Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the March 30, 2015 edition of The Pocklington Post. The author Peter Rogers, owns the copyright of the work presented below.
The Stewart Museum at Pocklington’s Burnby Hall Gardens has had a fascinating time over the last twelve months thanks to the ongoing success of its project in relation to Major Stewart’s brother Herbert.
As readers may recall, February 2014 saw the publication of a museum booklet, Mr Stewart and the Romanovs, based upon research into the life of Major Percy Stewart’s brother Herbert and his period as an English tutor to a branch of the Russian Royal family between 1908 and 1917.
The booklet, written and published for use in Burnby Hall Gardens’ visitor centre, featured photographs of the children of the Grand Duke Alexander Michailovitch, brother-in-law to Tsar Nicholas II, and pictures of the Tsar and his children, all taken by Herbert over this period. These were used with the kind permission of the National Media Museum, in Bradford, where the albums are housed in Herbert’s original wooden Harrods box.
At the time of publication, staff at the Stewart Museum were unaware of the interest that the research would generate but, in just over 12 months, more than 500 copies of the booklet have been sold or donated to visitors, local groups, secondary schools and private individuals, including some established authors.
There have been copies sent to the USA, Canada and Europe, to the University of Bradford library, and the National Media Museum, where they are placed with Herbert’s photographs to assist in providing further context to their own collection. Copies were even sent to His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent and Her Majesty the Queen, both distant relatives of the children whom Herbert taught, and the museum received appreciative replies from their offices.
In addition to a small exhibition of copies of the photographs, there have also been presentations on the subject to groups throughout the East Riding, with these projected to run until at least early 2016. There has also been a great deal of media interest in his story, with features being recorded for local TV and radio.
Of course, the key factor in the success of this project was the chance discovery of the 22 photographic albums taken by Herbert. It established an until then unknown link between the National Media Museum and the Stewart Museum, with the former kindly allowing the Pocklington museum to use a selection of these fascinating and unique photographs, many of which had been unseen for several decades.
The research and the publicity generated led to a number of people being spoken to, each of whom had fascinating snippets of information to help build a picture of Herbert Stewart’s life. These included Penny Galitzine, a granddaughter of one of the boys whom Herbert tutored. She allowed the Stewart Museum to use a carefully preserved letter belonging to her grandfather which he had brought with him out of Russia when the family escaped the revolution in 1919 and which he had kept all his life. There was also Margaret Revell, Herbert’s niece, who provided anecdotes and personal items which have enhanced the story and, most recently, the grand-daughter of a sailor on one of the ships involved in transporting several of the family members to England on their escape from Russia in 1919. Her grandfather had kept a diary and she sent Peter Rogers, assistant estate manager at Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum, a transcript of the relevant entry he made in his diary at that time.
However, one of the most significant elements of the project to date has been the publication of Herbert’s story in the ‘Royal Russia’ magazine in Canada recently. This journal is read world-wide by people with an active interest in the period and has resulted in an illustrated account of Herbert’s life being published alongside other academic essays and short autobiographical pieces written by members of the Russian aristocracy in the years since the 1917 revolution.
A spokesperson for the Stewart Museum said: “To be invited to write for this prestigious magazine was a great honour and certainly a coup for the Stewart Museum here at Pocklington.”
The article included the first fully published transcript of his 1917 diary preserved at the Stewart Museum and has ensured that this unique document is now known to those with a serious interest in this period of Russian history and has helped put the Stewart Museum on the map in respect of this amazing story.
100-Year-Old Photos Found Showing Private World of Russian Royalty Topic: Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
Percy Stewart, seated right (photo taken by Herbert) with the children of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich. Credit: Bradford National Media Museum.
A set of 100-year-old photos have been found at the Bradford Media Museum depicting the life of an East Yorkshire aristocrat who was once employed as a tutor to Russian Royalty.
The photos are now on display at his former family home in Pocklington, near York.
Between 1908 and 1917, Herbert Stewart was English Tutor to the six sons of Tsar Nicholas's sister Grand Duchess Xenia and her husband Grand Duke Alexander.
He was a keen photographer andcreated an archive of 22 photograph albums, now housed at the National Media Museum at Bradford, showing the daily lives of the royal children he tutored in Russia.
Family of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna in August 1914. Prince Felix Yusupov (standing, second from right) married Princess Irina Alexandrovna, (seated, third from left), the only daughter of Alexander and Xenia. Credit: Bradford National Media Museum.
On his trips home, he regularly visited his brother Percy and his wife Katharine at Burnby Hall, and they occasionally feature in his photographs. One album also features a visit by Percy to see Herbert at the Grand Duke's Crimean estate at Ai-Todor in 1914.
In March 1917, he kept a brief diary outlining the very early days of the Russian Revolution from his unique perspective. The diary is on display in the Stewart Museum, along with copies of some of his photographs.
"Mr Stewart and the Romanovs", a new museum booklet featuring a selection of Herbert Stewart's photographs is on now sale at our Visitor Centre.
The Stewart Museum is dedicated to the travels of Major Percy Stewart and the 8 World Tours he undertook between 1906 and 1926.
Often accompanied by his wife the Major visited every continent, explored remote regions and collected a remarkable range of cultural and religious exhibits. Many of these have been recognised by UNESCO as of national and international importance.
Click on the link below to watch a video (in English) on this exciting discovery:
For more information on Herbert Stewart, his diary, and the newly discovered photographs of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and their children, please refer to the following links:
Mr Stewart and the Romanovs Topic: Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
Peter Rogers holds a copy of his booklet, "Mr Stewart and the Romanovs" recently published
by the Stewart Museum, Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum, Pocklington in Great Britain
The following article was originally published in the March 6th, 2014 edition of The Driffield Times & Post, who own the copyright presented below.
On Saturday 29 March at 4 pm, Peter Rogers from the Stewart Museum, Burnby Hall Gardens will be giving a talk on the life of Herbert Stewart, who was tutor to the children of the Tsar of Russia’s sister between 1908 and 1917 in the years before the Russian Revolution.
The presentation at Hutton Cranswick Methodist Church will highlight research recently completed by him which has resulted in the discovery of 22 of Herbert Stewart’s photograph albums from the period at the National Media Museum at Bradford. Peter will show a number of these photographs as part of the presentation, many of which have not been seen before by the general public (courtesy of the NMM).
This talk will be given in aid of Hutton Cranswick Chapel funds and will cost £3. Light refreshments will be provided.
In March 1917, Herbert Stewart began writing a short series of diary entries that provide an eye-witness account of the early days of the Russian Revolution in Petrograd. At first-hand, he saw how order broke down, how attempts were made to restore it, and the ultimate fall of the Romanov dynasty which had ruled the country for over 300 years.
From July 1908, Herbert Stewart had lived and worked in Russia as an English tutor, where he was employed by the Grand Duke Alexander Michailovitch, brother-in-law of Tsar Nicholas II.
Herbert Stewart was born in 1866 and was elder brother of Major Percy Marlborough Stewart, the owner of Burnby Hall at Pocklington. A gifted academic, he became a tutor.
His charges were the sons of Grand Duke Alexander and his wife Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, sister of Tsar Nicholas II. The Grand Duke had met Herbert in Biarritz a number of years earlier and had taken a liking to him. He told him that when he had sons he would invite him to become their tutor. He kept his promise.
There were six boys: Princes Andrei, Feodor, Nikita, Dmitri, Rostislav and Vasili.
Herbert Stewart's diary. Photo: Stewart Museum, Pocklington
They had an elder sister, Princess Irena, who, in February 1914, married Prince Felix Youssoupov, best known as one of the assassins of Grigory Rasputin.
Living as part of their household in their palace in Petrograd, and on the family estate at Ai-Todor in the Crimea, Herbert Stewart was in a unique position to photograph one of the highest ranking aristocratic families in pre-revolutionary Russia.
His intimate family portraits record family picnics, hunting trips, horse riding, fishing, swimming, sledging, and visits by relatives and friends. They also include informal shots of Tsar Nicholas II and his children, with whom the Grand Duke’s family had regular contact.
It is hard not to look at these photographs and reflect on the fact that within a few short years the carefree lives depicted in so many of them would be gone forever, swept away in the cataclysmic events of the Russian Revolution.
Twenty-two albums of Herbert Stewart photographs were preserved and are now housed in the National Media Museum, Bradford. They are still kept in a large wooden Harrods box owned by him.
The sons of Grand Duke Alexander appear to have been very fond of Herbert Stewart. He seems to have been rather eccentric. In one recorded episode, it is recorded that he was in the habit of sleeping with the window open and an electric blanket turned on. He considered giving one of these to the Tsarina but, after his own caught fire, decided against it!
In the autumn of 1916, Herbert Stewart’s photographic record ends, and there is a gap until Thursday 8th of March 1917, when he begins writing a short diary, perhaps realising that he is witnessing an important historical event from a unique perspective.
The diary is now in the Stewart Museum at Burnby Hall Gardens, Pocklington. This selection of entries illustrates the momentous events taking place and hints at how these were closely impacting upon Grand Duke Alexander’s family:
Monday March 12th - “Much shooting and many disturbances in the streets. Some regiments joined the revolutionaries. Officers walking were disarmed. Prison opened. Police stations attacked. Prison close to the Palace attacked by large crowds – much shooting all round. Palace guarded till evening when guard removed… Much uncertainty about everything…”
Thursday March 15th - “Streets more or less quiet – constantly patrolled by motors...Soldiers took all guns and ammunition from the palace including sporting weapons. Not altogether unlikely that they were simple thieves as they stole boots and other things as well…”
Sunday March 18th – “…Many people in streets and processions headed by red flags going to Duma with various demands. One asking for division of crown lands. Saw no disturbances. More istvostchiks and sleighs about today. Prayer in church for governing powers of Russia. Heard that the Empress Maria had gone to her son. Our palace is guarded by sailors now, night and day”.
Grand Duchess Xenia, along with her husband and their children, all avoided the terrible fate that befell her brother the Tsar and his family. They all escaped the Russian Revolution, the majority of them on the British battleship HMS Marlborough in April 1919.
They subsequently settled as exiles in England, France and the United States of America.
Herbert Stewart largely lived abroad for the remainder of his life, residing in Navareux in the Basse-Pyrenees. His niece Margaret Revell recalls last seeing him on a visit to England in 1957, although by that time he was unwell.
He died in 1960.
For more information on Herbert Stewart, his diary, and the newly discovered photographs of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and their children, please refer to the following link;
The following article was originally published in the February 17th, 2014 edition of The Yorkshire Post. The author is not noted, however, The Yorkshire Post own the copyright presented below.
Within a few short years their carefree lives would be distant memories, swallowed up in the violence of the Russian Revolution.
The murder of the Russian Imperial family helped shape early 20th century history, but the story of a Yorkshireman who tutored the young offspring of Tsar Nicholas II’s sister, and captured a unique record of a lost world in photos, is barely known.
Until staff at Burnby Hall in Pocklington started doing some research last year, little was known about Herbert Stewart, the younger brother of the East Yorkshire property’s owner Percy Stewart.
Their collection included a wallet containing Russian roubles, a diary providing brief details of the early days of the Russian Revolution and a calling card announcing “Herbert Stewart, English Tutor to His Imperial Highness, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich”.
But research revealed the existence of a collection of photographs taken by Mr Stewart, still in their original Harrods box, at the National Media Museum in Bradford. In all there were 22 albums containing hundreds of beautifully-shot photographs of the young charges of Mr Stewart, who spent a decade in Russia until the cataclysmic events of 1917 and 1918.
Photo: Grand Duke Alexander Mikhhailovich (seated centre), with his wife, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (standing left), with their seven children, and Xenia's youngers sister, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (standing right).
Mr Stewart captured the boys dressed in naval uniforms, horse-riding, fishing and swimming, and in winter sledging on their families’ vast estates. On a trip to England with their mother Grand Duchess Xenia, Mr Stewart recorded the children in white shorts, tops and sunhats paddling on the beach at Bognor Regis.
In Russia they were sometimes joined by Tsar Nicholas II, his daughters and their only son, the Tsarevich Alexei, heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire, who were to be murdered by the Bolsheviks in July 1918.
“We came across the existence of Herbert Stewart’s photo albums quite by chance,” said assistant estate manager Peter Rogers. Towards the end of 2013, his diary was loaned to the Treasure House at Beverley and it was background research which revealed the existence of these albums.
At the time it was fashionable for the highest-ranking Russian families to employ English nannies and tutors. The Tsar himself employed a Yorkshireman called Sidney Gibbes. Mr Stewart met the Grand Duke in Biarritz when he was a young man and made a good impression.
“The Grand Duke told him that when he had sons he would invite him to be their tutor,” said Mr Rogers, who has published a new booklet called Mr Stewart and the Romanovs. He was as good as his word and Mr Stewart went to work for him in July 1908.
“Living as part of their household, Stewart was in a unique position to photograph one of the highest-ranking aristocratic families in pre-revolutionary Russia,” Mr Rogers added. “It’s hard not to look at them and reflect that in a few short years it would all be gone.”
Mr Stewart’s glittering life in Russia came to an end when the Revolution took hold. He recorded in his diary on March 16, 1917, that there was “heavy depression” at 106, Moika, the family’s palatial home in Petrograd. The family left for the Crimea the following month and Stewart left Russia at the end of the year. In a letter he wrote to one of the boys, Dmitri, hoping that there would be no more “unpleasantness” and that the Allies would “go into Russia, quell the Bolsheviks and help the Russians form a stable Government”.
But it was not to be. The Russian Imperial Romanov family, including their four daughters and their son and all those who chose to accompany them into exile were shot in Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.
Grand Duchess Xenia, along with the Grand Duke and the children, escaped and settled as exiles in England, France and the US. Dmitri later became a Royal Naval officer and Stewart lived the remainder of his life in the Basse-Pyrenees. He died in 1960, the same year as Grand Duchess Xenia.
Monument to Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Topic: Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
A monument to the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich (1866-1933) was unveiled this week at the Krestovsky Yacht Club in St. Petersburg. The ceremony was attended by Prince Dmitry Romanovich (born 1926).
The grand duke is remembered for his outstanding service to Russia's army, navy and air force during the Tsarist years. Alexander or "Sandro" as he was known to members of the Russian Imperial family, also served as patron for the sailing school on the banks of the Maly Neva 125 years ago.
Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich married the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (eldest daughter of Emperor Alexander III, and sister to Emperor Nicholas II) on 6th August [O.S. 25th July], 1894. He was one of the few grand dukes to have escaped the Red Terror in which many members of the Romanov family were murdered by the Bolsheviks.
During his years in exile in Paris, Alexander penned his memoirs in two volumes, as well as other books on royalty.
The monument was created by the famous Russian sculptor, Albert Charkin, and shows the grand duke looking out onto the Gulf of Finland.
For more information about this monument, please refer to the following article and video posted on 23rd March, 2012;
Bust of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes, 37 seconds. Topic: Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
A new bust of the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich is being created by sculptor, Albert Charkin.
Grand Duke Alexander, was the son of the Grand Duke Mikhail Nicholayevich and Grand Duchess Olga Feodorovna. In 1894, he married the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, eldest daughter of the Emperor Alexander III and the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The couple had seven children, many of whose descendants are alive today. Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich is known for his memoirs, Once a Grand Duke (1932) and Always a Grand Duke (1935).
The famous St. Petersburg artist has always had an interest in Russian history, particularly those individuals who devoted themselves in the name of the Fatherland.
He has already created a version of the bust in clay, and will now proceed with a bronze copy. Once completed, the bronze bust will be housed at the St. Petersburg Sailing Club. According to archival sources, the grand duke was a trustee of the yacht club in the late 19th century.