Thursday, 15 February 2018

Empress Alexandra’s Glass Cabinet of Fabergé in the Winter Palace

Empress Alexandra displayed her Fabergé Easter Eggs and other precious objects [i.e. crystal vases on the third shelf] in a glass cabinet. It was located in her Study [185] by the door to her Bedroom [184].

Photograph (below) of Nicholas II standing in front of the glass cabinet visible in the right corner
 
After the February 1917 revolution all the gold, silver and Fabergé objects were removed from the rooms of the emperor and empress and sent to Moscow.

Photograph (below) of the same view of the Study in November 1917 [note the double doors between the rooms]
 
Photograph (below) of the Study today
 
 
 
 

15 comments:

  1. They ripped the fabric right off the wall... I just don't understand people's desire to destroy....

    And how sad and bare it looks today. : (

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  2. I believe the fabric was dust and fading protection since the rooms were unoccupied. They were ripped down to reveal what was underneath such as possible secret wall safes. Joanna, correct me if I am wrong.

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  3. Just about any building from before WW1 built as a museum or art gallery, or converted into one will have had their interiors simplified. Painting curators in particular didn't want fussy detailing or patterns to interfer with the exhibits. It was easy to rationalise that it was better and cheaper not to repair or replace aging, faded or damaged wall coverings - if you compare views of major art galleries in the 19th century with views from the middle of the 20th century you can see this process. Recently there has been a trend to reintroduce period wallcoverings. House museums with intact rooms or room settings are different (but even then you can often see substantial changes). Other rooms in the palace are arranged as complete interiors but this room is now a neutral display gallery. Elizabeth Bennett.

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  4. Well of course if you don't want comments There's nothingvto be done. The site won't accept my google account sign in and the comment I posted as anonymous has been mysteriously deleted. Elizabeth Bennett

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    1. I am very interested in your comments Elizabeth. Blogger is a marvelous tool, easy to use to post allowing me to concentrate on my research.

      Each person is able to delete their own comment. I am unable to see what happened with your original comment but I welcome all comments.

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  5. Joanna, do you do when the first photo was taken?
    Petra

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    1. On Facebook, one reader has related a story of Nicholas coming into the room and hiding behind the lady as a joke.

      The lady-in-waiting is unidentified as yet. The time frame appears to be c1899-1900, similar to Nicholas' photo album from that period. With the release last year of Empress Alexandra's photo albums, it will probably be identified soon by researchers.

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    2. Thank you for the time window. I think I know who she was, but I first want to check when she visited the WP.

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    3. I’m not absolutely sure, but I think that the lady in the photo was Wilhelmine Freiin von Senarclens-Grancy (1837-1912), Schlüsseldame in Darmstadt, who was called ‘Mino’ by the Empress Alexandra in her letters to her brother Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. The date might be January 1901.

      According to the Darmstädter Zeitung and Nicholas II’s diary:
      Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and his first wife, Victoria Melita, were in St. Petersburg in January 1901, probably visiting GD Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife GD Elizaveta, while the Emperor and his family were still in Livadia at the time. Ernst Ludwig’s and Victoria Melita’s suite included, among others, Wilhelmine Freiin von Senarclens-Grancy and her brother Albert Freiherr von Senarclens-Grancy (1847-1901), who also held a position at the court in Darmstadt. Albert died of typhoid fever at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg on 7/20 January and was buried at the Smolenski Cemetery on 10/23 January.
      Ernst Ludwig interrupted his stay in St. Petersburg and left with the Emperor’s brother Michail Alexandrovich for England on 16/29 January to attend the burial of Queen Victoria. It’s unclear whether Wilhelmine Freiin von Senarclens-Grancy left Russia with them or stayed in St. Petersburg until Ernst Ludwig and Victoria Melita and their suite returned to Darmstadt on 15/28 February.

      Does the Emperor wear a black arm band in this picture (left arm)?

      Petra

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    4. Thanks so much Petra for the excerpt. Didn't Wilhelmine Freiin von Senarclens-Grancy visit Alexandra another year also? I need to check Nicholas' diary. I think he is wearing a black arm band. I will check a photo I have.

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    5. Wilhelmine Freiin von Senarclens-Grancy visited Alexandra at least in one other year: when Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and his family visited the imperial family in Livadia in 1912. Alexandra arranged for her to stay in the main building, instead of in a room in one of the annexes.

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  6. Do you have pictures of the icons owned by the family?

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  7. During the periods of time when the imperial family were not residing in their palaces, servants would cover the chandeliers and furniture with dust sheets. There is no documentation as yet if they also covered the walls.

    When Kerensky decided to move into the Winter Palace in the summer of 1917, they removed most of the furniture from the rooms on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, replacing with office furniture. The walls may have been covered with sheets in some of the rooms at that time. Some photographs do not show the walls covered.

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  8. If they were silk wall coverings--and I'm sure most of them were--then I imagine they would cover them, since continual exposure to light could damage the material (fading, etc.). Or at the very least, I'm sure they lowered the shades/drew the curtains in each room.

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  9. Hi Joanna, what a great find! I see the 1900 Egg in the vitrine, gifted Easter 1900, so photo must be after Easter 1900.

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