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Our own long time friend and member here, Antonio Caballero, has donated the digital image rights to some 30 original photos of Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof, and Gatchina taken by members of the Blue Brigade during the Second World War to the State Museums of Tsarskoye Selo, after Bob Atchison introduced him to the Museum staff.  The Museum is thrilled to have these valuable images which not only record this period in history, but also provide critical information to aid in future restorations.  Muchos Gracias Antonio!

Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve, News  15.10.2013:

Mr. Robert Atchison, an American art collector and benefactor to Tsarskoye Selo, has donated some unique items from his personal holdings to the Rare Books Collection of our Museum.

Mr. Atchison is known as a great connoisseur of the history of the Alexander Palace and the creator of a very popular web site entitled Alexander Palace Time Machine.

The most precious of the donated items bears a unique super-bookplate of Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgivna (1870–1891), née Princess Alexandra of Greece, the mother of Grand Duke Dmitri whose life was the theme of our recent exhibition. Published in Paris in 1885, the book of dark morocco is De Nicopolis à Olympie, lettres à un ami by Demetrius Vikelas (or Bikélas; 1835–1908), a Greek businessman, writer and the first president of the International Olympic Committee. Its bookplate, a gold-embossed monogram “AG” placed under the Russian imperial crown, has been previously unknown to specialists  and had no reference.  

One more book, Geneviève: histoire d'une servant by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869), has a bookplate of Grand Duke Alexander Nikolayevich – an engraved monogram “AN” under the sunbeam-circled imperial crown, and the typed inscription Bibliothèque de Tsarsrkoe-Selo". Published in 1851 in Paris, it was sold from the Alexander Palace in the 1930s and went to the West.

The two other calico-bound books are On desert altars of the early 1900s by Norma Lorimer and The millionaire girl, and other stories of 1908 by Eliza Margaret J. Humphreys a.k.a. Rita, the author of Peg the Rake. Mr. Atchison purchased them at auctions after he learned from archive materials that those novels were read by the family members of the last Russian Tsar.

The Alexander Palace / Bob Atchison's Sept 2013 Trip to the AP!
« on: September 08, 2013, 10:05:32 AM »
Many people have asked to see photos from Bob's trip to the Alexander Palace, where he finalized the details of the new "Society of Friends of Tsarskoye Selo" and see the Autochromes, and connect with friends old and new.  He even stayed IN the Catherine Palace!

So here we go:

Bob and Albert Bartridge in the Amber Room (where any pictures are totally forbidden, unless Dr. Iraida Bott the Deputy Director of TS Museums is your personal tour guide and says it's OK:

Bob and Alexey Gusanov, his very old dear friend who is Deputy Director of Pavlovsk, at the Costume exhibit in front of some of Alexandra Feodorovna's dresses:

The Marble Hall today:

The view from Bob's room in the Catherine Palace itself:

Albert in front of the entrance to the Guest Quarters of the Catherine Palace, and the Palace pooch snoozing.  Two dogs stand guard at the door all day long.  They look fierce, but are actually very sweet and friendly:

A private Family photo album, almost certainly purloined from the Ipatiev House after the executions has been discovered in the vaults of a Museum in the Urals.

Having Fun! / MOVED: cigarette case
« on: May 09, 2013, 09:30:00 AM »

Q&A and Interviews / MOVED: Please help me
« on: November 18, 2012, 09:25:52 AM »

Forum Announcements / An URGENT Request from Tsarskoye Selo Museums.
« on: November 16, 2012, 11:19:04 AM »
We have been asked by Dr Iraida Kurtovna Bott, of the Tsarskoe Selo State Museums, for assistance in returning a vital, unique and important artifact to Tsarskoe Selo.  The sale is a private offer, and the piece is quite literally unique in the world and still bears Tsarskoe Selo Palace inventory numbers from both 1861 and the 1917 inventory. The item is also mentioned in the Palace inventory records, which thus confirm its authenticity and provenance to Tsarskoye Selo.

The asking price to the Museum is 100,000 Euros, which is most probably actually below Auction estimate, due to the fact that it is the only example in existence.

Because of the delicate nature, and possibility that the piece will go instead to auction if the Museum can not meet the Seller's deadline to purchase, we can not reveal the exact nature of the item here publicly.  

Time is of the essence and Dr. Bott does not have the funds in their current budget to acquire it immediately.  Thus she has asked us to reach out to you our members for any assistance in helping them buy it.

Please contact Bob Atchison (, Rob Moshein ( for further details about how you can help by pledging funds and/or for a brief description of this item.  For those interested in the exact details and historical background of how and why this piece is of such importance, please contact Nick Nicholson

A rare and unique set of 48 Autochrome color photograph plates, taken by Alexander Zehest in 1914 of the interiors of the Alexander Palace, including both the Parade rooms and the personal rooms of the Imperial Family, have been returned to the Alexander Palace Museum.  The Autochrome process was a rare and difficult one, invented by the Lumiere Brothers of France in 1903 and marketed in Europe and the US starting in 1907.

The plates were at auction in Paris in June 2012.  A close friend of the work of the Alexander Palace Time Machine, Mr. Mike Pyles, contacted Bob Atchison, offering a most generous gift of $25,000 toward the purchase of the plates for the APTM websites.  Bob declined the gift personally, insisting that the plates go to the Alexander Palace Museum.  Mr. Pyles readily agreed.  Bob and Christine Martin immediately contacted the offices of Olga Taratynova, Director of the State Museum-Preserve "Tsarskoye Selo" and Dr. Iraida Kurtova Bott, Deputy Director.  The Museum staff were already aware of the impending sale of the plates.  With Mr. Pyles promised gift in hand of $25,000 toward their purchase, the Museum was able to secure the photographs, which ultimately sold for 53,000 Euros.

Dr. Bott wrote to Bob "The Autochrome plates by the photographer Alexander Zehest are an invaluable historical and iconographical material which is necessary for the restoration and revival of the Alexander Palace. The palace's restoration project has already been approved and preparation work has started. It is yet difficult to say when the restoration will be completed, but the facts that our museum regained control of the palace and that its revival has begun are the changes of great importance to us. On behalf of the directorate and all the employees of our museum, I would like to thank you and ask you to give our sincere words of gratitude to Mr Mike Pyles for his generous assistance and concern for the future of the Alexander Palace."

Mr. Pyles has been given membership in the "Society of Friends of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve", established in 2006 for those who have been "of profound assistance in all fields of our museum's work, including additions to our collections, which were severely damaged during WWII and the earlier sales of the 1920s-1930s."

Further, this donation has opened up discussions between the State Museum Staff and Bob Atchison, to work closely together to continue to provide education and access to information about the progress of the Museum's efforts to those interested world wide. You will be hearing more about this in the next few weeks.

MODIFIED May 14, 2012

The spam problem is now back to intolerable.  We are now getting over 250 spam registrations per DAY.  Virtually all come from gmail, hotmail or aol email addresses.  I can not spend the literally hours per day trying to sort out who is legitimate and who is spam. SPAM registrations are NOT PERMITTED.

The process is now this: REGISTER here, then you must send me a separate and detailed email, at with the user name you registered and at least some basic information to allow me to know you are a genuine user and not a spammer. I will not approve any registration which is not followed by a separate email to me at All registrations which do not email me to tell me you are real will be deleted after one week.

I'm very sorry we now have to go through this, but the amount of spamming from China, Russia and Eastern Europe is overwhelming us.  I have had 1150 spam registrations in just the last week!  I hope you understand, and appreciate your cooperation.

A few general guidelines you should know:

We no longer permit any discussion of Survivors of the Ekaterinburg murders as anything other than the history of such claims being false.  There is no longer any scientific question on the subject and as we are a historical discussion site, not a fantasy site, nobody may discuss anyone actually having "survived" .  You may question the testing procedures, but not the results.


We require civility and courtesy at all times. You may disagree with someone, but you must respect them as individuals.  NO FLAMING, NO SLANDER AND NO PERSONAL ATTACKS. Forum Moderators have my full authority and are to be respected and obeyed at all time.

Otherwise, we welcome you here to learn, share and have fun.

Rob Moshein


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