Monday, 19 December 2016
Risqué Esmeralda in the Classroom of the Grand Dukes!
In the 1840s, the youngest sons of Nicholas I, Nikolai and Mikhail, shared four rooms on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace facing the Large Inner Courtyard.
In the 1850s, two of the sons of Alexander II would share the rooms until the age of twelve when they moved to the 2nd Spare on the southeast corner facing Palace Square.
The watercolor of the bedroom c1864 (below) shows the boys’ camp beds were placed on opposite sides;the bed on the right is hidden by the cabinet. The wall has a display of arms. A brown cylindrical ‘piece’ is prominent under the stool that I am unable to identify. Do you have any ideas what it may be?
The door on the left leads to their classroom (watercolor below).
Rossetti's 'Esmeralda' (below) would have been an intriguing distraction for the Grand Dukes during their studies!
In the 1870s, the four room suite was transformed into the 3rd Spare; dining room – bedroom, bedroom – study, classroom – drawing room.
Hau’s 1873 watercolor (below) of the Study
I continue to search on who may have occupied the 3rd Spare suite, whether family members or guests, during the reign of Nicholas II. Why did Nicholas and Alexandra never use the 3rd Spare? The rooms adjoined their apartment yet their daughters lived on the 1st floor, facing the Neva, where the noise and public exposure was intrusive.