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Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility, St. Petersburg in 1913
Topic: Nobility

Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility in St. Petersburg on 23 February 1913 | Artist: Dmitry Nikolaevich Kardovsky (1915)
In honour of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, Saint Petersburg’s nobility hosted a grand ball at its Assembly Hall located on Mikhailovskaya Street, on the 23 of February 1913. Attended by more than 3200 guests, it was the last large-scale celebration of the tsarist era. The ball began at half past nine, with the arrival of the Emperor and Empress, along with other members of the Russian Imperial family, taking their places in the Imperial Box. The ball was opened with the polonaise from the opera Life For the Tsar by M.I. Glinka, which was performed by the ball orchestra of the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment. Emperor Nicholas II danced with V.A. Somova, the wife of Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna - with S.M. Somov, Saint-Petersburg district marshal of nobility. After the polonaise other dances took place, including waltz, quadrille, cotillion, mazurka with a large number of natural flowers and bright ribbons. 

The magnificent watercolour work, depicting the scene of the jubilee ball, became one of the few large-format works of Dmitry Nikolaevich Kardovsky, an outstanding Russian artist. Kardovsky, a student of P.P. Chistyakov and I.E. Repin in Saint Petersburg Art Academy, and of professor A. Azbe, was a famous Russian illustrator, genre painter, theatre painter. The Hermitage work Ball at the Assembly Hall of the Nobility, was executed according to examples of academic multi-figure composition, each character of which is portrayed with photographic accuracy and psychological authenticity. 

In the Imperial Box are members of the Imperial family - Nicholas II, Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (Junior), Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich. Among those dancing are Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, a younger sister of the emperor, dancing with her cousin Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich; as well as P.M. Raevsky, master of the ceremonies of the court, N.S. Voevodsky, one of the first Russian military pilots. In the crowd of people were numerous politicians and statesmen, among them - A.G. Bulygin state secretary, who was the head of the Committee on preparation for the celebration of the Romanov’s house 300-year anniversary, Prince A.A. Bobrinskiy, Prince D.I. Tolstoy, director of the Hermitage; chief master of the court A.S. Taneyev, a composer.

At the centre of the composition 17-year old Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, wearing a white gown with red sash, is waltzing with Prince Ivan Nikolaevich Saltykov (1870-1941), this was the first ball attended by the eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II.

Grand Duchess Olga wrote about the ball in her 1913 diary:

"At 9.15 with Papa and Mama went to the Assembly of the Nobility. Sang hymns, said speeches, and had bread-and-salt. After the polonaise I walked with Count Sivers [illegible]. After that dancing started. I danced a lot - it was so much fun. A ton of people. Saw N. P. (with whom I spoke with on the telephone in the afternoon), his brother, Count B-B, and lots more friends. Mama left in the middle of it. Papa and we left at 11.45. It was so beautiful. I danced a quadrille with Zinovyev, a mazurka - with Oleg K., and other dances with a lot of officers. My first ball."

Source: The Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaievna - 1913
Translated by Marina Petrov, Edited by Raegan Baker
Published by Gilbert's Books (Publishing Division of Royal Russia) in 2008 - now out-of-print

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 February, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 24 February 2016 6:42 AM EST
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Friday, 26 December 2014
Descendants of Russian Emigres Condemn Russophobia in Western Media
Topic: Nobility

Prince Dmitry Mikhailovich Shakhovskoy
More than 100 descendants of Russian émigrés in Western Europe and North America including the representatives of former imperial Russian nobility and aristocrats signed a declaration denouncing anti-Russian sentiment and misinformation on the Ukrainian crisis in Western media.

The open letter written by Prince Dmitry Shakhovskoy and his wife, Princess Tamara, was signed by more than 100 descendants of Russian émigrés in Western Europe and North America denouncing anti-Russian sentiment and misinformation on the Ukrainian crisis in Western media, according to the Russky Most (literally "Russian Bridge") initiative group.

The signatories include the representatives of former imperial Russian nobility and aristocrats, whose ancestors left Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War.

“The aggressive hostility that Russia is facing right now is lacking any rationality and the double standard policy is simply exceeding any limits,” claim the authors of the message. “Russia is being accused of all crimes, it is pronounced guilty a priori and without any evidence, while other countries are shown surprising leniency, in particular when Human Rights are concerned,” they letter reads.

"We cannot accept the slander about modern Russia, the country's authorities and the [Russian] President we encounter every day," the declaration reads.

The declaration "Solidarity with Russia" was written by Prince Shakhovsky, who is based in Paris and published on the website of the Russky Most, a discussion club for descendants of first-wave emigrants from Russia.

According to the document, Russia is being repeatedly accused of various crimes without proof. It claimed that the stance taken by the West and their state media on the Ukrainian crisis and accusations against Russia of involvement in the conflict underlie the double standards inherent in US and European foreign policy.

The authors of the declaration called the strategy adopted by Western authorities and media "irrational," "ridiculous" and "destructive," stressing that they are motivated more by a policy of containing Russia than hopes of solving the Ukrainian crisis.

Descendants of Russian émigrés particularly condemned the silence in Western media about the shelling by Ukrainian Special Forces of independence supporters in the Donbas region and the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine.

The pro-Kiev forces also allow numerous attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches, acts of violence and even murders of priests, destroy temples and launch repressions against believers, the message reads.

“We cannot remain indifferent and silent in the face of planned elimination of the Donbass population, open Russophobia and hypocritical approaches that contradict the interests of European nations themselves. We hope that the countries that in their time had shown hospitality to our families will again set on the path of reason and impartiality,” claim the descendants of the Tsarist White Guard officers and soldiers.

Dmitry and Tamara Shakhovsky said that they could not stay indifferent toward mass killings in Donbas.

As many as two million so-called Russian émigrés fled from Russia and Ukraine between 1917 and 1920. Large communities of such émigrés and their descendants have developed in Berlin and Paris. 
© Russia Today, Sputnik International and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 December, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:44 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014 9:51 AM EST
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Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Descendants of the Sheremetevs Meet in St. Petersburg
Topic: Nobility

 Pyotr Sheremetev

Descendants of the Sheremetv dynasty have gathered in St. Petersburg to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Fountain House. Fourteen members of this renowned noble family, citizens of France, the US, Morocco and Russia, gathered in the Northern Capital for this occasion.

The delegation is headed by Pyotr Sheremetev (Pierre Chérémetieff according to his French passport), chairman of the Russian Musical Society in Paris, rector of the Sergei Rachmaninoff Russian Conservatory of Paris (Conservatoire russe de Paris Serge Rachmaninoff) and honorary chairman of the International Council of Russian Compatriots. Pyotr Sheremetev is the great grandson of Count Sergei Sheremetev – a member of the State Council of the Russian Empire, archeologist, historian and honorary member of the Academy of Sciences.

The guests visited the Sheremetev Palace, which belonged to the family for 200 years. The building is hosting an exhibit called The Fountain House: Meeting after 300 Years, which illustrates all of the periods of the periods of the history of the estate – from its founding in 1712 to our era. The Sheremetevs saw the personal items of their ancestors, the family’s renowned gun collection as well as family relics – icons which belonged to the family over the course of many years.

Today, December 18, the descendants of the Sheremetev family will visit the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra. One of the monastery’s vaults is the final resting place of eight members of the family. A memorial service will be held by Nazary, Vicar of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, Vicar of the St. Petersburg Eparchy and Bishop of Vyborg.

© Russkiy Mir. 18 December, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:29 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:32 PM EST
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Thursday, 28 June 2012
Tolstoy's Great-Great-Grandson Appointed Cultural Adviser to Putin
Topic: Nobility


Vladimir Tolstoy, the great-great-grandson of Leo Tolstoy, has been appointed a cultural adviser to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The appointment was made in May, shortly after Putin returned to the Kremlin as president after serving as the prime minister for four years.

Since 1994, Vladimir Tolstoy has been the director of Yasnaya Polyana, the writer's estate and museum. Situated near the city of Tula, south of Moscow, the writer's house and grounds were turned into a museum in 1921. Leo Tolstoy's daughter, Alexandra, was the first director of the museum, where the writer is buried. The house and grounds are famous for preserving the atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russian country life.

In his new role as a cultural adviser to the president, Vladimir Tolstoy told The Art Newspaper that he will be addressing a range of cultural issues, from literature to music, theatre, cinema and museums, especially those in protected zones such as Tolstoy's museum.

While he was the director of the museum, he made it more accessible to tourists, scholars and Tolstoy family members, whom he gathers there regularly for reunions. Tolstoy's wife, Yekaterina Tolstaya, who has worked at the museum for years, has been named its new director. She told the Russian media that one of her first tasks as the director will be to build a store for the estate's collection. Museum stores have become a sticking point for Russian museums, and the question has been addressed by Putin at meetings with museum directors and the minister of culture.

Tolstoy told The Art Newspaper that stores are “a ripe, even over-ripe topic”, as so many museums are forced to keep their collections in poorly equipped memorial buildings. He said that he had managed to get Yasnaya Polyana on a federal funding programme to help build a museum store and visitor centre by 2018.

Tolstoy said he did not take on the role of adviser solely to advance the Tolstoy museum's cause, but that he will be keeping a close eye on the situation there. Vladimir Gruzdev, the regional governor of Tula, visited the estate in June and said that Leo Tolstoy must be promoted as the region's greatest brand for developing the local economy through tourism.

One of Vladimir Tolstoy's suggestions, supported by Gruzdev, is to unite the towns and villages surrounding Yasnaya Polyana into a single administrative entity, which would make it easier to gather support for the Tolstoy brand and to build hotels and transport links to bring more visitors to the estate.

The main house alone has reached its maximum capacity of 100,000 visitors a year (no more than 30-35 groups a day of no more than 15 people each are allowed in). Overall, 300,000 people a year visit the estate, but a museum store open to the public would increase visitor numbers.

“This way, while preserving the house and not subjecting it to any additional stress, we'll be able to increase the number of visitors to Yasnaya Polyana by almost five times, that is from 100,000 [people a year] to half a million over the next five to seven years,” Tolstoy told The Art Newspaper.

© The Art Newspaper. 28 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:54 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2012 9:57 AM EDT
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Monday, 6 February 2012
Stroganov Palace Collapses in Volyshovo
Topic: Nobility

The palace of Counts Stroganov has collapsed at the former estate at Volyshovo.

The Volyshovo estate is situated 40 kilometers south of the ancient city Porhov, an ancient 12th century fortress in the Pskov region. This estate belonged to Stroganoffs from the 1850s, when the family built a main house, farm buildings and stables, as well as a classical temple in the estate park.

The horse stables are still used to this day for the breeding and raising of horses.

©  Ð’ести.Ru. 6 February, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2012 6:54 AM EST
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Sunday, 16 October 2011
Help for Tsarist Estates a Top Priority
Topic: Nobility


The Moscow region's Culture Ministry is seeking private investors to restore and run crumbling tsarist estates 

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Russia are moving away from a traditional focus on large infrastructure projects toward more modest, regional-based activities, participants at a conference said this week.

The restoration of the Moscow region's 103 tsarist country estates--many of which are crumbling--is a top priority, Deputy Culture Minister Svetlana Gorushkina said at the conference, organized by the Association of European Businesses. Unable to afford to develop the sites themselves, she said, the ministry is seeking private investment through PPPs.

A ruined 17th-century palace more than 100 kilometers from Moscow, Puschino-on-Nara is one of the targets. If the estate were restored Gorushkina said, "it would be appropriate for use as a vacation home or a resort."

© The Moscow Times. 16 October, 2011



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:16 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2011 6:16 AM EDT
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Friday, 14 October 2011
The World of the Russian Nobility at the Yusupov Palace
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 43 seconds
Topic: Nobility

A unique exhibition dedicated to the life of the Russian nobility in the mid-19th century has opened at the Yusupov Palace on the Moika in St. Petersburg.

The World of the Russian Nobility includes costumes, porcelain, furniture, toys, photographs and art work, among other items from the vast repositories of the State Hermitage Museum.

© Royal Russia. 14 October, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 October 2011 11:27 AM EDT
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