The Emperor’s Family: The Museum of Holy Royal Passion-Bearers in Moscow

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 14 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 10th April 2018, the Museum of Holy Royal Martyrs opened in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow. The permanent exhibit Family of the Emperor includes personal items, historical relics, photographs and other exhibits which reflect the life of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Many exhibits are presented to visitors for the very first time.

“There are a lot of personal items here of the Emperor Nicholas II and his family, including an icon, a napkin, photographs, and more. Not only are they historical artifacts, they have a cardinal value for Orthodox people, like any object of a loved one who has left us” – said Konstantin Kapkov.

193a

Konstantin Kapkov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

The exposition features items from the private collection of the famous Moscow artist-restorer Alexander Vasilyevich Renzhin, who over the past few decades has reverently collected everything connected with the memory of Nicholas II, his family and his ancestors. Renzhin is a collector, artist, icon painter, art historian, researcher, restorer, and an expert of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in the field of paintings and church art. He is the Founder and head of the icon painting workshops Kupina (1987) and Kanon (since 1995).

193b

Vladimir Lavrov. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Doctor of Historical Sciences, and member of the Council of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Vladimir Lavrov notes:

“The year marking the 100th anniversary of the murder of the last Tsar and his family should be a year of historical memory. We must live it with honour, and it is very important that a center, a museum of spiritual and moral education, centered on the fate and reign of Nicholas II, be created. It is of great importance that the museum be Russian, Orthodox, and in Moscow … “

As a convinced monarchist, the creator of the exposition is convinced that this year will be the beginning of the revival of the historical form of government in Russia. Just as it happened in 1613 after the feat of the national hero Ivan Susanin. The feat, glorified in Mikhail Glinka’s opera Life for the Tsar, which sounded, including, at the last coronation in 1896.

193c

Alexander Renzhin. Photo: TV channel “Tsargrad”

Alexander Renzhin shared with his aspirations about Russia’s future with Russian television network Tsargrad:

“We placed Glinka’s score with in our exposition, and in front of it sits a double-lamp, which was specially made for the coronation of the Emperor Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, held in Moscow in May 1896. But now the lamp lies unlit. But it is my hope, that in Russian patriotic circles, we will find opportunities to revive not only Orthodoxy in it’s highest form during the era of Nicholas II, but we will revive autocracy and relight this lamp!”

The permanent exhibition Family of the Emperor is open daily, except Monday, in the Museum of Russian Art in Moscow.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 December 2019

Round-Table Forum on Nicholas II Held in Moscow

192a

Konstantin Malofeev (second from left), chairman of the Double-headed Eagle Society

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 17 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

“The context of the important dates of the country’s history, related to the last Russian Sovereign Nicholas II, can not but influence the development of the country.”

That is why a fair interpretation of the events connected with the downfall of the Russian Empire and its last sovereign contributes to a more intensive spiritual and political development of the country.

In 2018, Russia marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russia’s last emperor and tsar Nicholas II, and the 100th anniversary of the massacre of members of the Imperial family.

The act of villainous execution, of course, requires additional comprehension and discussion by historians, politicians, journalists and public figures.

This was guided by the Double-Headed Eagle Society and the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, who held a joint round table forum in Moscow on 11th April 2018: “Nicholas II: to the 150th Anniversary of his Birth and the 100th Anniversary of the Massacre.”

The event, organized by the Double-Headed Eagle Society, with the assistance of the Public Chamber, included representatives from Moscow, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, and Stavropol.

The Terek Cossack Host was represented at the forum, as well as the Union of Cossacks of the Warriors of Russia and Abroad (SKVRZ). The round table was moderated by Konstantin Malofeev, chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society.

192b

Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow

The round table was opened by the welcoming speech of Alexander Tkachenko, Chairman of the Commission on Philanthropy, Civic Education and Social Responsibility of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

This was followed by the welcome speech of the member of the Commission on charity, civic education and social responsibility of the Society S. Rudov.

The first report “Emperor Nicholas II and his influence on the historical and political processes in the world” was made by the chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society Konstantin Malofeev.

This was followed by “Preserving the historical memory of the Imperial family: the experience of cooperation of state, church and social organizations”, presented by Anna Gromova, candidate of historical sciences, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Elisavetinsky-Sergievsky Educational Society.

Then the floor was given to Alexander Zakatov, the director of the office of the Head of the Russian Imperial House. He made a presentation on the topic “Orthodox veneration of St. Emperor Nicholas II and his family and the legal protection of their memory in modern conditions.”

Deputy editor-in-chief of the Tsargrad television channel, Mikhail Smolin, Ph.D. in History, gave a detailed account of the influence of monarchical consciousness on Russian statehood. In his report, attention was focused on the advantages of a monarchic system of government.

Doctor of Historical Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Lavrov made a presentation on “The reign of Nicholas II and the present: what remains relevant?”

192c

Delegates at the round-table forum on Nicholas II held on 11th April in Moscow

And the next Russian historian and writer Konstantin Kapkov spoke about the spiritual world of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, while candidate of historical sciences, presenter of the television channel “Tsargrad” Pyotr Multatuli spoke on “Emperor Nicholas II. Tragedy of the Unaccounted Autocrat.”

The final report at the round table was made by Alexander Muzafarov, director of information and analytical programs of the Fund for Historical Perspective. He drew the attention of the forum participants to the nature of the last emperor and spoke about the need to further study the personality of Nicholas II .

The free discussion was attended by Evgeny Tsybizov , the head of the Novosibirsk regional branch of the Double-headed Eagle Society, Filip Mosvitin, Honored Artist of Russia , the co-chairman of the International Ilyinsky Committee, the writer A. Sharipov and several other participants.

In the near future, the Double-Headed Eagle Society will present the public with a resolution of the round table forum, for the preparation of which a special editorial group will be created.

© Paul Gilbert. 12 December 2019

Exhibition: Icons from the Era of Nicholas II

190

Icon of the Mother of God “The Sovereign”

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 25 April 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 18th July to 9th September 2018

On 18th July 2018, in the year marking the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of Emperor Nicholas II and his family, an exhibition will open in the Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art in Moscow, presenting a look at the development of the Russian icon during the more than 22-year reign of the last Russian emperor.

Russian icon painting developed in a single cultural space along with literature, music and theatrical art, experiencing an extraordinary rise during the reign of Nicholas II (1894-1917). This flourishing activity was achieved through a number of icon painting and jewelry workshops, which received the title “Supplier of the Imperial Court”. The Imperial manifesto of 1905 on the toleration and the opening of the Old Believers altars attracted wide acceptance of church art by the Old Believers’ and the creation of new works oriented to the art of pre-Petrine time.

The exhibition will feature a wide range of icons from museum and private collections, including items with memorial inscriptions, from the time of Emperor Alexander III’s death in 1894 to the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917.

The Icon of the Mother of God “the Sovereign” – pictured above – has a unique place in Russian history. It appeared in the Kolomenskoye village near Moscow on 2 March 1917, the very day that Emperor Nicholas II abdicated the throne. Until 1812 the icon belonged to a convent in Moscow, but in the year of Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow it was hidden in the Kolomenskoye village and forgotten there for 105 years, until the time came for the icon to be revealed in accordance with God’s will. The icon was found among other old icons in the cellar of the Church of Ascension, after the peasant woman Yevdokiya Adrianova was twice instructed in a dream to go to the Kolomenskoye village and search there for a special icon of the Mother of God. After being cleaned of centuries-old dust and grime, the icon revealed an image of the Theotokos sitting on a throne, with the Infant Christ on Her knees, extending His hand in blessing. The Holy Virgin held a scepter in one hand and an orb in the other, and had a crown on Her head. With Her regal air and unusually stern visage, Her appearance was divine.

Significantly, the icon revealed itself at a time when the Russian Empire embarked on its apocalyptic course of destruction, while out of its depths came Holy Russia to gain the crown of martyrdom. The Theotokos’ red robe reflected the color of blood, while the icon’s appearance on the day of the abdication of the last Tsar, and the Theotokos’ regal air with all the attributes of royal power signified that the Mother of God Herself took sovereigny over the Russian people who had just lost their monarch.

The exhibitions Icons from the Era of Nicholas II runs from 18 July 9 September 2018 at the Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art in Moscow

© Paul Gilbert. 12 December 2019

Ekaterinburg Hosts Public Forum for the Preservation of the Heritage of Emperor Nicholas II

VIDEO of the entire Forum (in Russian only) – duration 2 hours, 20 minutes

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 20 May 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

On 18th May 2018, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the last Russian emperor, a public forum was held in Ekaterinburg to preserve the heritage of Tsar Nicholas II.

Scientists, historians and authors, along with representatives of the public, gathered to discuss the urgent issues of preserving the historical memory of the sovereign, including recognizing the merit of Nicholas II for the development of the Russian state and an assessment of the murder of the Tsar’s family committed a hundred years ago.

180a

Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye

Opening the forum was Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, who noted that Ekaterinburg “has become a symbol of the tragedy of the Tsar’s family and, together with her, our Motherland.”

“Since these tragic events, which took place 100 years ago, tragedy befell Russia and it’s people. It is here, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich, that our holy cause is to gather and reflect on what the Russian Empire was during his reign, what was good about our great country, and what should we take from the past, what lessons, what edifications should we learn for our own lives” – said His Eminence.

The special guest of the forum – the Chairman of the Double-Headed Eagle Society the media group Tsargrad Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev, noted “the triumph of the reign of Emperor Nicholas II, is unparalleled in the thousand-year history of Russia.

“During the history of the Russian Empire, it was the most powerful, the largest, the happiest during the reign of Nicholas II. We should not forget this, and our forum is dedicated to this, which we, the society of historical enlightenment Double-Headed Eagle Society, proudly hold together with the Ekaterinburg Metropolis where our local branch is working under the guidance of Metropolitan Kirill.”

180b

The stage is set for the Nicholas II Forum, held at the Cosmos Theater, Ekaterinburg

The forum was also attended by Bishop Evgeny of Nizhny Tagil and Nevyansky, Bishop of Serov and Krasnoturinsky Alexy, Minister of Education of the Sverdlovsk Region Yury Biktuganov, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Sverdlovsk Region Vladimir Manturov, as well as representatives of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, the World Russian People’s Council, the Imperial Palestinian Orthodox Society, arriving from various regions of Russia.

Historians, philosophers, theologians, public figures from Russia (among them also experts from Moscow and St. Petersburg), Serbia and Bulgaria discussed issues related to the restoration and preservation of the historical memory of Nicholas II.

Within the framework of the forum, experts assessed the era of the reign of the last Russian emperor as a time, providing great breakthroughs in the development of the state and creating the foundations of socio-economic, including technological development for decades to come. Experts came to the conclusion that Nicholas II was one of the most effective Russian rulers and issued a number of initiatives to perpetuate the memory of Emperor Nikolai Aleksandrovich as an outstanding statesman.

180c

More than 2,000 people attended the Nicholas II Forum on 18th May

Among the proposals included in the final document of the forum is the need for a large-scale federal information and enlightenment campaign on Russia’s achievements in the era of Nicholas II, the development of textbooks and other scientific and educational literature on the basis of reliable scientific information on era, the state order for quality works of art in various fields of culture and art; importance of historical archival research and public dialogue among the scientific community and citizens interested in history; installation in the cities and towns of Russia monuments to the sovereign – an initiative put forward by a member of the Regional Public Chamber, chairman of the Ural branch of the Union of Russian Paratroopers Yevgeny Teterin.

An important topic of the forum was the discussion of the need for public evaluation of the murder of the Imperial Family and their faithful servants, which occurred a century ago in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. The tragedy of 1918, crowned with the feat of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers, has not yet been properly evaluated at the state level.

The experts of the forum supported the initiative of Moscow colleagues – participants of a recent round-table hosted by the Parliamentary Newspaper (Парламентская газета) where representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, State Duma deputies, jurists and political scientists condemned the murder of the Tsar’s family as an unacceptable and unjustifiable crime.

180d

Russia’s leading expert on Nicholas II, historian and author Pyotr Valentinovich Multatuli

During the forum on May 18, in Ekaterinburg, experts presented their views on the sovereign and the era at the forum by:

– Pyotr Valentinovich Multatuli, Russia’s leading expert on the life and reign of Nicholas II, candidate of historical sciences, member of the Council of the Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, and regular commentator of the television channel “Tsargrad”;

– Vladimir Mikhailovich Lavrov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Member of the Council of the Russian Historical Education Development Society of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

– Konstantin Valerievich Malofeev, chairman of the Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education of the Double-Headed Eagle Society.

– Yegor Stanislavovich Kholmogorov, publicist, blogger, editor-in-chief of the Russian Observer and New Chronicles sites, author and presenter of the 100 books website;

– Nikola Tanasich, teacher of the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade State University;

– Georgi Dimov, Doctor of Science, Senior Researcher of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences;

– Dmitry Borisovich Grishin, chairman of the Sergievsky Memorial Society (Moscow).

Other participants of the forum were Vladislav Nikolayevich Mayorov, military journalist, expert on the history of Nicholas II and author of the “Royal Calendar”; Vladimir Ilyich Bolshakov, Doctor of Philosophy, Vice-Rector for Research of the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture Ilya Glazunov (Moscow), as well as members of the Urals Association in Moscow and other experts.

180e

The Sretensky Monastery Choir

The Forum came to close with the singing of God, Save the Tsar and Glory! and A Life for the Tsar, performed by the Sretensky Monastery Choir – please take a moment to watch/listen at the end of the video posted at the top of this post – PG.

The Forum on the preservation of the historical heritage of the Emperor Nicholas II was held in the Kosmos Theater in Ekaterinburg. More than 2,000 people participated in the historic Forum. The event, which became a significant public event, was covered by the leading federal and regional media and was broadcast by the Orthodox television channel Soyuz to 82 countries with a multi-million audience.

© Paul Gilbert. 10 December 2019

Exhibition: The Romanovs. Family Archive

177a

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 5 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 24th May to 30th December 2018

On 24th May 2018, the exhibition The Romanovs. Family Archive, opened in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. The exhibit presents the largest collection of documents and photographs associated with the Imperial family, acquired in the hundred-year history of the museum. The collection of personal documents and photos of the families of Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, was acquired at an auction in London in 2017 thanks to the financial support of Sberbank of Russia.

The exhibit is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas II, whose life was closely connected with Tsarskoye Selo: on 18 May (O.S. 6 May) 1868, Nicholas Alexandrovich was born in the Alexander Palace. From his birth, Russia’s last tsar held Tsarskoye Selo close to his heart, and from 1905, made the Alexander Palace his permanent residence, in which he spent the last 12 years of his reign. It was in the Alexander Palace, in which the Emperor was held under house arrest during the first months of his abdication on 15 March (O.S. 2 March) 1917. It was from here on 14 August (O.S. 1 August) 1917, that he and his family were sent into exile to Tobolsk in Siberia.

The archive which spans from 1866 to the 1920s, includes 200 items from the museum collection. Among them – telegrams with warm messages to their children from Emperor Alexander III and his wife Maria Feodorovna. These laconic, but warm parental messages testify to how the August couple cherished family values. In separation, the loving father always found the time to write letters to his children, sharing with them his successes in hunting, fishing, his health, and about how he misses them when they are apart.

The exhibition also presents the letters of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna to her younger brother Mikhail, with whom she was in correspondence from a young age. Hardly having learned to write, the little brother and sister shared impressions of new discoveries, and humourous anecdotes from their still carefree life. Later, after marrying the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, Xenia never forgot her “dear Mishkin.” The young couple often wrote to the Grand Duke from their estates “Ai-Todor” in Crimea, and “Abas-Tuman” in the Caucasus. In letters from the French city of Biarritz, Alexander Mikhailovich also shared his interest and passion of motor-driving, his hobbies, hunting, fishing, archaeological excavations, playing tennis, golf and maps.

Of particular importance for the museum was the acquisition of several autographs of Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna. A letter written by the empress at Easter to her sister-in-law Xenia, included one of her handmade watercolour drawings with a congratulatory signature.

The tragic events of 1917-1918 are described in the letters of Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich to Prince Georgi Shervashidze – the Ober-Hofmeister, who served the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The grand duke’s letters, which reflect his diary entries record his vision and understanding of the fate which awaits Russia in the future.

From revolutionary Petrograd, Nikolai Mikhailovich writes to his friend in the Crimea: “It’s hard to tell what’s going on here, not only here, but all over Russia. If the Bolshevik regime comes to an end, then little good can be expected from their successors – socialist-revolutionaries or anarchists. . . ”

With the growing nationalization of property, which took place in Russia, the Grand Duke noted in February 1918: “Yesterday I was forced to leave my palace, to leave my rooms and personal things to the mercy of fate and move to another house, an apartment of one of the employees … I now live in one room on the 4th floor … My palace is now the headquarters of the new Red Army … “. As if in anticipation of his tragic fate, the Grand Duke finishes the letter with a hopeless line: “I do not know if we are destined to meet again on this earth, but in the next world my feelings for you will remain invariably friendly. All your NM. ”

The meeting was not destined to take place. Georgi Dmitrievich Shervashidze died in the Crimea on 26 March 1918, and Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich was shot the following year on 9 January 1919 in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg.

The collection also includes several letters from the widowed British Queen Alexandra, the sister of Empress Maria Feodorovna, to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna during her life in exile.

177b

The exhibition The Romanovs. Family Archive runs until 30 December 2018 in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2019

Exhibition: ‘The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland’ in Ekaterinburg

175a

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 6 June 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 5th June to 23rd September 2018

The exhibition project The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland, dedicated to the Romanov family, opened on 5th June 2018 in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg.

The venue for the exhibition is the Poklevsky-Kozell House – a branch of the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum. The exhibit is a joint historical and art project with the Pavlovsk State Museum-Reserve, and the Elisavetinsky-Sergievskoe Enlightenment Society.

175f

175i

Visitors to the exhibition can acquaint themselves with the private life of members of the Imperial family in the palaces of St. Petersburg, Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof and Pavlovsk. The exhibition presents more than 150 unique items, including examples of fine and applied art, watercolours and amateur photographs, lovely trinkets from private collections and priceless gifts to the emperor, the Empress and their children.

For the first time in the Urals, numerous well-executed original photographs taken by court photographers are exhibited: a portrait of a young Tsesarevich Alexei, ordered by the Empress herself. The photograph in an elegant frame, accompanied Alexandra Feodorovna from Tsarskoye Selo first to Tobolsk, then to Ekaterinburg, and now stored in the collection of the Pavlovsk State Museum-Reserve. Also among the exhibits are the beautifully preserved children’s shoes of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna and a house dress of the last empress, in which only the closest people saw her; two silver cigarette case of Nicholas II, one of which he had with him during his internment in the Ipatiev House. Also on display – for the first time – is a unique, rare banner with the Romanov emblem, made for the 200 year anniversary celebrations of 1913.

175p

The exhibition The Tragedy of the Family … The Tragedy of the Motherland ran from 5th June to 23rd September 2018, in the Poklevsky-Kozell House in Ekaterinburg.

© Paul Gilbert. 9 December 2019

Photo Exhibition in St Petersburg Marks 150th Anniversary of Birth of Emperor Nicholas II

Print

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 7 August 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 6 July to 9 September 2018

On 6th July 2018 a new exhibition Emperor Nicholas II. To the 150th Anniversary of his Birth, opened in the ROSPHOTO Museum and Exhibition Center in St. Petersburg.

The photo-exhibition is a joint project between the Russian State Archive of Cinema and Photo Documents, the State Archive of the Russian Federation (Moscow), the Russian State Archive of the Navy (St. Petersburg), and the Central State Archive of Film and Photo Documents (St. Petersburg).

The exposition presents 150 photographs and 30 minutes of vintage newsreels related to the life and public activities of Nicholas II.

PHOTOS © ROSPHOTO / Click on each image to enlarge

The Imperial Family were photographed by the best photographers of the Russian Empire. In addition, the Romanovs were photographed by the best foreign photographed when they travelled abroad. The exhibition presents family photos of the emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, taken by outstanding Russian and foreign photographers of the day.

The greatest number of photographs which have been preserved to this day were taken by the co-owner of the photographic studio “K.E. von Gan and Co., the famous Russian photographer AK. Yagelsky, who was appointed “photographer of His Imperial Majesty.” He photographed Nicholas II not only at court, but also in his day-to-day life, on trips around the country, and during diplomatic visits. The exhibition features numerous other photographs of the K.E. Von Gan and Co. Studio marking the state activities and private life of the last Russian emperor.

PHOTOS © ROSPHOTO / Click on each image to enlarge

The project further presents photographic images taken by the famous photographer K.K. Bulla. In 1904, he received permission to photograph views of the capital and important celebrations. Bulla received certificate of permission from the General Staff of the War Department, “to make photographic surveys on maneuvers and exercises of the Guard troops and the St. Petersburg Military District”, as well as a special certificate from the Main Naval Staff permitting photography “during maneuvers, reviews, exercises, and all events relating to naval life.” The exhibition includes K.K. Bullas photos from various jubilee celebrations, military reviews, launching of the ships of the Russian Navy, all of which were attended by Nicholas II.

PHOTOS © ROSPHOTO / Click on each image to enlarge

A separate part of the exhibition features photographs taken by Nicholas II himself and his family members. The Emperor, along with Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, their five children, were all passionate amateur photographers. From 1896, when Nicholas II had his first camera, he hardly ever parted with it. Every year the emperor personally prepared family photo albums, placing and identifying each of them. The photos taken by the emperor and his family are sincere and warm; they were not intended for the general public, and therefore imbued with warm human feelings and true love that reigned in the family of the last Russian emperor.

163z

Exhibition catalogue

The exhibition Emperor Nicholas II. To the 150th Anniversary of his Birth, ran from 6th July until 9th September 2018, at the ROSPHOTO Museum and Exhibition Center, which is situated at Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa 35, near St. Issac’s Cathedral.

© Paul Gilbert. 6 December 2019

Colour Autochromes of the Alexander Palace in 1917 Presented in Kazan

162a

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 8 August 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 17 July to 17 August 2018

On 17th July, the exhibition Tsarskoye Selo: the Last Residence of the Last Emperor, opened in the E.A. Boratynsky Museum (a branch of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan) in Kazan. The exhibition presents unique autochromes from the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve. The exhibition is timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the murder of Russia’s last Imperial family in 1918.

The life of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II is closely connected with Tsarskoye Selo: on 18th May (6th May in the old style) in 1868, he was born in the Alexander Palace. From 1905, Nicholas II made the palace his permanent residence, in which he spent the last 12 years of reign. After his abdication on 15th March [O.S. 2nd March] 1917, the Emperor spent the first months of his house arrest in the palace. On 1st August 1917, the Emperor and his family left the Alexander Palace for the last time, his family was sent into exile to Tobolsk.

Immediately after the departure of the imperial family, the Kunsthistorico-Historical Commission, headed by Georgy Lukomsky, began work in the Alexander Palace. Photographer Andrey Zeest took 140 colour autochromes of the palace interiors.

162b

Colour autochromes of the Alexander Palace taken in 1917
© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Reserve

162c

The fate of this unique collection is interesting. In November 1918, 843 images from black and white negatives and 83 color transparencies (autochrome) were transferred to the Kopeyka Publishing House. The pictures were supposed to be transferred to the Detskoye Selo department of artistic property, however, the transfer never took place.

Now the collection of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve now consists of 93 autochromes, shot by Zeest in 1917. Thirty-three autochromes were acquired by the museum in 1968, from the heirs of a photographer, twelve – in 1958, from a British tourist from Oxford, England. In 2013, members of the Friends of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve Club Michael Piles and Mikhail Karisalov, financed the acquisition of another 48 autochromes at an auction in Paris.

The exhibition is complemented by documents relating to the links of Georgiy Lukomsky with Kazan, from the funds of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, and printed editions issued for the coronation of Nicholas II from the Kazem-bek family collection courtesy of the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books of the Lobachevsky Libraries.

The exhibition Tsarskoye Selo: the Last Residence of the Last Emperor marks the beginning of cooperation between the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Reserve.

The exhibition Tsarskoye Selo: the Last Residence of the Last Emperor, ran from 17th July to 17th August 2018, in the E.A. Boratynsky Museum (a branch of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan) in Kazan.

© Paul Gilbert. 6 December 2019

Exhibition: ‘The Romanovs. Family Chronicles’ in Moscow

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on 12 September 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

The following exhibition ran from 14 September to 28 October 2018

Beginning 14th September 2018, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow will present unique materials from the archives of the Russian Imperial family. An exhibition of photo documents from the Gallery’s collections will showcase a previously unknown collection of photographs.

The Romanovs. Family Chronicles exhibition features photographs taken during the reign of Russia’s last three emperors – Alexander II (1855-1881), Alexander III (1881-1894) and Nicholas II (1894-1917) – the collection dating from the 1870s to 1914.

The exhibits were sent to the Tretyakov Gallery in 1932 from two former imperial residences: the Gatchina Palace, where the Empress Maria Feodorovna Dowager lived after the death of her husband Alexander III, and the Alexander Palace, the last residence of the family of Emperor Nicholas II.

From the middle of the 19th century, the Imperial families employed the services of court photographers for both official and leisure images, photographing them in the interiors of the Imperial palaces and country residences, at official receptions, on vacations, hunting trips, and other leisure activities. The “Kodak” camera was first used by the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna (future Empress Maria Feodorovna) in the 1860s, when she took a great personal interest in photography. Over time, her enthusiasm for photography was taken up by her son Nicholas II and his family. His wife Alexandra Feodorovna are often seen in leisure photographs with the famous Kodak Brownie camera in hand.

Various photos from the time of the Emperor Alexander III include: portraits of Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Prince George Maximilianovich, Duke of Leichtenberg (K. I. Bergamasco), Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna (S. L. Levitsky). The Polish photographer Conrad Brandel recorded events and trips of Emperor Alexander III with his family to Poland: a military review in Brest, an inspection of the new station in Brest, Emperor Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna with a delegation of local residents or at a children’s choir performance.

A series of photos from the family album-boxes of Maria Feodorovna are also featured. These charming amateur photographs offer an intimate look at family time together: walks to the Finnish skerries on the Imperial yacht Tsarevna, picnics on the beach, and leisure time onboard the yacht. In the album there are 60 photographs-business cards. A small folding album contains nine photographs of the installation of the monument to Empress Catherine II by the sculptor M.M. Antokolsky in Vilna in 1904.

In the section dedicated to the family of Emperor Nicholas II, photographs include the exteriors and interiors of the Alexander Palace, views of the park and pavilions scattered throughout the parks in Tsarskoye Selo, as well as photos from “Yacht Zarnitsa” album.

These historic photo chronicles are represented mainly by beautifully bound albums, some of which are interesting examples of arts and crafts of the turn of the century. These albums were produced in a single copy, using precious metals on the occasion of significant events for the members of the imperial family.

The album “Medzhybozh” was presented to Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, chief of the 12th Hussar Akhtyrsky Regiment, on the occasion of her visit to the headquarters in the Medzhibozh Castle on 11th December 1908. The album includes 30 photos documenting the anniversary visit: the chief of the regiment enters the castle, the review of the regiment, the squadron’s songwriters, the hunting team, a group of regimental officers among others.

The photo album, which belonged to the heir Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, contains 289 small-format photographs from 1909-1914, which depict trips made by the imperial family to Germany, the Finnish skerries and Crimea, and onboard the Imperial yacht Standart, among others.

The exposition also includes a unique series of 40 photos received as a gift in 2004, dedicated to the first official visit of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna to France in 1896.

During the preparation of the exhibition, the staff of the scientific and reference department of photo-materials of the Tretyakov Gallery conducted research work to determine the names of the photographers and unknown persons in the photographs, dates and places. The results of the work are included in an exhibition catalogue published in the Russian language only.

The Romanovs. Family Chronicles exhibition ran from 14th September to 28th October 2018, in the New Tretyakov Gallery, Halls 80-82

© Paul Gilbert. 4 November 2019

Captured on Film by U.S. Cameramen – The Romanov Murder Scene (1918)

NOTE: All of the articles pertaining to Nicholas II and his family which were originally published in my Royal Russia News blog, have been moved to this Nicholas II blog. This article was originally posted on the First World War in Film web site by Ron van Dooperen. It was reposted on 12 September 2018 in my Royal Russia News blog – PG

In December 1918, a photographic team of the U.S. Signal Corps led by Captain Howard Kingsmore arrived in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where they filmed inside the house where Tsar Nicholas II and his family was brutally murdered. Against all odds, we recently found Kingsmore’s personal story on this photographic assignment, as well as part of these historic films.

The execution of the last Russian Tsar and his family hardly needs an introduction. After the Bolsheviks had taken over power the Romanov family was moved to a so-called ‘House of Special Purpose’ in Yekaterinburg. The Imperial family was kept in strict isolation within the walls of a sinister heavily guarded building that was surrounded by a palisade. The Bolsheviks initially wanted to put the Tsar on trial, but in the summer of 1918 anti-Communist forces were at the gates of Yekaterinburg, and the Reds feared their captives would fall into enemy hands. As a result, death to the Romanovs was declared. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei were shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death on the night of 16-17 July 1918. Their bodies were disposed of in a most gruesome manner.

The Cameramen

Howard P. Kingsmore was the photographic officer of a U.S. Signal Corps camera team that recorded the operations of the American Expeditionary Army in Siberia. Born in 1886, Kingsmore started his photographic work for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering the burial of President McKinley, the coal strikes of 1901-1902 and the 50th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Around 1907 Kingsmore became chief photographer for the Philadelphia Evening Ledger. For this newspaper he covered the civil war in Mexico, as well as the Punitive Expedition by General Pershing into that country in 1916. When the United States entered World War I he applied for a commission in the U.S. Signal Corps as a photographic officer. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in September 1917, appears to have made mostly training pictures while he was in America and in Augustus 1918 was promoted to Captain, when a photographic section was set up for the Siberian Expedition. After the First World War Kingsmore became a cameraman for Fox News.

150a

The Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. 1918

Interview with Kevin Brownlow

Judging from the production file of the films that were made by Kingsmore and his camera team, they filmed across Siberia between November 1918 and February 1919, covering various operations by the Expeditionary Force that was trying to push the Red Army out of Russia. We have described this Signal Corps footage from Russia in more detail in a previous weblog. Five men were selected for this photographic team, including two movie camera operators. One of Kingsmore’s men, Philip Tannura, was interviewed by Kevin Brownlow for his book The War, the West and the Wilderness. Tannura was among Kingsmore’s cinematographers and in the interview with Brownlow Tannura mentioned how he accompanied Kingsmore while they visited the place where the Tsar and his family were executed. “We couldn’t find out whether they had actually been killed or not”, Tannura said. “We photographed all the rooms.”

Kingsmore said he boarded a Red Cross freight train in Vladivostok in November 1918. The trip across Siberia took about nine weeks. The accommodation on the train was of a most primitive nature. The American cameramen traveled in box cars that were originally built for cattle. Arriving in Yekaterinburg, the cameramen found the city controlled by Czech forces. These had taken Yekaterinburg shortly after the Tsar and his family were murdered. Kingsmore was told the Romanovs were subjected to many indignities by the Communist soldiers who guarded them. It should be noted here that at the moment when Kingsmore and Tannura arrived in Yekaterinburg an official investigation was still being carried out on the mysterious disappearance of the Imperial family. As far as the Kremlin was concerned, they had simply vanished into thin air and the Communists denied any allegation they had killed the Romanovs.

Photographic Evidence of the Romanov Execution

Kingsmore’s and Tannura’s pictures indicate this was a fabricated lie. One of their still photographs shows the cellar where the Romanovs were executed. Bullets were dug out of the wall by the Bolsheviks to destroy evidence of the crime, but the holes still remained and were clearly visible. Their pictures also demonstrate how the Tsar’s children had to sleep on the floor, as well as the search by the investigating committee for further proofs of the execution. Kingsmore also appears to have talked with eye witnesses. One told him the Romanovs were on their knees begging for mercy while they were executed in the basement of the house.

Part of the footage that was shot at Yekaterinburg has been retrieved and identified by the authors in the film collection of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. These scenes were probably taken by Tannura and show an exterior of the Czech military headquarters, the house the Romanovs lived in, as well as shots of the Czarina’s room and the room that was occupied by the Tsar’s daughters. We edited these historic scenes into a short clip that has been posted on our YouTube channel.

Click HERE to read the newspaper article In the House Where Romanoffs Were Out to Death, published in the Grand Forks Herald on 6 June 1919

© Ron van Dopperen. 3 December 2019