Author Topic: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc  (Read 96453 times)

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Offline hikaru

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #60 on: March 28, 2007, 10:31:27 AM »
I have just read in the diary of GD Sergey, that they had similar balls about 1875 year.

Offline griffh

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #61 on: March 30, 2007, 09:09:44 AM »
What an stunning portrait of Felix, thanks so much Robert.  

I rather think that the fancy dress balls of the 1870-1880s were the continuation of the famous masqued balls that were the rage in Paris in the 1860's and that had been brought into fashion by the Empress Eugenie and Napolean III to imitate the slendour of Louis XII and Marie Antonette famous masqued balls.  The great couture houses which were just coming into existence in the 1860's often designed many of the fancy dress costumes and some of them became quite famous, such as the costume Worth created for Princess de Mercy Argenteau for a famous fancy dress ball in Paris in the late 1880's or early 1890's.  

By some quirk of fate I happened accoss the Princess de Mercy Argenteau's gowns stacked in three piles to the ceiling of a small antique shop in NYC off of 3rd Ave in the East Village.  When I entered the shop my heart nearly stopped as I saw the three mountains of the Princess' exquisite gowns that spanned the late Nineteenth century, along with hundreds of hats and shoes.  Princess de Mercy Argenteau had somehow become stranded in the United States during WWI and a society matron in Florida provided the Princess with a guest house to live in.  The Princess remained there until her death in 1925 and the society matron sealed the guest house and it remained sealed until the owner of the estate was institutionalized.  The entire contents of the cottage were then sold at auction and the owner of the antique store in NYC got everything in the cottage, with the exception of the furnishings, paintings and jewelry, for $1200.  

The antique dealer didn't know anything about the Princess.  I immediately called my friend, Bill Cunningham, who was the fashion correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and who lived in one of the five apts at the top of Carniege Hall and had a incredible collection period costumes which he later published in a book called, "Facades."  He said that he would get a mutual friend to buy the gowns, as I was currently out of funds, but only if the famous Worth costume was among the Princess' gowns which he wanted.  What seemed like a minute later a taxis pulled up outside the little costume shop and Bill jumped out and was as excited by the find as I was.  Apparently the Worth's famous fancy dress costume for Princess de Mercy Argenteau was among her gowns because Bill made the phone call and he talked our mutual friend into buying the entire collection for $500.  Those were the days when $500 was as inaccessable to me as $5,000,000 would have been.  

But I was thrilled that the Princess' gowns were saved as a collection and that Bill got his Worth costume and I got to act as "curator" for the collection and learned a great deal about construction techniques etc.  Unfortunately years later the entire collection of the Princess's gowns dissappeared during a mysterious fire in the building where they were being temporarily stored.  I mourned their loss and to this day I am not all together convinced that they parished in the fire.  Non-the-less the collection was heavily insured along with the other contents that were being stored so my friend profited by the loss.  The thing is that I am sure that I saw some of the Princess' capes years later in a very high end Vintage clothing shop in Soho.  You could not miss the quality of those gowns because they were all made by the finest fashion houses in Europe and just stood out for their exquisite use of color and their unique beauty and by their scale as the Princess, like the young Empress Alexandra, 5' 8" tall.    

Well as usual I did somehow manage to get off the subject yet once again....but life is rich with all of its twists and turns and it is fun to recount some of it's aventures.....Griff
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 09:18:54 AM by griffh »

Offline griffh

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2007, 09:11:35 AM »
A brief footnote is that the little antique shop was also filled with the Princess's calling cards, stationary, bed linens, and boxes of letters signed, Louis.  Since I owned both Princess de Mercy Argenteau autobiography and her mother, Countesse Louise de Mercy Argenteau's autobiography, I knew that her mother had been the last mistress of Louis Napoleon and had even gone incognito on the train from Paris to Sedan where the Emperor was under arrest after the end of the Franco-Prussian War and during the early months of the Revolution of 1870.  I knew that those letter had to have been part of the Countesse's correspondence with the Emperor.  When I told the shop owner my theory about the boxes of letters he became almost delerious with joy.  My hunch turned out to be right the the antique store owner effectually sold the correspondence at auction for a handsome sum. 

It is just an opinion, but I think that one of the things that separates the wonderful historic balls of Russia from the fancy dress balls of Europe and America was the level of artistry and that wonderful sense of the revival of an authentic past.  The Russian sensibility for accurate historic detail remains unmatched in my mind and I am so grateful that some of the renowned pre-revolutionary Russian couture houses and the gold embroidry makers are gaining greater exposure and appreciation.  Certainly the artistic level of the embroidery arts were as fine as the world famous Irish lace makers.  You can see this highly developed artistry on so many of the historic costumes that were created for the 1903 ball, not to mention the beautifully embroidered court gowns, religious robes and altar cloths. 

Robert I would love to learn more about the 1913 historic ball and it must have been submerged by the outbreak of WWI in 1914, or so one might think.  Griff 

 
 
       


Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2007, 10:16:34 AM »
Griffh, fascinating stories about the gowns, princess and balls.  I have had a few experiences with costume balls in years past myself.  They were fun, but those historical costumes were heavy and hot!
 As for the 1913 balls, I have so far found only brief mentions of it in various bios  & histories.  I did read that the Dowager Empress was at that one, she was ill at the time of the 1903 ball.  As I mentioned, I imagine Felix would have been there as well. It is curious, to think that perhaps the costume he wears in the painting might possibly be the same one he wore at the 1913 ball...
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline griffh

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2007, 04:20:33 PM »
Robert, Yes I agree that the costume in the painting of Felix certainly looks as though it could have been the costume he wore to the 1913 ball, and as you said, I am sure that those historic costumes were extremely heavy and hot.  I know that there was a tradition amoung the great couture houses in Europe that made those heavy and hot presentation gowns for ladies, that they also supplied, gratis, lighter evening gowns that ladies could change into later in the evening after they had made their grand entrance, but I doubt if this rule applied to the great historic balls.   Griff
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 04:24:12 PM by griffh »

Offline scarlett_riviera

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2007, 06:49:42 AM »
I love that painting. It looks like he gained a bit of weight there!

In memory of Grand Duke Dimitri! The man had style.

Offline Jay

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2007, 05:03:08 PM »
Never get tired of reading that book. Especially the chapters pertaining to his exile. Although I must admit that I don't believe everything Felix elaborates on. Especially Rasputins murder. Still, I feel that the book is a must read for any Yussupov enthusiast.

As for the painting, I have to agree that he looks like he has gained weight.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #67 on: April 03, 2007, 02:53:13 PM »
More of the Yussoupov splendour that was lost- from the upcoming SOTHEBY'S sale-
http://www.sothebys.com/app/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?live_lot_id=107&sale_number=N08302&go.x=7&go.y=10
 2 plates from their porcelaine factory out of a set of 12. 30-45 THOUSAND A PAIR. [and who would want less than the full set?]  The Yussoupov porcelaine was never sold. It was either for the family or gifts to the IF [I imagine others as well].  They did not  actually manufacture the porcelaine though, they bought  blank pieces from  other high quality sources [Sevres, Meissen perhaps] and had their own artists paint the stuff.. imagine Felix eating his cordon bleu off of this...
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #68 on: April 03, 2007, 11:44:21 PM »
I think that he did not sell it because they did not produce it in 20th century,
it was Nikolay Borisovitch Yusupov's toy (end of 18th century)
But Maybe I am wrong.
Kuskovo Estate Porcelaine Museum has quite a lot of Yusupov porcelain , all is the end of 18th century.

Offline scarlett_riviera

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2007, 03:23:41 AM »
Wow, they were really extravagant! Someone should turn Felix's book into a movie or something, his life was really interesting! And almost everyone that appears in his book is interesting, even the servants and that drunken Prince Galitzine! lol!

Ok I'm so going to read it again. ;D

In memory of Grand Duke Dimitri! The man had style.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2007, 09:54:44 AM »
I think you are correct, Hikaru. The porcelain factory [or more apt- studio] was shut down in 1839 and the serf labour dispersed.  NB was director of the Imperial Porcelain factory  until he founded his own in 1814.  Such a limited run  is what  causes the prices of these objects to sky-rocket when they do become available. Still, there was enough to give away  and waste until the end.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #71 on: April 04, 2007, 12:18:49 PM »
I wish you good luck, Robert, because the quality of Yusupov porcelaine is geniune.
Some people say that sometimes it was better the Imperial ones.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #72 on: April 04, 2007, 12:23:33 PM »
Hikaru, my friend, I could in no way buy these plates! I would need to have the complete set and then search for the rest!  The 12 on ofer are from a 3 volume set of paintings of roses by Redoute. Besides, it would be a very bad investment for some who lives in earthquake country!
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #73 on: April 04, 2007, 01:57:43 PM »
How intresting! I did not think that there are earthquakes in England ::)
But your room (which I saw at the photo with Marie -Antoinnette)  is super!!!
I thought only hurricans (sorry for spel.) hardly ever happen in H....

But you are completely right. Plates does not sound intresting . Tete-a-tete set is much more attractive. ( there are 2 tet-a-tet sets of Yusupov Factory at Kuskovo museum).

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Books by Felix Yusupov - "Lost Splendour" etc
« Reply #74 on: April 04, 2007, 02:17:14 PM »
Hikaru, I live in San Francisco and spend about  half the year in England as well. But, England does have earthquakes now & then. They happen all over the world actually but most are child's play compared to California quakes!
 And yes, the Yussoupov collections were so vast, it is amazing what has been dispersed and yet so much remains in Russia itself. Much like the Imperial collections themselves.  What shows up in these auctions and museums, galleries & showrooms is just a fraction of what is still in storerooms in St.P  & Moscow, I suspect.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.