Author Topic: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch  (Read 5248 times)

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Offline Sarai

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The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« on: November 27, 2004, 03:29:58 PM »
This book by Frances Welch is fairly new (published in 2003), so I am surprised that it has not been mentioned very much here before. Here is a description I found of it:

Sydney Gibbes was appointed tutor to the children of Tsar Nicholas II in 1908. Over the next ten years he became deeply attached to the Imperial family—and they to him.

Frances Welch draws on a wealth of unpublished material to throw new light on the Romanov story, telling it from the English teacher’s point of view. The tragic events of the Russian Revolution devastated Gibbes, turning him into an obsessive Russophile, who was to go to extraordinary lengths to remain faithful to the old order.


It seems to deal extensively with Mr. Gibbes life with the Romanov children. Has anyone read it and can you recommend it?

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2004, 04:01:23 PM »
I am hardly objective, then neither is the book. I was not impressed with it. There is really nothing new, and I found it rather "light".
That is just my opinion, others may find it "delightful".
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Robert
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Offline Belochka

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2004, 10:53:47 PM »
As Robert stated this book is very light on ... both in content and weight.

This tiny book lacks an index and has no referencing which I found to be a very bad practice. The few photographs embedded in the book have all been reproduced in other books.

It is not worth the money.  ::)


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leushino

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2006, 08:51:25 PM »
Has anyone read this book by Frances Welch? I did a Search and could not come up with anything. It's just a small paperback published in 2002. Curious about the opinions of others who may have read it. Thanks.

Offline markov

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 03:10:56 PM »
Yes, originally published by Short Books as a hardback in 2002 (ISBN 1-904095-16-X) and later in paperback. It is the story of the Englishman Sydney Gibbes, who was tutor to the Imperial children from 1908, and remained with the family in Tobolsk. He was separated from them at Ekaterinburg.  After three days he located the Ipatiev House but was not allowed to enter or have any contact with the IF. Eventually, after the Whites had liberated Ekaterinburg, Gibbes returned there and went into the House.....The rest of the book describes what he found, his feelings of horror and loss, his travels, adoption of a Russian boy as his son, his conversion to orthodoxy as 'Father Nicholas', his return to England in 1937, meeting in 1954 with Anna Anderson (who totally failed to fool him), his chapel in Oxford and his eventual death in 1963 (aged 87). The book is about Sydney Gibbes, not the IF, but there is a lot of good material here, especially for the period after 1918, and the author sheds light on his later life, possessions he brought from Russia, and his total dedication to the family until his dying day. I recommend it.

Offline Rachael89

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2006, 02:56:14 PM »
Hi All

(I hope there isn't another topic on this, I did search and not find anything!)

I brought this neat little book from e-bay and am glad I did so, it is a very interesting insight into Mr Gibbes background and later life (he was very eccentric!) as well as his time with the Romanovs. It was far more interesting than the books that just give you the 'cold-facts' as it gives you an insight to the Romanovs as people.

Does anyone else have this book and if so what are your thoughts?

Rachael
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Offline s.v.markov

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 09:53:30 AM »
Yes, there is another thread on page 4 of 'Books and Films', started by Leuchino. I wrote on it on 10th February. I agree, a good little book with lots of interesting  info, especially for the period after 1918. The book meant a lot to me as I was lucky enough to be able to go through all the materials Gibbes brought back with him, when they were part of the Wernher collection kept at Luton Hoo, a mansion in Bedfordshire, UK. The author of 'The Romanovs and Mr G' (Frances Welch) told me that all these materials were later placed in storage by Christie's (auctioneers) of London, awaiting a sale, but I don't know where they are now. I have an inventory of some of them. His photos on glass plates were wonderful ~ I made prints from some of them (see' Imperial Family'~ rare photos of OTMA thread)

Offline Rachael89

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 11:39:10 AM »
Hi there

Thankyou so much for your reply, it was so interesting! It must of been both sad and fascinating to be able to look through what Mr Gibbes brought back with him.

All the best

Rachael
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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2006, 04:19:55 AM »
I bought this the other day and read it in an hour.

I was a bit disappointed with it, actually.  The title 'The Romanovs and Mr Gibbes' gave me the impression that it would be about Mr Gibbes' impressions of the Romanovs and his relations with them.

However, it was mainly about the life of Mr Gibbes, and the Romanovs seemed to be a periphery to the subject of his life.

It would have been better entitled: 'A life of Mr Gibbes, former tutor to the Romanovs' or something along those lines.

It was an interesting book and a fascinating insight into Mr Gibbes and his life, but don't be fooled into thinking it will give you a better insight into the Romanov children as people, because on that front it contains very little information and nothing very new.  What also irritated me was that the author raised a lot of questions, and then answered them with 'but it is impossible to speculate as to an answer' , so a lot of the more interesting and questionable aspects of Mr Gibbes' life remain a mystery.

Even so, worth a read.  Considering I bought mine for 16 pence I can't really complain.

Rachel
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Offline Rachael89

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2006, 02:20:29 AM »
16p  :o!!! No fair! I had to buy mine of e-bay for £6.00!

Oh well, I guess my copy of James Blair Lovell's Anastasia for £1.50 should make up for it, it looks entertaining, though I don't like the way he calls AA Anastasia, it makes it confusing.

Best

Rachael

P.S. I thought it was a great book, so I guess £6.00 of my dad's money ain;t that bad!
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Offline s.v.markov

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2006, 04:17:02 AM »
Glad you enjoyed it. If you want to know more about the Imperial children and their tutors, you'll find it in 'Tutor to the Tsarevich' by J C Trewin (compiled from the journals and possessions of Mr Gibbes) ~ published by MacMillan 1975 ~ lots of photos too. I think the American edition had a different title ('The House of Special Purpose') which was silly as only a tiny part of the book is about that. As Rachel says, titles can be misleading! Also,  the French tutor Pierre Gilliard's 'Thirteen Years at the Russian Court' has a lot about his teaching of the five children, and he describes their individual characters. It's a very old book (1920's), but I think it's available on the AP Books thread. If you are learning French, you could always try it in the original, which has the title 'Le Tragique Destin de Nicolas II et de sa Famille' ~ again, note the title change for the English edition.

That's very cheap for Lovell's 'Anastasia' ~ mine cost £22.95 way back in 1992! Did you know there is a photo album based on the Blair-Lovell collection, called 'Royal Russia'? it's done in a sort of 'retro' style, with the result that some photos are a bit smudgy and grainy, but worth a lool all the same. Happy Reading!

TheAce1918

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2006, 02:44:57 PM »
I felt misled by the books title.  For one thing I thought it would be like Anna V's book.  But it leaned more towards Gibbes' life 'around' the Romanovs, and beyond.  It was a nice little book though

TheAce1918

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2006, 10:01:51 PM »
Quote
I am hardly objective, then neither is the book. I was not impressed with it. There is really nothing new, and I found it rather "light".
That is just my opinion, others may find it "delightful".
Best,
Robert

I humbly agree.  A nice book...but nothing new.

Offline Abby

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2006, 04:09:04 PM »
can anyone tell me, what is the difference between this book and 'Englishman at the Court of the Tsar'? ANOTHER book about Sydney Gibbes!

Offline koloagirl

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Re: The Romanovs and Mr. Gibbes, by Frances Welch
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2006, 09:57:24 PM »
 :) :D

Regarding the book mentioned a couple of posts up -- "House of Special Purpose" by Trewin ---- if you look on the "duplicate books" thread, there is one up for grabs if you hurry.

J.R.

Good Luck! :D
Janet R.