Paul Gilbert - Bookseller - Rare & Second-Hand Books on Russian Royalty
THE ROMANOV FAMILY ALBUM
Picture Research & Descriptions by Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey
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One of the little-known wonders if Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a collection called The Romanov Family Albums." Bound in leather that is brittle and peeling with age, the albums comprise six volumes whose leaves have been mounted with the most intimate set of photographs of the Imperial family to survive the holocause of the Russian Revolution. The volumes and their contents belonged to Anna Vyrubova, the close friend and confidant of Empress Alexandra. A unique witness to history, Anna Vyrubova followed the family of Nicholas II throughout the year, comforted his Empress in her trials over the frail health of the hemophilic Tsarevich, and photographed their most intimate moments together. It is to the memoirs and photographic albums of Anna Vyrubova that the editors of the present book have gone for the words and images that together make an extraordinary portrait of an apparently typical Edwardian family pursuing the pleasures of the privileged classes: walking in the country, playing tennis, sledding in Russia's winter snows, shooting stags in Poland, taking tea, and picking berries in the forests of the Crimea and on the Baltic shores.
This, however, was no ordinary Edwardian family living in the lap of luxury, disarming as this impression may be. Nicholas II reigned as the autocrat of the mightiest Empire on earth; his word was law, his person God-like to millions of his subjects, his personal fortune and properties beyond calculation. When he cruised the high seas with his wife, son, and found daughters on the most splendid of all royal yachts, the Standart, battleships cleared the way for their Imperial presence.
Millions of lines have been written on the last days of the Romanovs--the extravagence at court, the weakness of the government, the Rasputin scandal, the brutality of the final exile and execution. The official life of these historic times was captured by court photographers and the first photo-journalists. But none of these professionals had access to the every day life of Russia's benevolent despots. Only the Romanov albums--with their old snapshots pasted in by Anna and her royal neighbours during the long nights of winter--reveal the paradoxically simple life at palaces in and aroundmSt. Petersburg, at Livadia in the Crimea, at Spala (the hunting lodge in Poland), and on cruises aboard the Imperial yacht in happy and tragic times. The last chapter of this book showss the Tsar on the battlefield, the Tsaritsa and the Grand Duchesses nursing the wounded; it closes with the only known pictures of the family together awaiting death in Siberian exile.
Nearly 200 rare and touching documents, many published for the first time, transmit an unforgettable portrait of a deceptively carefree life on the brink of a volcano. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie, whose timeless classic Nicholas and Alexandra is considered the definitive work on the twilight of the Romanov dynasty, writes again about this ill-fated clan in a lengthy and fascinating introduction that also tells how a remarkable treasury of historic photographs reached the American shore.
BINDING: Large Hard Cover Edition
SIZE: 11-1/4" x 10"
NO. PAGES: 127
ILLUSTRATIONS: 178 Black & White Photos
CONDITION: this is a second-hand copy in excellent condition, complete with dust jacket.
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REGULAR PRICE: $75.00 CAD
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