Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Tony de Gandarillas

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Yes, Congratulations! For he's a jolly good fellow!

Russian Noble Families / Re: Count Vladimir Kleinmichel
« on: January 15, 2013, 06:08:22 PM »
I  More ironic is the fact that the man George V entrusted with the transaction, Count Vladimir Kleinmichel, received in the 1060’s the coveted title Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), given for services rendered to the English royal family”

Does anyone know how Count Vladimir Kleinmichel is related to Countess Marie Kleinmichel?  Were there any other Kleinmichels to reside in England?

Count Vladimir is  a grand-nephew of Countess Marie's (if you speak about Maria Eduardovna, nee Keller (1846-1931)) spouse Count Nikolai. Nikolai's brother Vladimir is a grandfather of Vladimir-younger.

Thank you so very much, Svetabel.

Russian Noble Families / Count Vladimir Kleinmichel
« on: January 12, 2013, 10:02:08 PM »
In Charles Fenywesi’s Spendor in Exiles page 253, there is a mention of Count Vladimir Kleinmichel which follows:

“[Grand Duke]Wladimir does not wish to discuss family finances, nor does he like to talk about the sensitive issue of relations between Windsors and Romanoffs.  His cousins however are outspoken.  They tell the story of the Dowager Empress Maria, returning in the early 1920’s after a half-century of absence to her native Denmark as wife of Czar Alexander III and mother of Nicholas II, who asked her nephew George V to sell the jewels she succeeded in rescuing from Russia.  George V dispatched a courier, who was later put in charge of investing the surprisingly small sum of 10,000 pounds sterling that the jewels brought.

It did not take long to discover where Queen Mary’s new jewels had come from, and it soon became clear that most, if not all of the Dowager Empress’s jewels had been purchased by her English cousins.  ‘Queen Elizabeth is wearing those jewels today,’ I heard several  Romanoffs say with the same inflection of polite disgust.  More ironic is the fact that the man George V entrusted with the transaction, Count Vladimir Kleinmichel, received in the 1060’s the coveted title Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), given for services rendered to the English royal family”

Does anyone know how Count Vladimir Kleinmichel is related to Countess Marie Kleinmichel?  Were there any other Kleinmichels to reside in England?

Forum Announcements / Re: +Robert (Bobby) Hall
« on: December 14, 2012, 12:49:12 AM »
He will be greatly missed.

requiescat in pacem Robert

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« on: September 28, 2012, 01:39:31 PM »
I have read references to Mme. Brissac and her establishment.  I also know that there was a substantial group of French people living in St. Petersburg.  I was wondering if anyone knew more about Mme. Brissac.  Does she belong to the French Ducal family de Brissac?

Here are a couple of photos of the Brisac workshop, in the immediate pre-war period of about 1912-1914, judging by the style of the costumes:

Thank you CountessKate for the information.  The gowns are just beautiful and she seems to have been quiet a business woman.  

Tony de Gandarillas

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« on: September 14, 2012, 11:06:44 AM »
I was looking through Massie's N&A looking for references of OTMA's dresses, and instead came up with Alexandra's clothing. Since Alexandra isn't a part of OTMA and there is no thread dedicated to her clothes (aside from a coronation dress thread) informal, or not, and decided to open this one up. Here I have an excerpt from Massie's book detailing Alexandra's  clothing.
"In the evening, Alexandra wore white or cream silk gowns embroidered in silver and blue worn with diamonds in her hair and pearls at her throat. She disliked filmy lingerie; her undergarments and her her sleeping gowns were made of fine, embroidered linen. Her shoes were low-heeled and pointed, usually bronze or white suede. Outdoors she carried a parasol against the sun, even when wearing a wide-brimmed hat."
(Also, her gowns were designed by St. Petersburg fashion dictator Mme. Brissac.)

I have read references to Mme. Brissac and her establishment.  I also know that there was a substantial group of French people living in St. Petersburg.  I was wondering if anyone knew more about Mme. Brissac.  Does she belong to the French Ducal family de Brissac?

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:12:23 AM »
I can barely knit, but my friend, who is a pro, said it would take him a week to complete the eagle . I can't mention his name because it would sound like an endorsement, but his work usually  goes on one off gowns but also opera costumes [as anyone could see them but they show up under the lights.  Also, gold work is very expensive. He does it only on commision.
 What you said about boys being apprenticed is still true, all over the world. In my case, our altar cloths and vestements were  embroidered by by boys in a monastery in  Poland [I think it was, that is where the  main monastery was/is. Hopefully child labour laws applied. They were apprenticed [old term] trade taring [new term] they were not part of the religious community.

Your friend must be very talented.  Gold work is expensive not only because of the time and expertise needed, but the materials themselves.  You can ask your friend and I' sure he'll let you know how expensive the gold threads, bugels, spangles, and silk threads are.  Not only are the materials expensive but also very hard to find now as many of the manufacturing companies have gone out of business or are no longer making due to lack of customers.  It is a type of embroidery that is dying out.  I commend him for helping to save a dying art.  One should ask him if he wouldn't mind be filmed while working so that others might learn.


Tony de Gandarillas

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 04, 2012, 11:18:35 PM »
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.

Hello Sanochka,

Goldwork is a type of surface embroidery in which metal threads of different types are laid or attached to the surface of the fabric using couching stitches. It reached its height of popularity during the Middle Ages and was commonly used on church embroideries, particularly vestments and wall hangings. Goldwork was also used on royal vestements, robes or clothing of the elite and nobility.

At that time, Goldwork was most often made by men.  Young boys were apprenticed to embroidery studios or ateliers where master embroiderers would teach them the art of Goldwork.  Ladies of leisure would indulge in the following embroidery techniques:  Berlin work, Blackwork, Broderie Anglaise also known as Madeira work, Crewel, Cross stitch, Cutwork, Drawn-work, Hardanger, Needlepoint, or White work.  I have seen photos of the Empress crocheting and embroidering, but never have I seen her doing Goldwork.  It is a type of work where you must sit at and cut the bullion and pearl gold pieces and then couch them to the silk with fine silk or metallic threads.  You need a lot of strength to cut the gold and much precision to complete the design with eveness.  She would have had to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours on practice work to achieve the type of skill necessary to attain the master skill we see in the pillow.

kind regards,

Tony de Gandarillas

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 03, 2012, 02:08:31 PM »
I did show the picture a friend of mine  who is anexpert embroiderer and remarked much the same, he thinks it was  professional work  and does  gold work as well. Other than historic interest and an example of gold work at its best, we both think the ugly.

I agree with you.  It is an example of the taste of that era.  For me it is a bit over the top, but the craftsmanship is quiet remarkable.  I'm sure your friend agrees that the skill level is very high, especially the Romanov emblem.

Enjoy your long weekend.


Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: September 02, 2012, 09:00:35 PM »

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

Dear Sanochka,

If you read the description of the pillowcase carefully, it does not say it was embroidered by HIH, Alexandra Feodorovna.  This is an extremely fine example of Goldwork or Bullion Work.  This looks like an example by a professional embroiderer worked on a commissioned piece for her.  Goldwork is more often made in an atelier and not an easy technique made by Society ladies of the era. 

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: August 01, 2011, 08:59:38 PM »
I know of one kind of embroidery that doesn't need a hoop; I can't seem to remember it though! *scowl*  I know the photo your talking about, taken during house arrest in 1917 at the AP Park @ Tsarskoe Selo. The embroidery is so nice! Anyone have any photos of the embroidery today?

Hardanger is also done without an embroidery hoop.  Is this the type you were thing of?

Their World and Culture / Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« on: July 29, 2011, 01:57:11 PM »
Could someone help me find some more information about Ada Winans?

She was the (second) wife of prince Paolo Troubetzkoy, and I' ve much admired a statue of her in the Galleria Nazionale d' Arte Moderna in Rome, but it seems hard to find more on her ...

Ada Winans, born 1831, died 1917, was a daughter of Anthony Van Arsdale Winans (1797-1849) and a Mrs. Jay who was not his wife.  He was a grocer and merchant in New York City with a store on Front Street that burned in the great fire of 1835. Ada graduated from St. Mary’s Hall in 1853, latter she taught there in the music department.  Ada was a lyric soprano who went to Italy to study music, especially opera.  There she met the diplomat Prince Peter Troubetzkoy, born in Tulcin, 22 August 1822, died 28 August 1892.  He had been appointed governor of Smolensk and of Orel in 1844 and was later sent on a diplomatic mission (which included supervision of the Russian Church) to Florence, Italy, where he met Ada Winans.  He was already married to Princess Vavara Yourievna Troubetzkaya by whom he had three daughters, Tatiana, Elena, and Marie.  After leaving his wife and children to live openly with Ada, he was never able to return to Russia.

Prince Troubetzkoy and Ada Winans lived at Villa Ada at Ghiffa on Lake Maggiore in Italy, where they lived a Bohemian lifestyle. The family was very artistic - Ada in music
and the Prince in botany and landscape design.  Prince Troubetzkoy was an accomplished botanist and established an important garden on the grounds of the estate.
In 1870 Prince Peter Troubetzkoy obtained a divorce from his first wife and then married Ada.  At that time they obtained legitimation for the birth of their three sons: son Paolo was an internationally famed sculptor, was born in 1866, Pierre became a noted portrait painter, married an American Amelie Rives, and Prince Eugene was born in 1867.  In 1884 financial reverses forced Prince Peter to sell Villa Ada.  He later left Ada and their sons and retired with his then-mistress, Marianna Hahn, to Milan where their illegitimate son, Peter, was born in 1886.  They moved to Menton, France where Ada’s former husband died in 1892.  Ada lived until 1917. 

The above information is from Crowning Glory- American Wives of Princes and Dukes by Richard Jay Hurto and Diane Dallal’s article:

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: July 20, 2011, 12:45:30 PM »
Forgive my ignorance please.  Over the decades there have been many sales of jewelry, dishes, and other personal effects of the Romanovs, but have there been any of the vast amount of decorative sewing done by royal ladies?  I did see one cushion cover done by Alexandra in pink and golds. It was exquisite.
All the best, Kitt

I have not seen work done by the Romanov women, but there are Royal ladies that have done a great deal in the world of needlework.

Off the top of my head, the Royal ladies who have excelled in the art of needlework are:

Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror’s wife
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine de’ Medici
Mary, Queen of Scotts
Marie, Queen of Romania

Queen Matilda and her ladies-in-waiting are attributed the creation of the Bayeaux tapestry. Indeed, in France it is occasionally known as "La Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde" (Tapestry of Queen Matilda).

It was Catherine of Aragon’s love of lace and embroidery combined with keen fashion sense that appealed to the English people, even before she was Queen.  Catherine was educated in many disciplines including the "wifely arts."  She was an accomplished embroiderer and many people believe she herself embroidered some of the King Henry's tunics.  The sudden rise in popularity of the reversible scrolling designs on collars and cuffs was certainly due in part to her influence.  In the early 1500s, Blackwork had a distinctly Spanish feel, which explains why it was often referred to as Spanysshe Work.  The black and white scrolling designs had an obvious Moorish influence, hence the term "arabesque" is often employed in the description of such designs.  Since Catherine spent her formative years in Spain and was exposed to Moorish art, architecture and textiles, it is easy to see how the association between her and Blackwork would be made.  However, it is important to note that she merely helped create fascination with this style of embroidery; she did not invent it.  The Blackwork of this period, looked like lace and was reversible, since both sides would be subject to viewing if it adorned cuffs, coifs and collars.  Hans Holbein the Younger, court painter to Henry VIII, meticulously documented these embroideries.  Holbein was not only the royal portrait artist, he was the person responsible for designing the kings robes, buttons, linens and other household goods.  It was his attention to detail and the unfailing vanity of the nobility, that allows us a look back at this phenomenon and it is in his honor that the double running stitch is also called the Holbein Stitch.

Catherine de ' Medici is noted for bringing lace making from Italy to France where it became a national treasure.  There is also an embroidery stich named for her in Italy, punto madama. 

Mary, Queen of Scotts first experience with embroidery and needlework took place in France, when she was married to Francois II, the Dauphin. Her first mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici was very skilled in the art as were most women in those days of the Renaissance. When she returned to Scotland, she would embroider while participating in her Council’s meetings, but until her period of imprisonment in England, Mary had little time to devote to needlework.

In Lady Katherine Hoare's "The Art of Tatting" (1910), not an instruction book at all but rather a book of inspiration using photos of Lady Hoare's work and the tatting of Marie, Queen of Romania. Queen Marie's work in tatting used real gold and precious gems and pearls (mostly religious items) in the pieces.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's embroidery techniques
« on: July 19, 2011, 10:18:17 PM »
In every photo that I have seen of Alexandra (or her daughters) embroidering, I notice that it does not look like she used an embroidery hoop.  Was this the way everyone embroidered back then?  It seems like it would be difficult to maintain the proper tension of the stitches without using a hoop.  Then I thought maybe she just used a small hoop which you would not necessarily see in the photos......does anyone know about the embroidery techniques of her day and whether or not she used a hoop when she embroidered.  Also, I know that she was an avid knitter......I wonder if she ever crocheted?  I am curious about these things because I, too, am a person who loves to do needlework.  Thanks for any info anyone may have.

At the time, there were many forms of embroidery that did need an embroidery hoop for equal tension of the fabric.  If you have a chance, please look at Therese de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework, available to read on line at  or The Embroidery of Madeira by Carolyn Walker & Kathy Holman.  This beautiful embroidery also known as broderie anglaise is all done without a hoop.  I hope this helps.

kind regards,

Mediatized Noble Families / Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:07:22 AM »
Page 60

“ In her memoirs, written many years later, his sister-in-law, Princess Daisy of Pless mentions in passing that even though Shelagh had been pursued by numerous suitors during Bendor’s absence, she remained independent and heart free and that on his return Bendor went again to Colonel Cornwallis-West, who this time gave permission for the marriage.  The truth, however, appears to be somewhat more complicated.  Patsy Cornwallis-West was anything but happy at having a daughter unmarried at twenty-four with no suitors who could compete with the splendour of the richest duke in England.  She resolved to do something about the situation.

After a family reunion at Saighton and some weeks in London seeing family advisers and lawyers, he retired from the Royal Horse Guards on 4 December.  Then, the most eligible man in England was invited to join a pre-Christmas party at Blenheim Palace, where the guest of honour was the Prince of Wales.  According to Bendor, who told the story many years later to Sir Shane Leslie, the Cornwallis-Wests were also there and conveniently he and Shelagh were left alone on a number of occasions, although he managed to avoid discussing the future in any detail.  Patsy saw that a firmer action had to be taken and she teased the Prince of Wales into taking Bendor aside and urging him to make plain his intentions.  In a firm, parental manner the Prince told the young man that his attentions towards Shelagh came close to compromising her good name, and that after her mother had found them alone together in the garden the night before his possible action, as a gentleman, must be to ask her to marry him.  (Some years later Bendor heard that Patsy had boasted of her cleverness in sending the pair of them out for a walk while she circled around waiting for an appropriate moment to accuse them of misbehaving.  By that time he was bitterly resentful of his interfering, greedy mother-in-law and the story made him intensely angry.)”

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5