albums and books. This souvenir scent gives them something more. It combines the emotions and visiting experience with the unique energy of Tsarskoye Selo. It’s an imaginary travel back in the time of Catherine the Great, into a fragrant meadow that she has just crossed. We are so glad that the perfumers were inspired by the Catherine Park, one of the most beautiful places on Earth’.

The exhibition: Court Perfumer runs from 13 July to 30 September, 2015 in the Cameron Gallery at the Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 July, 2015
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:15 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 July 2015 8:25 AM EDT
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