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Topics - Svetabel

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Sergievka – estate near Peterhof of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna, eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas I. Later belonged to her descendants the Leuchtenbergs.
The estate and main mansion are quite well-known by their images around Internet.

Sergievka now;

Restored main mansion in 2006 (north, east and south facades). It’s one of the buildings of the State University now.

A thread about the descendants of Duke Eugen von Württemberg (1788–1857),son of prince Eugen (1758-1822) and thus a nephew of Russian Empress Maria Fedorovna, second wife of Emperor Pavel I.
Eugen-junior was quite famous in Russia, as he spent there half of his life, was a very good military-commander and had a rank of Russian infantry general. He left the Russian Army in 1828 and moved to Germany.

His direct descendants are not well-known, except the fact that his grandson Wilhelm Eugen married Russian Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna. The lack of information is really strange as the Württemberg clan was very close to the Russian Imperial family due to such Württemberg Princesses as Empress Maria Fedorovna and GDss Elena Pavlovna. Also Olga,daughter of Nicholas I, was Queen of Württemberg.
The Eugen line was extinct in 1903 when his son Nikolaus died.

Here’s Duke Eugen, his famout portrait from the Hermitage Museum

He was married twice:

1.In 1817 Princess Mathilde von Waldeck-Pirmont (1801-25)

2.In 1827 Princess Helena of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1807-80).
Princess Helena had some interesting relatives as her brother Ernst (1794-1860) married Princess Feodora of Leinigen, half-sister of Queen Victoria. Helena’s sister Marie Agnes (1804-33) married Kosntantin Erbprinz zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1802-38) and have a d-r Adelheid (1831-1909) who became wife of Dom Miguel Bragansa and thus a mother of beautiful Bragansa sisters (f.e. Maria Theresia, Archduchess of Austria etc).

Here’s a portrait of Eugen with one of his wives. I am not sure is this Mathilde of Helena: the hair-do is more closer to the 1830s though so could have been Helena

This is a photo of aged Duchess Helena with her eldest daughter Alexandrine:

Other Palaces / Gagra resort, the Palace of Prince of Oldenbourg
« on: November 12, 2009, 05:07:25 AM »
The Gagra resort was founded thanks to Prince Alexander of Oldenbourg ( father-in-law of GDss Olga Alexandrovna) who in the end of the XIX cent. was afire with enthusiasm for a idea to build a well-equipped and cheap climatic resort on the Black Sea in Abhazia district (between Sochi and Suhumi).  Prince was able to persuade Nicholas II to give money for a new resort and in 1903 it was opened.
The Prince built a Palace for his family at this resort in 1902, the building in modern style.It survived after the Revolution and for many years had been a sort of a VIP sanatorium.
Now the building and area around are in a deplorable state.

Here’s the sea-shore and the Palace of the Oldenburgs in the beginning of the XX cent., a photo by Prokudin-Gorskiy.

The Palace is seen above in the forest.

And the Palace and all resort now, exteriors and interiors.

Starting Part III.

The Imperial Family / Prince Ioann Konstantinovitch (1886-1918) - letters
« on: December 26, 2008, 04:39:39 AM »
  I am starting a thread on Prince Ioann Konstantinovitch, eldest son of GD Konstantin K., famous KR. One can say there’s no need in creating one more “Konstantinovitch” topic as the whole thread on all the Konstantinovitchi exists but it’s too large now and contains mainly photos.
The reason here for me is like that:
Recently I’ve came across the correspondence between GD Konstantin K. and his firstborn son Prince Ioann. The letters are of 1903-1914 period and a very interesting source on Prince Ioann and his relations with the parents. In some of those letters Prince Ioann corresponded to both parents but the large part of the epistolary were letters to his father and they were the most confidential and honest.
   The letters were published in 2007 year in Russian, they had been preserved at the stock of GD Konstantin K., his spouse GD Elizaveta and Prince Ioann, at the Russian State Archives.

   I’m under strong impression of that rare source of info on Prince Ioann and that’s why: Ioann is not a well-known person for modern readers of the Romanov family history. Even in the very good “Gilded Prism” I’ve not found much on the firstborn child of GD Konstantin.
   Only those few letters bring a part of Ioann’s character to the light as actually the common opinion on him is that he was a deeply religious man with the bad health (as many of the Konstantinovitchi) and inclination to be a monk. He was plain and somewhat ugly, discreet person with quiet and shy manners, so many people didn’t know what’s on his heart and in his head throughout his boyhood, teens and youthful years.
   He adored his parents and siblings, was deeply attached to home and friends and at the same time he was a lone figure saying sadly that everybody imagines him like “a little idiot” because of his shyness and religiosity. Ioann was a great fiend with his brother Gavriil, they shared a nursery, then a schoolroom and lone years in Livadia in 1903-1905 where they were sent to strengthen their health. They lived there far away from home and the large family, and Prince Ioann continuously begged his parents to visit them more often but Pa and Ma always were too busy (and had time to go to some relatives in Germany though). Ioann and Gavriil were really close but very different in characters: Gavriil ended as a society person and later kept a company of “fast” people including Mathilda Kschesinskaya (his 1st wife Antonina was Mathilda’s friend).
Ioann was quite the opposite person.

   The letters can be sorted as 2 periods: 1903-1908 and 1909-1913.
   Ioann’s letters of 1903-1908 years sound like reports of a teenager to his strict father: Prince tells about his lessons, teachers, he promises to study better and never to pain his parents and admits his laziness and inability to learn foreign languages (for some years Ioann was struggling with his bad French and German). GD Konstantin K., in his turn, as a careful father instructs Ioann to study better, behave presentably and so on and such like – all in all we can see that he speaks to his firstborn and 1st heir expecting much from him and never indulging. And obedient Ioann never forgets about the duty of the heir even signing his letters to parents as “Your firstborn, Ioannchik”. He tries to be equal to their expectations and repeats almost every time that he is very grateful to them for the upbringing and education (and sometimes he bitterly admits that he don’t know much about real life, the life out of the Romanov gilded cage).
   In 1909-1910 years the tune of the Prince’s letters changed. Ioann has became a young man, he wants to speak to his father as an adult and equal, he repeatedly writes: “you know that I am like you, I am similar to you, you must understand me”. Those frank letters are just a cry of a lonely man whom the parents had never indulged, never showed extra tenderness, who was used to a company of tutors, teachers, books and the deep faith in God.
  As early as in 1904 Ioann for the 1st time wrote to father his thoughts about possible marriage and described in detail how he saw his marital life, talked about the rooms of his own future family in the Marble palace and in Pavlovsk. Of course GD Konstantin answered that all the plans were too early as the marriage in 18 years old was out of question. Till 1910 Prince Ioann from time to time returns to the marital discussions (and every time about marriage to some commoner) and GD Konstantin turns his son down. Seems Ioann had an amorous disposition or was too naïve and a soft mark who languished for love and tenderness. One of his 1st loves/crushes was GDss Olga Nikolayevna (eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas II) who caught his imagination after Tsesarevitch Alexei’s christening in 1904 (Olga was 9 years then, and Ioann was 18). Other crushes of Prince were commoners and sometimes married women.
   All his feelings Ioann confides to father and GD always admonishes his son not to be in a hurry, to think twice and never forget that Ioann is a Prince and the Romanov offspring…After all in 1910 GD Konstantin received a carefully worded letter and in fact a disconsolate cry and confession from Ioann. Some lines from it: “I really need a sweet women’s little heart to warm me”, “Uncle is a monk is his soul and will never understand me” [Uncle is GD Dmitriy K. who loved his nieces and nephews as if they were his children]. In the end Ioann declared that he had kissed women, brought them to his place and then discoursed with them and persuaded to live in high morality. He pointed out that he never had sex and had made vow to do such things only with his wife…
  So, while GDsses Olga and Tatiana, daughters of Nicholas II, were giggling at Ioann’s engagement to Elena of Serbia and wondering how would he kiss, Prince Ioann itself was a really happy guy who finally find a proper bride (with the help of his mother though).

Other Palaces / Pershino - estate of GD Nikolai Nikolayevitch-younger
« on: August 27, 2008, 04:18:17 AM »
I'd like to share some info on the estate of GD Nikolai Nikolayevitch-younger (1856-1929), who among his  properties owned Pershino, an estate in Tul'skaya Gubernija.

Pershino is situated 32 km to south-east from Tula, on the bank of river Oupa. Originally it was built in the XVIII cent. and changed 2-3 owners during the years, and in 1861 was sold to a merchant Batashev who in his turn sold the estate to GD Nikolai Nikolayevitch-younger in 1887. The estate that time was in a bad state and Grand Duke began its restoration. Later his estate became known as a kennel of hounds and borzois, as GD Nikolay was a keen hunter and doggy man. His kennel in Pershino was very large and famous even abroad in England, Germany and France, the dogs won many prizes at the international dog shows. Certainly after the Revolution of 1917 the estate and kennel decayed and in 1919 most of the dogs were went away to Czechia.

Here’s the Grand Duke Palace in Pershino:

You can see a sort of dog-show in front of the Palace.

Close up of the mansion

And the long shot of the estate

The Hohenzollern / The Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld family
« on: December 31, 2007, 04:58:05 AM »
Does anyone know anything on Landgrafin Luise of Hesse-Philippstal (1829-1901), nee Princess of Prussia, spouse of Landgraf Alexis von Hesse-Philippstal (1828-1905) ? She was daughter of Prince Karl of Prussia and Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar, and  sister of notorious Red Prince Friedrich Karl (1828-85) of Prussia and Furstin Anna of Hesse-Kassel. Luise was married to Alexis in 1854 and seemed their marriage was unhappy.

While reading a letter of Empress Maria Fedorovna of Russia to her husband Emperor Alexander III I came across such a passage: “Poor Waldemar [brother of MF] was much upset when he squired ugly sister of Aunt Anna, Princess Luise of Prussia. She looked absolutely monstrous, so enormous and pot-bellied, she weared a lilac outfit and a white extra-size mantle. There was an impression that she had been given a dip into a bag of flour ”. This passage is from a letter of May 1884 when Empress MF attended a wedding of her cousin Princess Elisabeth of Hesse-Kassel and Prince Leopold of Anhalt.

I’ve never any seen any picture of this larger-than-life Luise. Can anybody help? Any extra info on her?

GDss Viktoria Fedorovna (Ducky) in 1916 in a Russian-British orphanage.

Other Palaces / Ramon' - estate of the Oldenburgs
« on: October 27, 2007, 05:11:07 AM »
In 1879 Princess Eugenia of Oldenburg, nee Princess Eugenia of Leuchtenberg, a daughter of GDss Maria Nikolayevna and spouse of Prince Alexander of Oldenburg, became an owner of a vast estate  Ramon' not far from Voronezh (in fact Emperor Alexander II presented an estate to his niece). The mansion/castle in English style was built there in 1883-1887 years.

The castle then:

And now

I didn't find any pictures of the interiors and seems now they are all lost as from 1917 year the mansion had been a place for variuos Soviet institutions.

The Yussupovs / The Yusupov Palace on Liteyniy pr., St.Petersbourg
« on: July 01, 2007, 06:49:32 AM »
The Palace on Liteyniy prospekt (Saint-Petersburg) of Princess Zenaida Ivanovna Yusupova (grandmother of Princess Zenaida Nikolayevna).

Bedroom of the Princess. It's almost a copy of her bedroom in the Moika palace :)

Gothic Dining room

Red Sitting room

Interesting photo of GD Georgiy --he is bearded :) - and his mother Empress MF during one of her visits to Abbas-Tuman.

The Imperial Family / Grand Duke Dmitriy Konstantinovich
« on: September 19, 2006, 03:25:54 AM »
An old thread on GD Dmitriy Konstantinovich  is closed and not available --- let’s start a new one. I had posted some pics of the Grand Duke in that closed thread so let me post again :)

 Here with his brother KD Konstantin

 Here in 1891

Palaces in the Crimea / Oreanda
« on: June 21, 2006, 02:35:14 PM »
I think the Palace in Oreanda deserves some attention. :)

The construction of the Palace for Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, spouse of Emperor Nikolay I, began in 1842 by famous acrhitect Andrey Schtakenschneider.
Today we can't imagine all the splendour of this Palace as it was burnt up in 1882 and never re-edified. The Palace was 2 storied high,in Classic style,had the Atrium and resembled Belveder (in Peterhof).

There is no detail info or pictures of the interiors, all is khown that the finery was in Pompeian (Greek) architectural style. Since 1860 year GD Konstantin Nikolayevitch became the owner of the Palace , he personally fought a fire in 1882 . Grand Duke did not have enough money for reconstruction of the burnt-to-ashes Palace and just decided to build a church near the ruins.After the WW II the ruins were demounted and in 1948 on the place was built a health resort.

Here is the floorplan of the ground floor (1860).

1 - Dining room
2 - Hall
3 - Vestibule
4 - Drawing room (Reception room)
5 - Working Study
6 - Bedroom
7 - Atrium
8 - Room for Officers on duty
9 - Room for Officers on duty
10 - Dressing room
11 - Inner courtyard

I am searching for any info on Princess Agatha of Prussia, born Hohenlohe-Schillingfurst (1888-1960)
She married Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1880-1925), 3d son of Prince Albrecht and Princess Marie  (of Saxe-Altenburg).
The couple had 4 daughters:
Marie Theresa,Louise, Marianne and Elisabeth.

It seems that very little is known about this branch of the Hohenzollerns, at least about this couple and their daughters. Have anybody ever seen any pics of them? Of Agatha and her husband?

Thanks in advance.

Empress Alexandra Fedorovna in 1852.Though she doesn't look like herself... :-/

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