Sunday, 9 April 2017

Nicholas & Alix Engagement in Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg

On Monday, April 4th, 1894 Nicholas wrote in his diary of arriving in Coburg with Mikhen, Vladimir, Sergei, Ella and Pavel and then “… rode to the Schloss  [Ehrenburg] where we were quartered side by side in superb apartments …”

On Tuesday, April 5th he wrote “… At 4:30 Queen Victoria arrived very ceremoniously … All of us, in full dress uniform, watched all this from the windows her rooms. Having presented ourselves, we went downstairs to have tea in our rooms…” and on Wednesday, April 6th “… we went off to meet [Kaiser] Wilhelm at the station. He arrived at 6PM and also was put in our Schloss …”

On Friday, April 8th Nicholas wrote “…the day of my engagement … Wilhelm sat in the next room …”

The colored glass stereofotografie (below) of the interiors of Schloss Ehrenburg give a rare glimpse of the rooms at the time of Nicholas and Alix’ engagement.

Arbeits Zimmer (Study)

Audienz Zimmer (Audience Room)

Das Sepise Zimmer (Dining Room)

Familiensaal (Family Room)

Gemalde Galleries (Painting Gallery)

Gobelin Zimmer (Gobelin Room)

Kaiser Freidrich Zimmer (Kaiser Freidrich Room)

Kleine Bildergallerie (Small Picture Gallery)

Konigen Zimmer (King’s Room)

Roter Saal (Red Room)

Rotes Zimmer (Red Room)


Thronsaal (Throne Room)

Duchess Boudoir

Duchess Salon



  1. Very interesting! (I also see several painting that I recognize; probably contemporary copies.)

  2. Are you able to identify who it is in the portrait in the Arbeits Zimmer?

  3. Well, I definitely had my idea about that; I wasn't certain of it like the others, the copies (?) of Winterhalter and von Angeli, but it looked familiar. And after an - exhaustive - Google fest this morning, it seems I was correct that the portrait is of - not surprisingly - Ernst I, Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha. The painter is Franz Krüger, who did so much work for the Russian Imperial family. I was never able to find a large image of it, though it is still at Ehrenburg; I found a small, recent image that shows that it's now hanging in an unidentified reception room. I also found a better image (in a German online archive) of a contemporary lithograph which is a cropped version of the portrait, and definitively identifies the subject and artist. Oh, I do love "detective work"! : )

  4. Bravo! Do you know the year it was painted?

  5. Sadly, that has proven to be beyond my capabilities! : ( I found a large image of the lithograph - the closest I've come - but I don't find any date on it.

    My guess is that it was painted in 1830s, or at least after 1826, when Ernest became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

  6. Are you able to decipher the small print on the lower left before 'Fr Kruger'? Is it the identity of the lithographer?

    Ernst I may have been painted by Kruger on one of his trips to Berlin or Kruger was in Coburg/Gotha at some point. Do you know in the period 1826 to the death of Ernst in 1844 the places Kruger was living?

  7. Only some of it. I think there are abbreviations at the beginning of the line. The two words I'm sure of are "gez v[on]", which means "signed by". So that makes sense. My guess is that this line is telling us that the lithograph is based on a painting by Kruger. The print at the far right lists the lithographer. The line in the middle looks to be "... der königl. [lith.?] institut zu berlin", the "the royal [something] institute at Berlin". Can't make out the first word, and the word in the middle doesn't look to be capitalized, which make me doubt that it's an abbreviation of Lithographic. Hmm....

    I don't really know about Krugers peregrinations at that period; I'm sure someone, somewhere knows! : )

  8. Thanks for posting the stereophonic photos!

    Ehrenburg is one of the few German city palaces to survive the Second World War bombings, in the Royal Collection there are a few interior watercolours and old photos of the building, also I recommend you the small guidebook about the castle edited by the Bavarian Administration of Palaces and Gardens :)

    It seems that in 1894 the Kaiser and his brother Heinrich (and his wife, the Tsarina's sister), were lodged on the first floor, in the ancient apartment of the Duchess; Queen Victoria herself enjoyed the entire apartment of Duke Ernst II located just above, on the second floor. The Prince of Wales and Empress Victoria lodged on the chapel (west) wing also on the second floor. Not sure in which apartment Nicholas and his brothers stayed.

  9. In his diary Nicholas wrote of his apartment in Ehrenburg and moving to the Edinburgh Palais after the wedding guests had left.

    Coburg archives have wonderful drawings of the Ehrenburg and other sites in Coburg. I sometimes prefer watercolors and drawings although photos are a treasure trip through the decades of a palace!

    1. Nicholas wrote "we went downstairs to have tea in our rooms" so I guess they lodged on the ground floor, under Queen Victoria's and the Kaiser's apartments (etiquette oblige), before moving to the much more cozy (and mysterious) Palais Edinburgh.

      I've never seen the Coburg Archives; it would be nice to “inspect” them one day. I agree with you that interior watercolours are definitely the most precious items to see how were the interiors of several palaces :) Unfortunately a lot of those watercolours are still kept in private collections...