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Messages - Sanochka

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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. 

The Alexander Palace / Re: The Imperial Garage
« on: September 01, 2012, 12:20:09 PM »
I remember vividly an article I read long ago about the Tsar's purchase of a pair of Mercedes limousines for $250,000 in 1913.  The interiors were resplendent, "with mahogany trim, silk upholstery, and gold door handles and window latches." 

This is nothing short of a miracle.  A sincere thank-you to Mr. Pyles and to all who had a hand in this.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Hanging pictures
« on: August 31, 2012, 01:47:19 PM »
I read somewhere (probably on one of the message strings here) that the picture rails in the palace were installed in 1847.  I can't imagine that the rails visible in current photos of the interior aren't the originals.

Alan, thank you so much for posting these wonderful pictures.  I had not seen such detailed photos of the kitchen building or garage.  The pictures of Anna Vyrubova's house cause me to marvel at Nicholas & Alexandra calling regularly on such a tiny home.  Imagining them with legs drawn up onto the sofas with feet tucked in to escape the chill of the floor makes them seem so real.

The Alexander Palace / Re: A Question Regarding The Alexander Park
« on: June 06, 2011, 06:06:57 PM »
I've never seen the pics posted above Joanna's post, either.  Wow!  They're so unposed, especially the photo on the left.  The Grand Duchess looks so natural and relaxed, while the guard looks stony.

It looks like a nice crop of cabbages in both photos.  Some of the leaves in the photo on the left look as though they're being eaten by bugs.

I've translated one of GD Olga's postcards posted elsewhere on this site.  She writes to a friend, "... Our kitchen garden flourishes..."

Welcome New Users! Read 1st please. / Re: Posting Photographs...
« on: June 06, 2011, 01:46:22 PM »
I tried that, Carolath, after reading a similar instruction elsewhere.  I copied and pasted the IMG option from Photobucket to my post on this site, changed IMG from uppercase to lowercase -and was rewarded with a red x in a white box.

What am I doing wrong?

The Alexander Palace / Re: Pictures of the Interiors as they were
« on: June 06, 2011, 01:36:47 PM »
Actually, I found them at Poemas del Rio Wang Tsarskoe Selo.  The pictures can be accessed at

A further search did turn up the same pictures at Royal Russia, which site identified the fourth picture as a dining room at the Lower Dacha at Peterhof. 

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