Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Daguerreotype of the Grand Dukes c1855

A rare daguerreotype of the three younger sons of Nicholas I (below) was taken in 1855.

From the left: Grand Dukes Nicholas, Konstantin and Mikhail

Seeing the youthful brothers standing together has changed my perception of them, gathered from memoirs and documents of their later years.

Grand Duke Konstantin had appeared large in stature and character yet is the shortest.

Grand Duke Nicholas was tall with the erect slim bearing and Grecian profile of his father Nicholas I.

Grand Duke Mikhail had seemed insignificant, in height and influence, compared to his brothers and sons yet was the tallest. Mikhail and his sister Olga inherited the delicate features of their mother Empress Alexandra.

From 1840 until their marriage, the Grand Dukes lived in the 3rd Spare on the 2nd floor of the Winter Palace. They were located opposite Alexander II’s apartment across the Dark Corridor, with windows facing the Large Inner Courtyard.

The famous ‘Ship’ room, centrally located over the Guards’ Main Entrance on the 1st floor, separated their two apartments.

To the left of the ‘Ship’ were four rooms shared by Nicholas and Mikhail and to the right Konstantin occupied four rooms as the elder.

J. Charlemagne’s 1856 watercolor (below) of the ‘Ship’ room.

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