Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Nicholas II’s Curiosity Touring through Different Homes (2)

Cupids, Cupids, Cupids! The Rococo period of cupids was beloved by the Imperial Family in the Winter Palace.

Hau’s 1860s watercolor (below) of the Hall of Cupids in the Children’s rooms on the 1st floor of the Winter Palace.

Ceiling of the Hall of Cupids today (below).

While researching the Rococo artists of the 1700s in the Winter Palace, I chanced upon a Potsdam conundrum. Was Nicholas II aware of it?

On Wednesday October 27th, 1899 Nicholas II and Alexandra arrived at 11 AM in Potsdam for the day, departing at 9 PM.

In his diary, Nicholas wrote “… At 3 PM Wilhelm took me in his two-seater around the park to remarkable places in Potsdam. Alix followed us behind with the Empress in a carriage. I exceedingly liked Sans-Souci of Frederick the Great. We also looked over the Babelberg Palace, where Wilhelm was living …”

The era of rococo palaces originated with Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci Palace. Sanssouci or Sans-Souci (without worry) is how we are accustomed to seeing it written. It is not how Frederick spelt it on the exterior of his palace in 1874
Photo (below) of the exterior of Sanssouci.

Forget Leo Mark’s codes, Bletchley, Enigma; many have attempted for centuries to decipher Frederick’s code. What do you think it means?

Another first for Sanssouci was the idea of a private library. The Rococo bucolic times of the 1700s resulted in the need ‘to study and learn to lift the burden of leisure’.

Photo (below) of the Private library in Sanssouci.


  1. I took a walking tour of Sanssouci a few years ago, and the guid gave a somewhat muddled explanation of the inscription above the door of the palace. She said the comma after "Sans" indicated that a word was missing, the word being "God." So the inscription really meant, "Without God, care." I've no idea how true this is.

  2. Although muddled explanation (I have different interpretation of Frederick's code!), how lucky you toured Sanssouci. Did you see the Neues Palais?

  3. Dutch Wiki has an interesing answer for 'sans,souci.'

    See for yourself: https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanssouci

    Been there but did not know! Thans for another interesting post Joanna!

  4. Thank you. Dutch Wiki's explanation is similar to an historian's that I had heard about the French interpretation of the comma and period. An anagram that is still discussed centuries later!