Giving Back to Russia - Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof - 2014 Topic: Royal Russia
For the second year in a row, Royal Russia has made a donation of 10,000 Rubles ($300 USD) to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve, and a further 10,000 Rubles ($300 USD) to the Peterhof State Museum Preserves. These gifts were made possible thanks to the sales of our 2014 calendar, Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family.
Since 1994, I have worked as an independent publisher and bookseller specializing in books and periodicals on the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. In the past few years I have branched out into rare and second-hand books, and currently work through dealers in Moscow and St. Petersburg to offer collectors unique titles published in Russian and English.
Bookselling and publishing are my sole means of income, I do not earn an income from Royal Russia. Therefore, I am very, very grateful to each and every one of you who support my online bookshop, because without your patronage there would be no Royal Russia.
Earning a living from my book business allows me to devote my free time to my web site and blog, even if that requires working extra hours 7 days a week. I love my work, and I trust that is reflected through my web site, blog and the publications that I produce. I am privileged and honoured to share Royal Russia with other Romanovphiles and Russophiles around the world.
Royal Russia is supported through the generous donations of people who share an interest in the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia.
It is also supported by the sale of a calendar, created annually with a unique theme and richly illustrated with rare and beautiful photographs and illustrations. The net proceeds from the sale of this calendar help Royal Russia in 2 unique ways: first, to help offset the costs of maintaining a growing web site and blog which welcomed nearly 2 million visitors in 2013, a huge achievement and a new record! Secondly - sales from the calendar now allow Royal Russia to give something back to Russia, by making a small annual donation to two major palace-museum complexes near St. Petersburg.
I have been very blessed all these years to work at something that I truly enjoy. As a result, I am now in a position to give something back to Russia. In 2013 and 2014, a total of 40,000 Rubles ($1,200 USD) has been donated to the Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof State Museum Preserves.
These donations go towards restoration work and the acquisition of items for the palace-museum collections. I am very proud that I have been given the opportunity to make at least a small contribution to each museum. I am committed to helping to preserve the Romanov legacy when and where I can, and will continue to make ongoing donations in the years ahead.
Further, I have also made a personal donation in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Children's Village at Pushkin. This wonderful organization helps orphaned Russian children, providing them with a safe place to live and grow. Helping children is a cause which is near and dear to my heart.
In May 2013, I also made a donation of books published by Royal Russia in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Holy Trinity Monastery Library at Jordanville, New York. The library includes a large repository of books and other documents on the Romanov dynasty. This is further complimented by the recent opening of the Russian Nobility Association Reading Room located in the seminary at the Holy Trinity Monastery.
Once again, thank you to each and every one you who support my publishing efforts and bookshop, as well as those who purchased calendars and/or made donations to Royal Russia. Together, we are making a difference in helping to keep the memories of old Russia alive!
A Short Summary of My Spring 2014 Visit to St. Petersburg Topic: Royal Russia
I have just returned from my annual Spring visit to St. Petersburg. During my 9-day visit I spent many hours conducting research for the Royal Russia magazine and web site. I also met with my supplier and ordered several new titles that will be featured in the Royal Russia Bookshop in the coming months ahead.
The highlights of this year's visit to St. Petersburg include:
At the Court of the Russian Emperors
The venue for this extraordinary exhibiton was the State Hermitage Museum. More than 250 costumes of members of the Russian Imperial family of the 18th to early 20th century are on display in 5 halls: Nicolas Hall, Antechamber, Eastern Gallery of the Winter Palace, Armorial Hall and Concert Hall.
The costumes and accessories on display in this ambitious exhibit once belonged to members of the Imperial family and members of the Russian aristocracy. These include both ceremonial and daily costumes, outfits for visits and horseback riding, children’s and masquerade costumes, morning and strolling attire, evening wear and ball gowns.
Of particular interest were baby clothes and dresses that belonged to the daughters of Nicholas II. Numerous constumes worn by the Tsesarevich Alexei are also on display, including a ceremonial blue velvet costume, an officer's uniform of HIM's Own Guard, a Tulle lace baby dress in blue silk (1904) and his tiny Standart hat.
Court, ceremonial and everyday dresses and gowns worn by the Russian empresses from Catherine I to the last empress, Alexandra are on display. Those worn by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorona and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna are numerous. I counted more than 30 for Maria and 18 for Alexandra! The exquisite gowns are supplemented with shoes, hats, fans, parasols and more!
The uniforms of the Russian emperors and the grand dukes are also represented. These are supplemented with display cases filled with the Orders and medals worn with their uniforms. Portraits and framed photographs hang from the walls of each room, depicting the faces of the August and aristocratic subjects of this unique exhibit.
One hall offers a large glass display case which contains 10 costumes worn by members of the Imperial family and the aristocracy at the famous costume ball held in 1903 at the Winter Palace. These include Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Prince Dimitry Golitsyn, Princess Zinaida Yusupova, among others. On the reverse side of the display case hang 18 black and white portraits of others in attendance at the historic ball.
But wait, that's not all . . . . . the exhibition continues with
Servants of the Imperial Court
Two additional rooms, the Arab Hall and the Rotunda of the State Hermitage Museum compliment At the Court of the Russian Emperors. On display for the first time are some 250 pieces of attire and accessories from the unique Hermitage collection of the livery wear of the Russian Court in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
These two magnificent exhibits rank among the finest Romanov-themed exhibitions that I have seen to date. The displays are captioned in both Russian and English and thus allowing foreigners a better understanding and appreciation of the historic items on display. The Servants of the Imperial Court exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated 400-page catalogue, in Russian only (with a 2-page English summary). I did not see a catalogue for the larger, more splendid At the Court of the Russian Emperors exhibition.
Aside from the costume exhibit at the State Hermitage Museum, the Faberge Museum was a top priority for me to see, and it did not disappoint.
Housed in the former Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka, the museum features more than 4,000 pieces from the collection of Russian philanthropist Viktor Vekselberg. The palace has been beautifully restored, the central dome and staircase are the first taste of the splendour that await in the 10 exhibition rooms currently open to visitors.
The Blue Sitting Room is devoted solely to the museum's collection of 12 Faberge eggs. Each egg stands on a plinth in its glass case in two orderly rows. The 12 eggs include 9 of with an Imperial provenance, the remaining 3 include the Marlborough and Kelch eggs.
Aside from the Faberge eggs, visitors see other examples of fine Fabergé craftsmanship, including gold jewels, silverware and ornate cigarette cases, as well as works by Fabergé contemporaries Ivan Khlebnikov, Pavel Ovchinnikov and Ignatius Sazikov. On the ground floor is another room which is currently hosting a small exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. It will close in July, as the room is prepared for a new exhibition marking the 100th anniversay of Russia's role in World War One.
To visit the Faberge Museum requires some planning. You must join a tour, individual visits are not yet available. I had to purchase my ticket in the morning, and return in the afternoon for the tour. Tours are offered in English or Russian and last an hour and a half, the price is 300 Rubles ($9 USD). Again, photography is absolutely forbidden, and there are plenty of security on hand to ensure that every one follows this rule. I was simply overwhelmed with this museum, and there is no question in my mind it will soon be one of St. Petersburg's most popular attractions.
The Alexander Palace
Each year I hop on the suburban train from the Vitebsky Railway Station bound for Tsarskoye Selo. The 30-minute ride is a bargain at 72 Rubles ($2 USD) return. Upon arrival, I immediately note that new signs reflect the recent name change which returns the historic name of the station from Pushkin to Tsarskoye Selo have been erected. Buses and taxis are available in front of the station, however, if the weather is nice then I prefer to walk, which is about 40 minutes to the Alexander Palace.
You enter the Alexander Palace through the central colonnade. Admission is 300 Rubles (9 USD), the exhibition Reminiscences in the Alexander Palace includes Nicholas and Alexandra's rooms located in the west wing, and the suite of State Halls, including the Marble (Mountain) Hall, one of three new rooms opened to the public last year, but still awaiting restoration.
Restoration work on the east wing of the palace is underway. In fact, much of the wing facing the park is surrounded by blue fencing, the grounds are filled with construction and contractor containers, workmen and the noises associated with building restoration. The new palace-museum complex is scheduled to open in 2018.
Once again, I journeyed to this magnificent complex of palaces, pavilions, fountains and parks by hydrofoil. The Peterhof Express departs from the pier in front of the Admiralty every 30 minutes. It's not a cheap journey at 1500 Rubles ($45 USD return), however, you don't have to worry about traffic congestion and one truly arrives in style!
I spent the entire day here, and took in the Grand Palace enjoying all of the magnificent interiors. I have to admit that I do have a preference for this palace over the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Admission to the palace is 550 Rubles ($16 USD).
I also visited the Saints Peter and Paul Church, where numerous Romanov events took place, such as weddings (Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna in 1894) and baptisms (Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaievich in 1904). The interiors are breathtaking. Admission is 400 Rubles ($12 USD). Photography is forbidden, however, a guide book (in Russian only) offers photos of the interiors, including the iconostasis.
Next, was the Special Treasury, housed in the former Coat-of-Arms Pavilion. Eight rooms house a collection of memorial items that belonged to the Russian rulers from Peter I to Nicholas II. The collection includes paintings, unique court costumes, furniture and jewellery, including Faberge. Sadly, many visitors to Peterhof overlook this museum, however, I highly recommend a visit. Admission is 500 Rubles ($15 USD).
I enjoyed a nice lunch in the Orangery before visiting the Imperial Yacht Museum. Three rooms tell the history of the imperial yachts, the last of which is dedicated to the Standart. Hundreds of items from more than a dozen imperial yachts are displayed in glass cases, including selections of porcelain and crystal services. The exhibit is further enhanced by a wonderful collection of vintage photographs and watercolours, uniforms, even pieces of furniture presevered from the Derzhava. Admission is 250 Rubles ($7 USD). The Imperial Yacht Museum will be the topic for My Russia, to be published in the No. 6 issue of Royal Russia (available August 2014).
During my stay, I did a tremendous amount of research, compiling pages of notes, and more than 350 photographs, some of which are shown above. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my research with Royal Russia subscribers and followers on my web site and blog, as well as the pages of Royal Russia Annual in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Keep the Memories of Old Russia Alive - Help Support Royal Russia Topic: Royal Russia
If you enjoy Royal Russia, and would like to help keep this web site growing, please consider purchasing one (or more) of the products listed in our NEW online catalogue for yourself, friends or family. All proceeds help offset the cost of maintaining Royal Russia. Your purchase also helps cover the costs of translating full-length articles and news articles from Russian (and other languages) into English. There certainly is no obligation; this is merely a request for you to help keep the memories of old Russia alive by supporting this web site and blog.
Click on the following link to review our catalogue;
Don’t miss a single issue of Royal Russia! Build your collection of our popular magazine by taking advantage of our new Standing Order service. It’s a convenient, no hassle service which ensures uninterrupted delivery of Royal Russia to your door twice a year, plus the service is free!
Since launching Royal Russia back in 2011, I have often been asked about subscriptions, however, our official magazine is not available through subscription. Instead, I am pleased to now offer the convenience of a Standing Order for all future issues of our popular magazine. Despite its name, there will be two issues published each year (a Summer Annual and a Winter Annual).
New Standing Orders will commence with the NO. 5 - WINTER 2014 issue, available FEBRUARY 2014.
A standing order means that you will receive each new issue of Royal Russia automatically, saving you the time of ordering each issue individually. This ensures that you don't miss a single issue. Plus, standing orders will be packed and shipped first!
Your credit card will be charged the amount of $20.00 + postage twice a year. There is no obligation and you can cancel your standing order at any time.
For those of you who are interested in taking advantage of this service, please download, print and complete the *Standing Order Form and return it to my attention by mail, or scan the completed form and email it to my attention at email@example.com.
*Click on the link at the top of this listing to download and print a copy of the Standing Order Form
Please NOTE that the credit card companies require that the standing order form must be signed and dated by you. This is why it is IMPORTANT to complete and sign the attachment form.
Important: Your privacy is important to us. Your name, address, telephone number, email address and credit card details will never be shared, distributed or sold to any person or company.
For more information on Royal Russia Annuals, please visit our web site;