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Messages - masha

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The Imperial Family / Re: OTMAA's birthdays/birthplaces
« on: June 21, 2004, 08:14:53 PM »
Hello Sarai - just to answer your question about name days: it is the custom in the Russian Orthodox Church to name your baby after the saint whose is  commemorated either on the date of birth of the baby or closely there after.

Everyday of the year on the Orthodox calendar commemorates the memory of any one of the prophets, apostles, martyrs, saints, holy mothers & fathers and the angels of God in Heaven. Most of the time it commemorates the death or martyrdom of theses individuals, but it also includes the birth or baptism of the most outstanding i.e. the birth of the Holy Mother of God & Ever Virgin Mary on September 21.

Hope this helps - I can direct you to some web sites that give more detail - just let me know.


Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« on: June 20, 2004, 04:49:40 PM »
Getting back to the original theme of this posting, here’s a description you may find interesting & that sheds light on what it must have been like to be a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. It is taken from “For My Grandchildren – Reminiscences of Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Countess of Athlone”. (Prince Leopold’s daughter, who was also Empress Alexandra’s first cousin):

“Each lady had a lady’s maid and every gentleman had a valet. There were many servants and one of the duties of the housemaids was to preheat the beds with warming pans. These contraptions, made of polished copper and looking like a frying pan with a cover on it and a very long handle, were filled with red-hot coals and swished about between the sheets by a housemaid just before the hour at which the family retired…sometimes maids, too lazy to prepare the warming pan, heated the beds with their own bodies, getting out just before the occupants arrived upstairs….In the mornings one was awakened by servants bearing highly polished copper cans full of hot water. A “hip bath” shaped like a high-backed chair without legs, was placed in the middle of the room and filled with hot water, the windows were closed and the fire relit. Who shall say that electric blankets and central heating are more luxurious than such amenities? …As the cropping and bobbing of hair was not generally practised, the brushing of long tresses and the use of the curling tongs could be quite a business for oneself or one’s maid. On the other hand, we were spared the modern practice of paying frequent visits to professional hairdressers. Artificial curls were sometimes added to the natural coiffure. Facial make-ups were taboo, though on special occasions a little rice powder on the nose or a touch of geranium petal on the cheeks might be allowed. The painting of finger and or toe-nails was never practised, though we had to keep our nails highly polished. The painted lips and nails and rouged cheeks of today were confined to courtesans and the stage. Long hair was often plaited and wound around the head; buns were common.
Skirts and petticoats were voluminous and even day-skirts trailed along the ground. These and the crinolines and corsets made the assistance of a maid, even for young girls, essential. Mariners who were accustomed to bending or reefing sail in a square-rigged ship during a strong gale would have made convenient husbands… The liberty & independence of the modern young woman contrasts sharply with the discipline imposed upon the girls with whom I grew up. We were never allowed to go anywhere without a lady-in-waiting or chaperon. I was severely reprimanded when I was caught driving in a carriage through the streets of Potsdam with a cousin, but unaccompanied by my lady-in-waiting. Yet, because of these restrictions our amusements were all the more exciting. As we were very dependent on one another for our mutual entertainment, I think we attached more importance to our friendships and were more considerate of others than present –day-families…Notwithstanding our trailing skirts, our side-saddle riding habits, our absurd bathing costumes and our chaperons we enjoyed games and our lives were not devoid of romance. We had our own decorous methods of conducting a flirtation or attracting masculine attention. More eloquent messages can be conveyed by downcast eyes, embarrassed blushes, a graceful curtsey, a slim waistline, a turn of soft shoulders or the discreet glimpse of a beautiful bosom than by extravagant make-up, bold-glances or the unabashed display of nylon knees. Thora recalled how on one occasion, just before they went in to dinner, Grandmamma (Queen Victoria), having concluded that her granddaughter’s dress was too low, pointed with her fan and said, “A little rose in front, dear child, because of the footmen.”

Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: June 16, 2004, 09:17:16 PM »

I recall somewhere the faster set of the family - the Vladimiritchi (Boris & Andrei) & the Tsar's brother, Michael & Countess Brassova, as well as GD Dimitry & Felix Youssoupov seem to have collections of jazz recordings. Sorry to not remember where I read this, as it was from several different books read many years ago.


Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: June 01, 2004, 12:44:03 AM »
I find the Wagner bit rather interesting, as he was considered a little avante garde for the time (& still does to me even today  :P ) Now, I would like to know what N&A thought about Rachmanninov or Mossoursky, especially the former, as he was an up-and-commer just before the revolution & his music - particularly his concertos 1- 4 evoke all the turmoil & heartbreak of the time.
Also, while the jazz/ragtime seems out of character for Alix, the family as a whole were exposed to alot of modern stuff at the time. Alexei watched Mickey Mouse movies at his birthday party, and the gilrs were painting figures that looked much like Betty Boop at age 3. Also, it has to be remembered that Alix's brother was on the cutting edge of all things artistic with his involvment with the art nouveau/arts & crafts community etc. If anyone has ever seen some of his own doodlings, I'm sure they would find them quite shockingly modern - cycloptic cubes & such. Any way, when it comes to music, they were really "with-it", as it were, or at least in the know.


Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: May 30, 2004, 11:30:05 PM »
RE: Gypsy instruments, I do know that violins, guitars, zithers or zymbale, tamborines, accordian or some sort of squeeze box & bass were played. I'm sure if you searched on google using the key words: gypsy, instruments, russia & 19th century - you would come up with something. Cheers!


Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: May 30, 2004, 11:10:58 PM »
Oh, & one more thing, I recall reading somewhere that the Imperial family were exposed to jazz music & other music from america via recordings played on the gramaphone. Don't know if they really liked it much, though.


Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: May 30, 2004, 11:07:23 PM »
You are very welcome, Maria.
Just something else i recall... a video documentary depicted the Tsarina sitting at fireside, listening to a gypsy trio or quartet perform for her in her private apartments near the end of the reign. Gypsy music was very popular back then, especially before WWI, when both ALix & Ella were taken as newlyweds by their husbands by troika into the countryside to see the gypsies perform. That's all for now. How one would love to be able to step back to that time & be with them to experience all of that life & colour!


Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« on: May 30, 2004, 10:57:08 PM »
I recall reading somewhere that the smell of food from the Tsarskoy Tselo kitchens made her sick when passed by her window - so much so that an underground tunnel was built connecting the kitchens to the palace. Not sure if this was during her child bearing years or after, though.


Their World and Culture / Re: The Imperial Family and Their Music
« on: May 30, 2004, 10:37:35 PM »
The Tsarina, Alexandra was a brillian pianist, practically a virtuoso. If I recall correctly, her favorite composer was Beethoven, and that during her youth she was asked by her grandmother, Queen Victoria to perform - much to Alix's dislike. She also played the banjo and perhaps even the ukulele. In later life, she & Anna Vyrobova played duets together on the piano, and would sing some sort of cabaret or songs from the theatre which the Tsar did not approve of - or maybe just did not like the sound of - someone can step in & clarify me on this at any time now.
The family all loved liturgical music sung in the Russian Orthodox Chuch, and of course Russian folk songs. I recall that Princess Yousopova arranged for a choir of 1000 singers to perfom at her estate for the Imperial family one evening out in the couryard. Another tidbit is about Tsar ALexander III, who loved military bands & once played God Save the Tsar on every instrument in one of the brass bands that accompanied the family.

The Final Chapter / Re: Were the Grand Duchesses raped?
« on: May 30, 2004, 10:22:03 PM »
when you say that"...the girls were wearing their jeweled bodices, the ones they had been sewing valubles into at Tobolsk, surely if the unmetionably had happened these would have been discovered!!!"
it should be pointed out that their captors already knew the jewels were concealed. Check our Penny & Greg's book  Fate of the Romanovs


The Yussupovs / Re: Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitriy Pavlovitch
« on: May 25, 2004, 10:41:05 PM »
Getting back to the question about how regular, everyday folk would have behaved back then, I would like to point out that we are talking about a culture that looked the other way only when it concerned the wealthy or aristocracry. For the common man, you were sure to hide any tendencies that were not deemed the norm - in other words, old Russia - especially in the out-back & villages was very traditional, & very ruthless in it's treatment toward's those who behaved differently. I think it is safe to say that not much has changed even today.


O.K. - & I'm sure that this has already been discussed or pointed out somewhere on this board, but here goes again..... For those of us old enough to have lived through the Lady/princess Diana days from start to finish, there are very obvious parallel lines to draw between the two women - starting with all the hounding from the public and the press - yes, Alix had to run & hide from crowds during her engagement, and let's turn it up a notch when she moves to Russia in adjusting to not only the attention from her subjects, but to the magnitude of courtiers, police, protocol - everything new & by someone else's rule book - namely her mother-in-law's. Let's not forget that for the first months of their marriage, Alix & Nicholas as Tsar & Tsarina lived in a few rooms in his mother's palace, & basically deprived of their privacy & freedom (everything was regulated according to Marie’s schedule - the Dowager even went so far as to order dresses for Alix which she hated.) it wasn't until the newlyweds returned from a brief get-away at the Alexander Palace, that Alix asserted herself by throwing away the wardrobe her mother-in-law gave her & basically did as she pleased.

So what does this have to do with Alix being a lousy wife & Diana's soul sister? Perhaps the fact that they ultimately had so little control over so many aspects of their lives with so many other people in the picture that they ultimately came to behave in ways that ticked many people off.  Except with one big difference - Alix had an incredible husband.



I know this may sound overly puffed-up & rather officious, but when we were at the British Museum a few years ago, the staff told me that as a librarian, & upon presentation of my professional papers/identification, I could have "unlimited access" to their collection. Don't know if that would help you in any way in gaining access to this place in Berlin or with researching Irene's papers, but if it could open any doors for you, I would be willing to help.


The Hesse-Darmstadts (Hesse and by Rhine) / Re: Grand Duke Ludwig IV
« on: March 12, 2004, 01:15:25 AM »
Hi Sarai,

I was surprised to find a lot of information about the Empress' father in the book: "Prince Leopold, the untold story of Queen Victoria's youngest son" by Charlotte Zeepvat. Evidently, her uncle and her father developed a rather close relationship after the death of Princess Alice, and Leopold was a frequent visitor to Darmstadt. I'm afraid I can't recall all the details, so you'll have to track down the book.  I too would like to learn more about Alix's father - his childhood, family, etc. and to see more pictures of his side altogether to see where he got his good looks from. The more I look at him, the more I see a resemblance in a few of the Grand Duchesses.

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Romanov Items/Souvenirs that You Own
« on: March 12, 2004, 12:34:00 AM »
Dear Konstantin

To me on a personal level $98,000 is alot of money, I mean we paid that much for our first house - but for something like what you have, I would say that it should be worth at least that much. I would also caution you on sending anything that valuable anywhere - take it personally. Also, i would suggest you find a number of opinions, starting with some of the experts at some of the better known auction houses - such as Sotheby's and Christies. Morover, check with some of the big Jewellers - like Cartier. In other words, I'm NOT trying to disuade you from seeking expert advice in Russia (far from it) but being a research professional, I say that one always seeks out more than one source to verify accuracy. Another way to is to check your local library for any books about anitque hallmarks. I truly wish you all the best!

Hi Konstantin!
My apologies for being so inarticulate and such a sloppy writer! I only just reviewed now what I first wrote to you a few days ago and noticed today my typing error - I've modified my original posting to read: "In other words, I am NOT trying to disuade you..."  I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding and please forgive me for making you so upset - it was not my intent, and as I really am not an expert in antiques, I should have really kept quiet. Also, I meant to say that I wanted to be sure that I was reading 98 thousand dollars, and not just 98 dollars. ;D
O.K. that's all from me, and please remember that I am really excited for you! Wishing you much prosperity, happiness and above all, peace of mind


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