Romanov Family Album for Sale at Bloomsbury Auctions

An unseen Romanov Family Album of Informal Photographs by the Grand Duchess Eleonor of Hesse and the Rhine of the Tsar’s family has come to light and will be sold at Bloomsbury Auctions on 25th – 26th March 2009 in London. Fresh to the market, this fascinating piece of visual history is estimated £600-800 and consists of family group portraits such as the Tsar’s daughters, members of the Imperial family playing tennis and even dressed as Cossacks.

romanov.jpgThe 89 silver gelatine prints of intimate group portraits are dated April-May 1912 and were taken by Eleonor Grand Duchess of Hesse and the Rhine, sister-in-law to Tsar Nicholas II (lot 602). The album records a carefree family holiday of the Russian Imperial family at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea (which was later the venue for the Yalta Conference of 1945) and on the Imperial yacht ‘Standart’, regarded as the most opulent yacht of its time.

Amongst the portrait photographs are the young Hessian princes Georg and Ludwig dressed as Cossacks with the Cossack commander Trubetzkoy; in another the Tsarina is on a balcony with her young haemophiliac son, crown prince Alexei while in another, the Tsar (with big handle bar moustache) stands with Grand Duke Ernst-Ludwig and their sons. However it is the two photographs of the Tsar’s daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia which are the most arresting. The young girls in long dresses and wide brimmed straw hats, stand grimly in line in a garden with their hands by their sides, while the next photograph shows them in exactly the same position, but viewed from behind as though in front of a firing squad.
These images are all the more poignant as recent DNA studies have provided irrefutable evidence that the human remains from two graves near the central Russian town of Yekaterinburg, are indeed those of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei. They had been shot in the cellar of Ipatiev House in nearby Yekaterinburg by Bolsheviks.

The album is part of a two day sale at Bloomsbury Auctions entitled Military, Architecture, Science, Natural History, Sports, Photographs and Travel.

Auction info www.bloomsburyauctions.com

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