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Messages - s.v.markov

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Depending of course on condition and edition, that list is worth at least  UK£1,000, and probably more. Many of the books listed are extremely rare now, and command high prices when, on rare occasions, they come up for sale.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Books about OTMAA
« on: March 21, 2009, 05:15:42 AM »
I think over the years we have built up our understanding of each member of the IF by putting together all the accounts available and sifting through them, rejecting the unreliable and flimsy, and building up on those we consider trustworthy. Perhaps Paul Gilbert's forthcoming book 'Born in the Purple' will finally provide a true picture ~ at least as far as OTMA are concerned. For me, the accounts below have proved to be pretty good, even given the passage of time :
 At the Court of the Last Tsar (Mossolov, 1935)
 Thirteen Years at the Russian Court (Gilliard, 1924)
 Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo (Benckendorff, 1927)
 The Real Romanovs (Botkin, 1932)

I believe all are available to read on the main AP site.

Nothing comes immediately to mind, but Wikipedia mentions a book by O. Baer entitled 'Prinzess Eliza Radziwill' published in Berlin in 1908. it will be in German of course. Try Gilbert's Royalty Bookshop website.

The Tudors / Re: 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« on: February 13, 2009, 03:54:55 AM »
Yes, Leanda de Lisle quotes this story ~ though not in the wonderful original language quoted by Mari above ~ in Ch. VII, pages 67ff. The author goes on to say that Ascham used the episode to support his theory that pupils did better if their teachers treated them kindly, but the passage has been misused since, as 'proof' of the cruelty of Jane's parents, especially her mother. Leanda de Lisle goes on to quote another letter written by Ascham to Jane a few months later. In this he makes his admiration for Jane clear, and adds the hope that her sister Katherine, then aged only ten, would one day follow in her footsteps. He had nothing but good words for her parents, who, he noted, delighted in her achievements. Her father had invested in Jane all the hopes a nobleman normally placed in a son ~ and that inevitably meant a rigorous, even harsh, educational regime (page 70). Read the book to see the rest.......!

The Tudors / 'The Sisters who would be Queen'
« on: February 12, 2009, 02:37:05 PM »
A new book recently published here in UK ~ 'The Sisters who would be Queen' ~ The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, by Leanda de Lisle (Harper Press, 2008). It's already on Amazon, with a good reduction in price. An excellent book, real scholarly history. The author gives us the 'brief life and grim times of Lady Jane Grey and her family in merciless clarity and dazzling detail. This is a marvellously told and quite terrifying biography' (Telegraph, 17.01.09). Don't expect the traditional Victorian portrayal of LJG as the hapless child-victim, but rather see a questioning, intelligent young woman with a sense of her own dignity and an unfailing Protestant faith. Unlike most books on this subject, this one does not end with Jane's execution, but goes on to look at the subsequent lives and deaths of her two sisters Katherine and Mary, who were both named as heirs to Elizabeth by their great uncle Henry VIII.

There are many ~ from the older books such as Peter Kurth's 'Anastasia ~ The Life of Anna Anderson' (1983) to a  more recent one by Frances Welch entitled 'A Romanov Fantasy ~ Life at the Court of Anna Anderson' (2007). As for 'reliable' ~ it's easy for us to criticise now that we know the truth, but Kurth's book is still a good read. Frances Welch brings the story up to date. If you like fictionalised versions of the story, try 'The Pretender' by Mary Morrissy (2000).

The Byzantine Heritage / Re: BYZANTIUM 330-1453
« on: January 12, 2009, 06:49:05 AM »
Absolutely right! This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these exhibits. A 'must see' for iconophiles ~ e.g. Icon of Archangel Michael stolen as part of Crusade booty in 1204) and taken to Venice. Have a nice lunch at the Royal Academy, and then go to 'Magnificence of the Tsars' at the Victoria and Albert. Get really close to the Coronation robes of Nicholas II ! What a day ~ and it's 'Babylon' tomorrow!!

....And 'Born in the Purple' ~ The Private World of the Children of Tsar Nicholas II ~ by Paul Gilbert, due October 2009, from Gilbert's Royal Books.........

Having Fun! / Re: Whose Christmas?
« on: December 25, 2008, 03:26:41 AM »
Correct! Grand Duchess Marie is describing her Christmas with her Father Grand Duke Paul and her brother Dmitri in their palace on the Neva in St Petersburg. Sadly her Mother (Alexandra of Greece) had already died by this time. The full description can be found in 'Education of a Princess', published in 1931. Marie and Dmitri later became the wards of GD Serge and GD Ella.

Having Fun! / Whose Christmas?
« on: December 24, 2008, 12:42:40 PM »
I like to read about the way Christmas was celebrated in various Russian palaces. Whose Christmas is being described here? Why not have a guess, and add another Christmas extract for us to read?

"At Christmas my Father was particularly joyous, and Christmas was the peak of our year. Days before, the trees would be brought out and set up. Then the doors of the great reception hall would be closed; then mysterious preparations, half-sensed, would go forward all around us; then, and only then throughout all our year, would the brooding calm of that great palace be driven away and replaced by a joyous and delicious agitation. As Christmas Eve approached our excitement became so intense that it required all the vigilance of our nurses to keep us from stealing a look behind those closed doors. To calm us they would take us driving, but Christmas lights and decorations and the gay holiday spirit of the crowds that thronged around our carriage in the streets only excited us the more. Finally the great moment came. When we were dressed Father came for us. He led us to the doors of the closed reception hall and made a sign. The electric lights within the hall were snapped off, the doors thrown open. Before our enchanted eyes appeared, in that immense dark room, the magic trees, ablaze with candles. Our hearts stopped beating, and tremblingly we entered after our father. He made another sign; darkness vanished; along the walls appeared tables covered with white cloths and on these tables were the gifts. Our first glance at those tables, our first confused, rapturous attempt to see everything at once ~ no joy that I have experienced in all the years since can be compared to that!"

A very Happy Christmas to all AP members!

News Links / Re: Magnificence of the Tsars on Display at the V&A Museum
« on: December 10, 2008, 05:28:28 AM »
'Magnificence of the Tsars' opens today (Wednesday 10th December 2008) at the V & A, London, S7. The exhibits (all from the Kremlin) are mainly court attire worn by Peter II and the six Tsars who came after him, up to 1917. I believe there is a catalogue. Phone enquiries on 020 7942 2000.

This is an interesting and inexpensive little book ~ about 'postcard' size, hardback, and containing pictures of around 50 postcards on Russian topics from about 1904 to the early 20's. They are a small fraction of an immense collection, on every subject imaginable, gathered together by one man (John Fraser) over a period of sixty years or so. He finally presented the whole lot to the Bodleian Library, Oxfod. In his introduction, Andrew Roberts reminds us that the postcard was the early 20th Century's equivalent to the email ~ written and sent quickly to make a point, share an item of news, or remind someone of an important theme or thought. The selection reproduced here is of interest on many levels. The reverse side of the postcard (on which the message is written) is also shown in each case, and is often just as interesting as the picture itself. It is true a few of the cards are lurid, cruel and unkind, and portray the Romanovs in a way we are not accustomed to seeing (on this forum at least), but we have to remember this is how the revolutionary groups perceived them. Others, however, are tender reminders of how the Imperial Family was portrayed to the Russian populace in the first decade of the 20th Century ~ a postcard of the five children in sailor suits in August 1908 on holiday at Shkery, Finland, is a fine example. The most poignant postcard, in my view, is a view of the Governor's House, Tobolsk, written (in Russian) on 2nd November 1917, and addressed to Peter Sergeivich Tolstoy in Odessa. The card says : 'I send you my warmest thanks for your message and your good memories, O.' Almost worth buying the book for that one item alone ~ although it has been published before. Details at

This is a TV show in which members of the public bring along antiques and interesting items, and experts discuss and value them. On the most recent edition, the son of Commander H.W.Fothergill (he served on HMS Marlborough in 1919) brought along an album of photographs, letters and other memorabilia which his father had put together after the voyage to rescue the survivors of the Romanov family. There was one particular letter from the Dowager Empress thanking Commander Fothergill and the crew for all their kindness, and a signed photograph of her. I would have liked a closer look at the album! The expert acknowledged that it was impossible to put a value on such a unique collection, but said a figure of £10,000 would be an absolute minimum if it ever came up for auction. I recall Frances Welch is currently preparing a new book on HMS Marlborough ~ it might be worth contacting the Fothergill family to see what else they've got!

The Hesse-Darmstadts (Hesse and by Rhine) / Re: Books on the Hesse Royals
« on: September 08, 2008, 03:54:49 PM »
Well, I've just finished reading the book today ~ all 631 pages ~ and I must say I enjoyed it immensely! The central character of Victoria became very real to me as the book progressed, and every event in this long saga is portrayed with feeling and sympathy. At last I now have a clear grasp of the 'minor' characters ~ the Cecilias and Sophies, for example ~ I was never sure who they were before reading this book! Something else I really liked ~ when Victoria says (on more than one occasion) ..'a photo was taken to record this...'  Then I could go to one of my photo books and actually find the photo she is talking about and identify all the characters! The family group at Ernst and V.Melita's marriage in 1894 is a good example.  Thank you to the author for writing the book, and to AP for bringing it to our attention.

Having Fun! / Re: help please!!!!
« on: August 11, 2008, 12:32:03 AM »
Yes, of course, good point Robert. I've just checked in Tom Tierney's book and there are some 'everyday' costumes as well as all the finery, so it may still be of some use.

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