Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty > Servants, Friends and Retainers

Count Wladimir Freedericksz (1838-1927)

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Joanne, Daniel, and Mike,

--- Quote ---I received today a book "Before the Revolution St. Petersburg in Photographs 1890-1914" by Mikhail P.Iroshnikov, etc., Abrams, NY; Nauka Publishers,  Leningrad; 1991. On page 201 is a photograph of "... the mansion of Baron V. B. Fredericks. 23 Konnogvardeisky Lane. 1908..." From memoirs I had understood that Count Fredericks lived in an appartment of a building facing the Field of Mars. There are descriptions of meetings with him in his study and where he turns facing the window watching the guards parading. The Countess had wanted to move to the larger premises that were automatically assigned to his positon by the Imperial Court to have the ability to entertain more lavishly but the Count had replied that if/when he ever lost his position then they would not have to move again. His mansion was one of the first to be invaded at the beginning of the revolution and I read in Count Grabbe's book that he gave his appartment to the Fredericks' until they were able to leave through Finland. Does anyone know if this address 23 Konnogvardeisky Lane is facing the Field of Mars? And did the mansion survive?

--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Hi Joanna!

Fascinating book isn’t it? The Horse Guards regiment occupied a whole area of downtown Petersburg in Admiralty Quarter, West of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, far from the Field of Mars.The manege was on Isaakievsky Square. Barracks were located behind it, between Horse-Guards Boulevard and  Novo-Isaakievskaya St. with the regimental church (Annunciation) at the end of these streets (Iroshnikov, p. 32). South of these buildings there was another building in U-shape with a large yard opening on Horse-Guards Lane between Novo-Isaakievskaya and Morskaya St (with Poshtamtskaya St. in the middle). In his memoirs Mossolov writes that “The Count's private residence was in the Potchtamtskaya, exactly opposite the Horse Guards' barracks. These barracks occupied an enormous area in the centre of the capital, with a drill ground surrounded on three sides by yellow and white buildings. »

Seems to me the Count’s house was on the corner of Potchtamtskaya and Horse Guards Lane. So he could have easily have looked into that yard which served as a drilling ground for his former regiment, as Mossolov recalls when describing his study : « The moment I entered the spacious room in which the Count had installed his desk, I saw that nothing had changed, nothing had been moved. The only new thing was a large picture on the wall-the parting present from the officers of the regiment he had commanded. It represented the drill ground that could be seen from his windows, and his regiment deployed in parade formation, with shining helmets and breastplates; in the foreground was Count Freedericksz, on foot, talking to his officers. »  So he didn’t watch the whole Guards parading from his window (which they did on the Fiekd of Mars until March 1905) but only his beloved Horse Guards regiment.

The barracks and the beautiful neo-classical Manege built by Quarenghi (where the annual review of the Horse Guards was held on their regimental holiday (March 25, Annunciation) have survived. The regimental church didn’t has it was destroyed by the Communists in the 1930s (as most probably was the regimental standard which had been hidden in the church after the Revolution). As for the Count’s mansion, Mossolov writes that « his house was to be the first to be destroyed on the morrow of the revolution, » It was burnt down if I recall correctly. I didn’t check what was at this address last time I was in Petersburg so I have no idea if the building survived or not.

Hope this helps!

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--- Quote ---Just don't forget that there are Konnogvardeyskiy Boulevard and Konnogvardeyskiy Lane, perpendicular each to other. "Our" building is at the Lane, No. 8 (23 at Pochtamtskaya St.).
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I just got the book St Petersburg: Portrait of an Imperial City.  In it is the following photo mistakenly identified as “Stonebreakers near Senate Square”.  By comparing the photo of Baron Freedericks house and this one, I think this photograph is of the Horse Guards open yard along Konnogvardeisky Lane.  When I first saw the picture of Baron Frederick's house, I had assumed the horse statues surrounded his home.  From the new photo, you can see that they actually are gates to the Horse Guards Courtyard and they and the trees define the courtyard.  It is in this courtyard that I'm sure the Guards did the parading that Frederick's would watch from his window.  Baron Frederick's house can be seen on the right side of the photo.  The building at the end of the courtyard is the wing of the Horse Guards Barracks along what my maps call Yakubovicha Street.

This give me a better understanding of what the area was like.  Hope you find it interesting also.

Baron Fredericks House

House Guards Courtyard


Great pictures Bob! The mansion looks much more impressive than a hostel for post-office workers built in the 1930s on the same plot. The horse statues of Castor and Pollux are now standing in front of the Horse Guard Manege, where they originally belonged.


Forum Admin:
Mossolov "At the Court of the Last Tsar"

[Count Freedericksz was descended from a Swedish officer who had been taken prisoner by Russian troops and interned at Archangel. -One of his ancestors had won distinction as banker to Catherine II, and had been ennobled with the title of Baron. The Count's father, a soldier, went through many campaigns: he was present at the capture of Paris, and was for a long time Officer Commanding the 13th Regiment at Erivan, in the Caucasus, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He ended his career as General A.D.C. to Alexander II.

Freedericksz-then Baron Vladimir Borisovitch Freedericksz-began his career as an officer in the Horse Guards. Alexander III appointed him first Master of the Horse and later assistant to the Minister of the Court. The Minister was then Count Vorontzov. After the disaster at Hodynka Count Vorontzov sent in his resignation: he had been charged with making insufficient provision for the public safety. The Tsar considered the Minister entirely free from responsibility for the disaster, and asked him to remain at his post.

But Vorontzov made one great mistake. He had known Nicholas II since he was a baby, and took up a protective attitude towards him, the attitude, as it were, of an older relation. Nicholas himself regarded this as entirely natural; but the young Empress did not. She could not permit a Count Vorontzov to be on familiar terms with her husband. One day, when nothing could have been farther from the Count's mind, he was notified that his resignation, which had 'so often been offered to His Majesty', was accepted; later on he was sent as Viceroy to the Caucasus.

Freedericksz took his brother officer's place, at first as Acting Minister and afterwards as Minister. The appointment created a great sensation at the Court. Freedericksz did not belong to the highest ranks of the nobility, and none of his family had ever been in close association with the Throne, except his father, as General A.D.C. It was plain that the Tsar had known how to appreciate his simplicity, his tact, and his unsullied integrity. Freedericksz retained his post until the final catastrophe.

Count Freedericksz (he had received the title of Count from Nicholas II) was very rich, and that gave him the sense of independence that was so necessary amid the intrigues and the raging appetites that surrounded him.


I was curious, did the count's wife go by Alexandra in Russia? I've always thought her name was Yadviga until I read The Court of the Last Tsar.


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