Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A Little-Known Palace - Schloss Bruchsal

Princess Louise of Baden was born on January 13th 1779 (OS) in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg. At the time of her marriage in 1793 to the future Emperor Alexander I, she adopted the name Elizabeth Alexeievna on her conversion to Orthodoxy.

Photograph c1895 (below) of Karlsruhe Palace, Germany

Aerial view (below) of Karlsruhe and photograph of the palace today

With the marriages of their children from the 1860s, Queen Victoria has been called the grandmother of Europe and King Christian IX of Denmark the father-in-law. Many are unaware that from the 1700s the princesses from the small Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt were the ancestresses of the royal families.

A fascinating glimpse into the Russian and Hesse-Darmstadt relationship is through Empress Elizabeth’s mother Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Amalie was the sister of Wilhelmina, the first wife of the future Emperor Paul. Her youngest daughter Wilhelmina, wife of Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hesse-Darmstadt, was the mother of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II.

From 1792 on her arrival in Saint Petersburg until her death in 1826, Empress Elizabeth wrote over three thousand letters to her mother. Many are unpublished, scattered across archives and libraries. In the reconstructed Karlsruhe Palace, the Badisches Landesmuseum exhibits the toilet set made by the Strasbourg jeweler Johan Harnish for Elizabeth. This service was a wedding present from her parents.

After the death of Elizabeth’s father Karl-Ludwig of Baden on December 16th 1801, her mother Amelie moved to Schloss Bruchsal located between Baden and Karlsruhe. Visiting Baden in 1814-1815 and 1818-1819 Elizabeth stayed at Bruchsal. Charles Edward Dodd had written in 1818 that the ladies of Amalie’s court complained bitterly of its magnificent dreariness. I am now interested to learn more, another research project!

Photograph c1871 (below) of Schloss Bruchsal

Aerial view (below) of Schloss Bruchsal and photographs of the Schloss today

Plans (below) of Schloss Bruchsal


Monday, 29 January 2018

A 1913 Dinner held in the Jordan Gallery on the 1st Floor of the Winter Palace

After you enter the Winter Palace doors from the Neva River and Large Inner Courtyard on the 1st floor, there is a long corridor [Jordan Gallery] with two rows of white columns to the Jordan Staircase.

Photographs (below) of the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace

Konstantin Ukhtomsky’s c1850 watercolor (below) of the Entrance to the Jordan Gallery
Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra and their children moved to the Winter Palace on Tuesday February 19th 1913 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The following Saturday while the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna attended the baise-main [kissing of hands with the ladies], Nicholas ‘received the district elders in the lower corridor where a dinner had been organized for them’.

Photographs (below) of the dinner held in the Jordan Gallery on February 23rd 1913 and today looking from the stairs to the corridor

3D Panorama link (below) of the Gallery leading to the Jordan Staircase [note the doors on either side of the staircase that led to the 1st floor storerooms under the Court Ministery offices]

My sister and I have climbed the Jordan, Saltykov, Small Church, Own Majesties and Commandant Staircases many times during our visits to the Hermitage. A lady-in-waiting wrote that there were 90 stairs from the 1st floor to her apartment on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace. We dare not count how many stairs we have climbed over the years!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

King Christian IX & Queen Louise Museum - Amalienborg Palace

The historic private rooms of King Christian IX and Queen Louise have been recreated in Amalienborg’s Christian VIII’s Palace Museum [upper right in the aerial view below].

Photographs (below) of Queen Louise’s Drawing Room

Photographs (below) of King Christian’s Study

Aerial View (below) of Amalienborg Palace
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark live in Amalienborg’s Frederick VIII’s Palace [lower right in the aerial view]. A book on its restoration was published eight years ago with many photographs. It is difficult to compare the design styles with its cluttered Victoriana of the past and today. The elegant simplicity and color scheme is beautiful in the photo (below) of the royal couple in their drawing room.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Amalienborg Palace – Vacant for Decades

When King Christian IX ascended the throne of Denmark in 1863, the family moved from the Yellow Palace to the Amalienborg, a complex of four mansions encircling the square. The king was given the former Schack’s Mansion, now known as Christian IX's Palace.
Aerial photograph (below) of Amalienborg Palace with Christian IX's Palace in the upper right

Their children with their families visited yearly. On Thursday July 14th 1894 Nicholas II arrived from England where he had been visiting his fiancé Alexandra. ‘I rode to Amalienborg where I saw Amama [his grandmother]. I was put in the rooms at the very top’. The following Saturday a dinner for the King of Sweden was held in Christian VII’s palace.
Floor Plans (below) of Amalienborg Palace

After the death of Queen Louise in 1898 and King Christian in 1906, their palace remained uninhabited. The following series of interior photographs were taken in 1866 and 1908:
Knight’s Hall 1866

Knight’s Hall 1908

Dining Room 1908 

Yellow Drawing Room 1908

King Chrisitian IX’s Study 1908

Queen Louise’s Salon 1866 

Queen Louise’s Salon 1908

Queen Louise’s Dressing Room 1908
An inventory of Christian IX’s Palace was completed in 1948. The palace became the home of the current Queen Margarethe at the time of her marriage in 1967

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Panorama of the White Dining Room in the Winter Palace

The architect Alexander Krasovsky designed the White Dining Room [188] on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace for Nicholas II and Alexandra in 1895. A floorplan is located here: []

Photographs (below) of the White Dining Room

After the New Year’s Mass and receptions on the morning of January 1st 1896, Nicholas wrote that ‘our dining room was used for a family lunch for the first time’.

3D Panorama link (below) of the White Dining Room [note the small doors on either side of the fireplace that led to the pantry [188A] and servants’ staircase]

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Awnings on the Windows of the Winter Palace

The 1861 panorama photograph (below) is the west side of the Winter Palace facing the Admiralty.

The 2nd floor awnings [on the right] were the rooms of Empress Marie Alexandrovna, the wife of Alexander II. The middle doorway is the Saltykov Entrance. To the right of the entrance on the 1st floor with awnings were the rooms of her daughter Grand Duchess Marie who later married the Duke of Edinburgh. Below the rooms of the empress were the nurseries of her youngest sons Sergei and Paul on the 1st floor that also have awnings.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Yellow Palace - Det Gule Palæ - in Copenhagen

In monarchical circles King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark were known as ‘the father-in-law and mother-in-law of Europe’. Before inheriting the throne in 1863 and moving to the Amalienborg Palace, the family lived in the Yellow Palace on Ameliegade 18 in Copenhagen.

Photographs (below) of the Yellow Palace c1800s and today

Four of their six children would become two kings, a queen and an empress. Frederick VIII (1843-1912) who inherited the Danish throne in 1906 married Princess Louise of Sweden. Alexandra (1844-1925) was the wife of Edward VII of England. Wilhelm (1845-1913) on his acceptance of the Greek throne in 1863 became King George I of the Hellenes and was married to Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovich. Dagmar (1846-1928) converting to Orthodoxy at her marriage to the future Emperor Alexander III adopted the name Maria Feodorovna. The two youngest children were Thyra (1853-1933) married to the Duke of Cumberland and Valdemar (1859-1939) to Princess Marie d’ Orléans-Bourbon.

Photographs c1861 (below) of the salon, dining room and study in the Yellow Palace

Alexandra was called ‘Beautiful’ by her father, Dagmar ‘Clever’ and Thyra ‘Kind’. Without luxury and excessive wealth, their family life was remembered as idyllic; the children returning with their own families in later years.

Photograph (below) of Christian IX with Dagmar, Wilhelm and Alexandra
Prince Valdemar and his wife Marie lived in the Yellow Palace after their marriage in 1885. During their visit to Denmark, Nicholas II and Alexandra went into Copenhagen for the day on Friday August 27th 1899. ‘We had lunch at Uncle Valdemar’s and Marie’s in their home’.

Photographs (below) of the Valdemar and Marie’s rooms in the Yellow Palace c1897

In 1919 after the revolution, Empress Maria Feodorovna lived in the Amalienborg Palace during the winter and Hvidore in the summer. On Tuesday December 2nd she ‘went by for a little while to the Yellow Palace to Louise’s who is settled in Uncle Hans’ old apartment. Recollections of it flowed over me how in former times I used to visit him there every day. I so miss that … At 7:30 I had dinner at Valdemar’s in the Yellow Palace’.

Photographs (below) of the Dowager Queen Louise’s rooms in the Yellow Palace

The Yellow Palace was shared by family members. Prince Valdemar was the last royal to live here until his death in 1939. Today it is used as offices for the current Queen Margarethe’s royal court. A shame the historical palace is hidden in the shadows.

Photographs (below) of the Yellow Palace in 1931 and Prince Valdemar on the balcony in 1937