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Messages - Sanochka

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Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: Private rooms of the Winter Palace
« on: September 06, 2012, 09:17:54 PM »
Russian tulipwood jardiniere mounted with ormolu and Sevres porcelain from the White Drawing Room of Empress Alexandra.  Recorded in inventories of this room in 1850, 1885, and again in 1889.  Photo from Christie's sale, October 21, 2005.  (This piece sold for $156,000.)

was there any special item the ladies in waiting had to wear while on duty (a brooch or something)? where they paid, did they have a salary? where they free to go abroad, to marry, to quit?

I've read about the differences between maids-of-honor and ladies-in-waiting of Alexandra - and all such reading does is leave my head reeling.  One detail I do remember and it is that both maids and ladies were each given a diamond-studded cypher of the empress's monogram, which was worn on the left shoulder suspended from the ribbon of the Order of Saint Andrew on ceremonial occasions.  If I can remember correctly, maids wore a relatively simple brooch, while ladies wore more complicated pieces complete with the empress's portrait (dames a portrait?).  Below is such a brooch presented to maid of honor Countess Olga Alexandrovna Nieroth in 1904.

This brooch was made by court jeweler Karl Hahn.  An invoice for it - in the amount of 700 rubles -  was tendered to His Majesty's Imperial Cabinet on January 9, 1904.  The brooch was presented to the countess on October 2 of that year.  BTW, this cypher just sold at Christie's, on April 16 of this year, for $158,500.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« on: September 06, 2012, 06:33:18 PM »
In researching AP tableware, I keep running across clothing worn by Alexandra.  Here is a gown from 1911 that was so vividly etched into my memory that I went back into cyberspace and retrieved it.  It certainly "fits" the descriptions of what Alexandra liked in her dresses and gowns.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: casual photos of alix?
« on: September 06, 2012, 04:22:42 PM »
This is the most casual photo of Alexandra that I have seen.  She looks as though she has just awoken and has yet to bathe & dress for the day.  It is my all time favorite photo of her.

The Alexander Palace / Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« on: September 06, 2012, 03:58:38 PM »
According to Greg King, remnants of the Orlov Service were used.  I've done some research and found that this service - in the style of Louis XV - was commissioned by Catherine II in 17-1770-1771 for her beloved Orlov.  The original service was made by Roettiers of Paris and consisted of 3,000 pieces.  In 1793, the two had a falling out and Catherine ordered the service returned to the Winter Palace.

Throughout the 1800s, the service was added to by successive courts.  Even so, a 1907 inventory recorded only 1,000 pieces.  Here are some I found:

A pair of wine coolers with mark of Roettiers, 1770.  Sold at Christies on April 19, 2002 for $933,500.

A pair of scalloped shell dishes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Both bear the mark of Roettiers and are part of a set of 22 that belonged to the original service.

A group of silver-gilt plates and serving pieces bearing marks of Carl Tegelsten, Nicholls & Plincke, and Ivan Morozov, Saint Petersburg.  These are examples of later pieces and date from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.  This lot was sold at Christie's on June 8, 2010 for $115,071.  Another 15" oblong serving platter similar to the one propped up behind the round plates recently sold at a separate sale at Sotheby's for $10,000.

The Alexander Palace / Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« on: September 06, 2012, 11:46:19 AM »
Another photo of the Purple Service, obtained from Angelfire.  According to Bob in "Dining With the Tsars," this service was used only twice, for luncheons in 1909.

The Alexander Palace / Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« on: September 06, 2012, 12:22:28 AM »
Thank you for the informative replies and breathtaking pictures!   I've seen pics of the china and glassware on Romanov Russia (I really do need a desktop shortcut to that magnificent site!).  I have not seen pictures of the linen and silver.  The napkin is particularly arresting.  

Research shows the white plate with blue rim to be part of the Coat of Arms service, manufactured by the Imperial Porcelain Factory and consisting of 47,000 pieces.

According to Greg King in his "Court of the Last Tsar," the Purple Service was commissioned in 1903 and consisted of 1,690 pieces.  It, too, was made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Below are photos gleaned from of the Raphael Service, begun in 1883 by Alexander III.  Production continued for 20 years, with new pieces presented to Nicholas II each Christmas.  In 1903, the service, ultimately consisting of 50 place settings, was completed at a cost of 125,000 rubles. During production, the service was stored at the Winter Palace.  Appropriate numbers of place settings were sent to the Alexander Palace when required.  In 1904, the entire service was transferred to the Anitchkov Palace for use by the dowager empress.

The Alexander Palace / China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« on: September 05, 2012, 01:34:48 AM »
I have not seen any message strings devoted to this topic.  The closest I have found is the string concerning dining at the palace, but that appears to be limited to meals, menus and foods.

What china, crystal and silver was used for daily meals by the IF at the Alexander Palace?  Years of research have turned up little more than the fact that  much of the china used at table was made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, but not much more than that.  What patterns were used?  Where were the table items stored when not in use?  Who cleaned it?  Where was it cleaned?  I believe it was Robert Massey who described Tsesarevitch Alexei being taken on a tour of the palace basement and being shown a room in which two men were engaged smashing pieces of cracked and chipped china so that nobody else could have it.  Cases of new china and glassware must have been kept on hand to replenish broken pieces - do large lots of it survive in Russian state repositories?

If information about specific china and glassware patterns is scarce, information about table silver used day to day by the imperial family is practically non-existent.  Does anyone know of purveyors of table silver to palace?  There must have been multiple flatware services of various patterns.  The services must have been large - and valuable.  Where would it have been stored?  Does any survive?

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:41:30 AM »
Fascinating discussion about the goldwork.  And thank you for describing the technique.  I've seen it - and silverwork - on old Chinese silk robes and wondered about about the metallic look of the thread but never devoted much thought to it.  I do know that the work was all done by hand and put such strain on the eyes that the workers went blind after a certain number of years.

As for Alexandra, there are so many pictures of her working at needlework that she must have accumulated quite a lot over the years.  (I speak from memory - my Russian grandmother had drawers, trunks & closets filled with it.)  Judging from photos, much of Alexandra's was sold at the annual bazaar in Yalta and I image that some must survive in private hands.  Also, what became of the needlework that was kept and scattered about the private rooms at the AP?  Does anyone know whether any made it to Pavlovsk? 

Also, what became of the needlework that Alexandra and the grand duchesses worked on at Tobolsk?  Could any of it have been sent to Moscow with other personal possessions of the family after their assassination? 

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 04, 2012, 05:32:08 PM »
I'm glad I caught this before anybody else replied.  Now I don't have to quote.

I found and re-read the description in question, Tsarfan.  When I finished, I found myself thinking the description came very close to crediting the above embroidery to Alexandra, but did not categorically assign attribution to her.  It is a masterful sales pitch to wishful thinking. 

The Alexander Palace / Re: Alexander Palace interiors
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:09:10 PM »
I have NEVER seen a picture of the doors leading from the foyer to the first floor corridor.  Thank you ever so much for that, as well as for the rest of these neat photos!

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 04, 2012, 04:14:51 AM »
I, too, think the embroidery looks extremely complicated - especially the eagle - to have been done by one who doesn't embroider for a living, but the description from the most recent sale identified this pillowcase in no uncertain terms as being embroidered by Alexandra.   Still, one cannot dismiss this as being too complicated for her to have embroidered it.  She did embroidery for years and years and surely must have developed some degree of expertise through constant practice.

Having Fun! / Re: Rare Pictures XI
« on: September 04, 2012, 04:06:11 AM »
These two are new to me, but it is a pity they have such a big watermark =(

Nicholas and Alix in September 1917 in Tobolsk:

Maria and Anastasia in 1915 (photograph apparently coloured by Anastasia):

The photo of Nicholas and Alexandra seated on the balcony at Tobolsk is heart-wrenching.  I'd seen the doctored photo of Alexandra, Olga & Tatiana in this same place with white background, then a clearer undoctored version showing exactly where the picture was taken, and now this.  I'd not seen this photo.  In all three, Alexandra looks wistful and crushed.  It's clear that more than one photo was taken here that day.  I wonder if any more exist.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 02, 2012, 02:22:25 AM »

Pillow embroidered by Alexandra.  Sold by Sotheby's in 2001, sold again recently for $6,500.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Alexander Palace interiors
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:47:12 AM »

Above is a still image of the first floor corridor of the Alexander Palace's west wing, looking north toward the main entrance.  I captured it from a Saint Petersburg television station newscast about the opening of the newly restored Parade rooms on February 17, 2010.  I believe the camera man is standing in the Blue Drawing Room. 

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