Geneva based auctioneers Hôtel des Ventes
will be selling a highly important and unique collection of extensive correspondence, photographs and drawings exchanged between H.I.H Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, H.I.H Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, H.I.H Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich and H.I.H Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna and their private tutor Mr Ferdinand Thormeyer of Switzerland.
The collection of 45 lots has a total value of US $ 70000-100000
This exceptional collection, passed down through the same family and recently discovered in a dust-covered storage trunk, divulges many personal and intimate aspects of Imperial family life and their way of thinking. The letters provide an exclusive perspective from the last Tsars of the Imperial Russian Empire on the existing historical accounts of their childhood, journeys and life in exile.
Predominantly written in French, the affectionate tone of the 1000 letters provides a real and emotive account of the lives of Tsar Alexander IIIs children during a turbulent period of Russia s history. The correspondence, dating from 1881 to 1959, portrays the well-preserved innocence of Xenia , Mikhail and Olga in the early letters of their childhood at Gatchina Palace and development into the mature comprehension of their official role and circumstance, relayed in an entirely personal and intimate manner. After the death of Alexander III, Ferdinand Thormeyer unexpectedly finds himself confidant to Mikhail and in particular, Olga, who writes to him regularly up until her comparatively impoverished death in 1960.
The collection of 250 photographs - often taken by Thormeyer, Olga, or Mikhail himself - document various occasions in the park at Gatchina, in the company of the Imperial familys entourage and Russian Army Generals as well as the development of Mikhails military career. Other correspondence includes over 400 telegrams and some 150 postcards following the events and movements of the Imperial family as well as 12 Imperial luncheon menu cards.
Hiding in the trunk was a precious Imperial gift of a gold, silver and sapphire cigarette case from the then Tsarevich Nicolas and his brother Grand Duke George Alexandrovich bearing a signed personal thank you message.
Accompanying this significant Romanov collection is a rare 1856 elephant folio commemorative Album of the Coronation of Alexander II, as well as a variety of Russian paintings, icons, silver, porcelain and works of art. This specialised Russian sale is part of Hôtel des Ventes Winter Fine Art & Antiques auction.