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

Count Wladimir Freedericksz (1838-1927)

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I believe these are views looking straight at Count Fredericks house on the left corner:

Can anyone confirm?



--- Quote from: Katia on March 31, 2006, 01:11:01 AM ---He was a Finnish citizen (his family owned a big Taubila manor in Finland, Pyhäjärvi in Karelia), and was allowed to move to Finland after the revolution. The family lived in Helsinki, Rahapajankatu 3.
--- End quote ---

Katia, Is this the Taubila estate in Pyhäjärvi owned by Count Fredericks?

And a photograph of Rahapajankatu 3:


Here are some photographs of Baron Fredericks.

An excerpt from 'The Blue Steppes - Adventures Among Russians' by Gerard Shelley of his visit to Count Fredericks house on Konnogvardeysky Per in 1915:

Chapter VII


BY THOSE MYSTERIOUS HANDS that weave our fortunes I was fated to enter
the house in the Horseguards' Alley in Petrograd. It had nothing unusual in its outward
look except a large square window overhanging the carriage archway. That, in itself, was nothing startling. It merely jutted out like a large glass eye in the flat surface of the long line of unpre- tentious mansions. As one turned the corner of the Horseguards' Avenue and looked down the alley, it winked at one with the gleam of daylight in its broad panes…When I first saw it, in 191 5, grinning at me with its hideous row of white teeth and red gums, it wore a white ruffle and a yellow satin jacket adorned with a black coronet. It was swinging on the golden ring, its lower anatomy looking like a blue balloon. Next time I passed the window I was surprised to see the monkey in a
red frill and a green satin jacket with a red coronet. Moreover, it was seated on the shoulder of an extremely beautiful woman, fondling her white neck and playing with the rich, dark tresses that hung loose down her back. It was already mid-day, but the beautiful woman was still clad in a yellow, bird-embroidered kimono, having evidently just come out of her morning bath. Late-rising was a common habit among the ladies of Petrograd owing to their fondness for night life. I found the woman so royally beautiful — she seemed to have stepped out of a Rubens picture — that the house which I had first
distinguished as the house with the winking window, and then the house with the grinning monkey, became at last the house with the Rubens beauty. I wanted to know more about her.

Luckily it did not take me long to find out. Her next-door neighbour was Count Fredericks, the aged, affable Minister of the Imperial Court. He was interested in some translations I had made from Pushkin, Lermontov, and other Russian
poets, and had invited me to lunch. We were just a few at table, including M. Derfeiden, a
young officer whose sister danced at the palace of Prince Yusoopov on the night of Rasputin's murder, and Count Kleinmichel, a man I had known in Kharkov.

In his rather sombre dining-room, with its dull pictures of still life on the panelled walls and an old English clock whose crazy chimes went off every ten minutes, Count Fredericks entertained his guests with tasty riabchiks and still tastier talk about the Court. He was a man of the old school (his delightfully undulous moustaches advertised the fact) and strongly disapproved of the mysticism that had invaded the Imperial family. Intensely German in feelings and outlook, he detested the presence of Rasputin at the Court, though his stern sense of duty and honour forbade him to give credence to the lurid tales which were everywhere in circulation. He confined himself to the ordinary small talk of the Court camarilla, relating trivial, harmless incidents about Madame Vyroubova and the Empress's ladies-in-waiting, their mutual antagonisms and feline
sallies, about Rasputin's prophecies and visions, and what certain irate grand dukes had sworn to do in order to get rid of the pious peasant.

In the midst of such a stream of interesting talk, it was no easy task for me to lead up to the subject of the beautiful neighbour. It was not until the conversation had veered round to the gruesome subject of Princess Dolgorouki's skeleton that I found the chance good for a general discussion of the drawing-room hobbies of the Russian aristocracy. I remembered entering the drawing-room of Princess Dolgorouki's house on the
English Quay and being startled by a human skeleton standing up stark and ghastly just behind the gilt screen by the door. It was the first thing that struck one's gaze before one advanced to greet its beautiful and gifted owner.

Count Fredericks, though bordering on the eighties, could still twinkle a merry eye, carry
his wine like a soldier, and turn a tale with the art of a past-master. A few days previously, it appeared, he had assisted the Emperor in distributing some war medals for deeds of valour. There had been a great concourse of drums and trumpets and several staff officers, heady with pride of position and the cut of their trousers, had received the Cross of St. George. Among them was a young Count Elston, whose elegance
and arrogance matched his careful avoidance of danger in the trenches and his contempt for all risks on the matrimonial front. He had already, at the age of twenty-five, cheated three fellow-officers of their wives and married them one after the other. As the law permitted no more than three divorces, he was now obliged to win laurels on the military front instead of winning other men's wives, a practice that was almost universal
amongst the educated classes of Russia. So he applied in the usual indirect manner through an uncle for the medal of St. George. Having got it, he asked for leave to return to Petrograd so that he might display his new glory. On the night of his arrival, he went to a large party given at Princess Dolgorouki's house. His pride and arrogance knew no bounds. His loud voice and jingling spurs kept everyone aware of him. During the evening he had occasion to go out to the cloakroom. His jingling spurs were heard retreating down the corridor. Suddenly a terrible shriek rent the atmosphere. Footmen and visitors rushed forward and discovered the haughty count lying white and prostrate on the floor. Before him stood the open door of a cupboard, in the dark hole of which shone the white skeleton of a man.

They brought him to with a Httle cold water. It was then explained that Princess Dolgorouki had decided to do away with the skeleton as an ornament of her drawing-room and had stowed it away in the cupboard near the cloakroom. The valorous count, wearing his shining new order, had opened the wrong door by mistake.

When Count Fredericks had finished relating this story, I found it opportune to ask who was the beautiful neighbour whose chief window adornment seemed to be a grinning monkey.

Count Fredericks burst into a merry chuckle. An old man's chuckle has the flavour of old
vintage. He lifted both his hands and drew out his long moustaches with gentle caressings.

To be cont'd ...

Cont'd ...

" Here's a fine young fellow ! " he exclaimed. " One eye on the poets and the other on the
beauties of the natural creation. Taste . . . exquisite, as you see, gentlemen. When I was
young and handsome, I was just as keen. And if in those days I had seen such a beauty as one sees every morning in the overhanging window next door, fondling that monstrous monkey, I should have known my career. Well, Fm not too old to take an interest in her even now. One can't live long next door to a monkey and a beauty without wanting to know a litde of their history. I can tell you, gentlemen, that I soon took steps to find out."

*' Who is she ? " the men asked eagerly. " A demi-mondaine ? "

Count Fredericks held up his hands and waved them downwards as though to allay such unsetding thoughts.

" By no means ! " he declared. " A most respectable woman, daughter of a merchant,
honorary citizen of the town of St. Petersburg. (He always spoke of the town by its historic name.) She was married at nineteen to a penniless man in the Foreign Office, divorced him a few years later and took up nursing w^hen the war broke out.
Then she made the acquaintance of Vadimsky, the proprietor of the Petrograd Chronicle, who was on his last legs with consumption. She nursed him devotedly till he died after making her his wife and leavino- her a tremendous fortune. His newspaper sold like hot cakes since the outbreak of w^ar. Since his death she still runs the hospital for wounded soldiers which he had opened on the top floor of the house and where she first entered his life as a war-nurse. He died about three months ago. About a month later she installed the monkey and by w^ay of consolation sews new coats and frills for it every day. But
there are other developments on the way. Now that she has inherited the Vadimsky fortune, she has a host of suitors, some of them with coronets. She turns them all away with a weary sigh and embroiders a new coronet on the monkey's coat for each noble offer she declines."

*' Is she satisfied with her bourgeois station ? " Count Kleinmichel asked.

Count Fredericks chuckled in the manner familiar to those who knew him. He never looked upon courtly gravity as being anything more than a part of court dress. He always seemed to thank God for laughter.

*' Is any woman satisfied with her station ? " he asked. " Was Eve ? We can wait and watch. It isn't because there's no apple on the tree. In fact there are too many. But most of them are far too small. Madame Vadimsky declares she will only marry for love. Very well ! a lovely ideal ! But some people say the Grand Duke S has set his eye at the lovely idealist. Marriage would be rather a difficulty. The Grand Duke would have to live abroad if he married her. Gossips hint that the Grand Duke has too much ambition at home to risk life with love abroad. But, as I said before, Madame Vadimsky is a most respectable woman. She is testing the depth of the Grand Duke's love before she comes
to a decision."

The full text which includes interesting chapters on Rasputin and the author's radical view of the man for that time:



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