Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Servants, Friends and Retainers => Topic started by: Almedingen on April 13, 2004, 02:58:00 PM

Title: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Almedingen on April 13, 2004, 02:58:00 PM
Does anyone know if there are any pictures of Madeleine Zanotti?

Also, why do we know so much about what happened to many of the other servants, but not much about her?

Where was she during the captivity in the Alexander Palace, Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg?
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Janet Whitcomb on April 20, 2004, 05:53:27 PM
I have FOTR with me right now, so I can tell you she's mentioned twice in that book: (1) described on p. 4 as "first lady's maid to the empress" and (2) on p. 60 as having arrived in Toblosk either the fall or winter of 1917, along with five other household/staff members, and that of those six only she, Gibbes, and Klaudia Bittner were admitted to the house where the family was being held.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: BobAtchison on April 20, 2004, 06:12:10 PM
Zanotti was the daughter of an Italian father and an English mother.   If I remember correctly he had been some sort of a diplomat in Darmstadt - perhaps Greg knows more or can correct me if I have made a mistake here..

She spoke German, Italian and English.  She was with Alix from the time she left Darmstadt.  As I mentioned earlier she brought Alix's things to Russia after the death of Alexander III along with Eira, Alix's dog.  Zanotti was tall like the Empress.  She acted like a personal ladies assistant and really wasn't a 'maid' like a servant.

She was well-read and intelligent.  The Empress did not like Zanotti to mix with locals and did not encourage her to learn Russian, perhaps to keep her out of gossip.

She had her own rooms in the AP and servants of her own.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Antonio_P.Caballer on April 20, 2004, 08:15:22 PM
Bob,
as you told, if Zanotti was not a maid and was not supposed to mix with locals what she would do ? I assume that she did not have her meals with the family but with the other ladies upstairs. Could high rank people like Elisabeth Narishkin be included in that category?
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Nadya_Arapov on May 29, 2004, 05:00:50 AM
After the Revolution Madeleine Zanotti was employed by the Empress' brother the Grand Duke of Hesse.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: BobAtchison on May 29, 2004, 09:56:06 AM
In the palace you could choose to have your meals in your room or join someone else on the second floor (if you were not required to be with the family).  You ordered what you wanted from a daily menu - checking off what you wanted delivered to you or served to you.

Some things were standard and came everyday.  If you didn't eat or drink them in the alotted time they were picked up and sold by the kitchen staff.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Greg_King on May 29, 2004, 05:54:15 PM
I should also add that the records of the Court make note of the fact that servants, if they skipped meals at the Palace, were entitled to reimbursement since that was considered as part of their salary-in the same way that in British country houses of the era servants had things like a beer allowance, which if they elected not to use it, they were paid for as part of their salary.

Greg King
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: etonexile on March 19, 2005, 10:05:31 AM
I love to think of all the very complex layers of the Czarist court....and complex it was...from the "Master" on down to the youngest 'boot-boys' and 'skivies'...
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on September 01, 2008, 01:07:45 PM
Madelaine Zanotti was born in Darmstadt on Oct 14th 1869 (christened catholic but confirmed in the lutheran faith). Her father, Francesco Zanotti served as a footman to Alexander Prince of Hesse and the Rhine (brother of Alexandra Feodorovna's grandfather and husband of Julie Princess of Battenberg) and retired in 1900.
Her mother's name was Emma Piper.

In 1897 Madelaine - due to her father's "connections" to the court - was made the Empress's head-maid and went to Russia. She traveld to Tobolsk too in 1917 but was never admitted entrance to the Governor's house. She could only see the Imperial Family through the windows or on the balcony.
Alexandra desperatedly tried to get a licence for Madelaine in order to allow her to stay with the family.
She regularly smuggled letters to and fro - though. Interesting documents!
After the murder of the family she contacted the Empress's sister-in-law, the Grand Duchess of Hesse and asked for a new Hessian passport in the embassy.
She managed to go to France and lateron lived some time in England (Kent House, Isle of Wight). In 1920 she married - pro forma - a "parfumeur", Henry Delacroix in order to verify her status as Hessian subject. They divorced in the same year. After a short stay in Hemmelmark with Princess Henry of Prussia the Grand Duchess asked her to come to Darmstadt and she agreed in January 1923 - taking the position of a "Mamsell" in the Neues Palais were she had an own room until her dead.
She died on 16th Feb. 1941 having suffered from a severe disease.
She was buried on the Waldfriedhof in Darmstadt. The letters she got from the Empress in 1917/18 are now kept in the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Michael HR on September 02, 2008, 02:33:22 AM
Any one know what the menu was like for the staff on the day to day basis? Was there a dining room upstairs for the staff - I must look at the plans again but do not remember seeing one. Apart from the GD's room I have forgotten the layout for the staff. Perhaps the dining room was on the left wing?
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: ashdean on September 03, 2008, 06:38:03 AM
Bob,
as you told, if Zanotti was not a maid and was not supposed to mix with locals what she would do ? I assume that she did not have her meals with the family but with the other ladies upstairs. Could high rank people like Elisabeth Narishkin be included in that category?
Madame Narishkin was the daughter of a Prince and the widow of a General so its highly unlikely Zanotti would eat with her.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: matushka on September 18, 2008, 02:42:31 PM
The letters she got from the Empress in 1917/18 are now kept in the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt.

Thomas, are these letters to be published one day? If you read them, could you tell us a little bit more about the information they contained, their tone, what they revealed about daily life, thoughs, plans of the Empress? Did they used a code or are these letters written in a free style? Thank you for answer!
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 06, 2008, 05:21:05 PM
They're not to be published as far as I know - they're written in quite an open voice (as far as her jewels are not concerned - those are "Medikamente" medicines). Alexandra longed to have Madelaine with her and tried hard to get the commander's permission - without any success. They exchanged things however. Food, eggs, coffee and such. Alexandra often writes about money. It seems that she was as wise as to take a specific sum of cash with her before leaving Zarskoje Selo - the Tsar had no access to his bank accounts anymore and so Alexandra's cash was the only money they had to live with. She even had to pay their servants with that specific sum. Madelaine refused to take her salary but the Empress insisted on it - it is extremely touching to read how much Alexandra cared for her people. Others always first - despite of her own dangerous situation. I can always shake my head if people use to say she was egoistic, had no sense of duty and such....
It is simply not true and people would learn it if they's just read through the papers available in the archives.......
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: David_Newell on October 13, 2008, 10:47:02 AM
I agree Thomas, she was a devoted friend and employer, but on the other hand she could be very imperious, I think that comes from AF being a little troubled with her confidence sometimes. It can not have been easy growing up in a small court and even at Windsor or Osborne she was not in the centre of things, to suddenly be literally Queen of all she desired, not easy at all.  I would defend her to hilt about her devotion to those she loved and cared for.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on October 17, 2008, 02:25:30 PM
I think it was a matter of character. Most of the German Princess in Russia descended from small and more or less "unimportant" courts - but Alexandra had quite different views of life like for example Maria Pavlovna who enjoyed the luxurious life and being in the spotlights all of a sudden.
Alexandra was much more for intimacy
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Inok Nikolai on January 19, 2012, 09:51:46 PM
They're not to be published as far as I know - they're written in quite an open voice (as far as her jewels are not concerned - those are "Medikamente" medicines). Alexandra longed to have Madelaine with her and tried hard to get the commander's permission - without any success. They exchanged things however. Food, eggs, coffee and such. Alexandra often writes about money. It seems that she was as wise as to take a specific sum of cash with her before leaving Zarskoje Selo - the Tsar had no access to his bank accounts anymore and so Alexandra's cash was the only money they had to live with. She even had to pay their servants with that specific sum. Madelaine refused to take her salary but the Empress insisted on it - it is extremely touching to read how much Alexandra cared for her people. Others always first - despite of her own dangerous situation. I can always shake my head if people use to say she was egoistic, had no sense of duty and such....
It is simply not true and people would learn it if they's just read through the papers available in the archives.......

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas Hesse most warmly for this post and the one above!!

I have only begun posting recently, but I have been reading the Forum off and on for some years.
Thomas' posts alerted us to the fact that the Empress' letters to Zanotti were in the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt.
Since then, we have contacted the Archives and received copies of those letters and permission to publish them.

There are twelve letters written by the Empress to Zanotti while in Tobolsk.
One postcard is in Russian; the other eleven are in German.
They are accompanied by transcriptions done by Zanotti herself in Sütterlinschrift, since she felt that others might not be able to decipher the Empress' handwriting.
(Actually, the originals are easier to read than the transcripts, especially since Sütterlinschrift is no longer in use.)
The original of one letter is missing, and only Zanotti's transcript exists, so she did perform a great service in copying them.

A notation, in Zanotti's hand, on the packet containing the letters, indicates that at one time she loaned them to the Empress' sister Irene.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on January 23, 2012, 03:26:21 PM
You are very welcome!

I am happy to hear that these documents will be published and of good use for further researches in the future! I found them quite accidentally when doing some researches on another theme.

Let me know when/where they are about to be published!
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on April 15, 2013, 08:50:33 PM
I have found something on this woman you might want to know according to Ron Moe in his book "Prelude to the Revolution the murder of Rasputin" she wrote  the book "My Empress: 23 years of Intamite life with the Empress of All the Russias From Her Marrige to her day of Exile" as Marfa Mouchanow it is on archive.org
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: rudy3 on April 16, 2013, 01:59:37 AM
The improbability of Zanotti, being the author of "My Empress" (by Marfa Mouchanow) has been discussed on the thread: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why? see:
http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=15262.225
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Antonina on July 03, 2014, 11:07:49 AM
Zanotti Magdalina Frantsevna (Madlen). Alexander palace, 1913.
(http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/saltkrakan/18923016/103058/103058_original.png)
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Inok Nikolai on July 03, 2014, 05:14:50 PM
Zanotti Magdalina Frantsevna (Madlen). Alexander palace, 1913.
(http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/saltkrakan/18923016/103058/103058_original.png)

Minor detail:

Not to quibble, but M. F. Zanotti’s great-niece, mentioned above in an earlier posting, gave us a copy of this photo from the family archive where it is labeled “Livadia”.

Perhaps some of our Forum photo detectives can find the room, or wallpaper in other photos in order to determine where it actually was taken.

I. N.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Rodney_G. on July 07, 2014, 11:03:19 AM
Zanotti Magdalina Frantsevna (Madlen). Alexander palace, 1913.
(http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/saltkrakan/18923016/103058/103058_original.png)

Minor detail:

Not to quibble, but M. F. Zanotti’s great-niece, mentioned above in an earlier posting, gave us a copy of this photo from the family archive where it is labeled “Livadia”.

Perhaps some of our Forum photo detectives can find the room, or wallpaper in other photos in order to determine where it actually was taken.

I. N.

Zanotti here appears  a lot younger than I'd imagined her. I got the impression from some of Alexandra's references and correspondence that she was older than Alexandra. Do you (or anyone) know how old she was?
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Inok Nikolai on July 07, 2014, 11:26:22 AM

[/quote]

Zanotti here appears  a lot younger than I'd imagined her. I got the impression from some of Alexandra's references and correspondence that she was older than Alexandra. Do you (or anyone) know how old she was?
[/quote]

See Reply No. 8 above for all the biographical details.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Rodney_G. on July 07, 2014, 11:32:15 AM
Ah yes, it  would have helped to go back to the basics, so to speak.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Udutar on July 07, 2014, 05:05:59 PM
Zanotti Magdalina Frantsevna (Madlen). Alexander palace, 1913.
(http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/saltkrakan/18923016/103058/103058_original.png)

Based on the style of the blouse she's wearing it looks like this picture was taken earlier than 1913. Maybe 1903 or something like that.
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Joanna on July 18, 2016, 10:04:10 AM
Madelaine Zanotti's photo identity card in the Winter Palace:

https://winterpalaceresearch.blogspot.ca/2016/07/ladys-maid-kamer-jungfer.html

Joanna
Title: Re: Madeleine Zanotti
Post by: Inok Nikolai on July 20, 2016, 09:30:07 AM
Madelaine Zanotti's photo identity card in the Winter Palace:

https://winterpalaceresearch.blogspot.ca/2016/07/ladys-maid-kamer-jungfer.html

Joanna

Is it possible to see the actual photo card?