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300-Years Anniversary of Tsar's Village (Tsarskoye Selo)

June, 2010.

In the end of 2009 I've got the idea to find some stuff about Tsar's children's dolls. For months I've been looking for it in Internet, books and memoirs in the hope of finding something new and still unknown. As a result it was the entry in my blog (when I didn't have the site). And in the same time, independently of my research, the MOAK (rus. abb. of International Assotiation of Dolls' Artists) project started. This project was created to help the Museum of Alexandrovsky Palace to reconstruct the toy stuff of its children's Playing Rooms.  MOAK President Svetlana Pchelnikova invited me to take part in this project as doll expert.

We renounce the initial idea to reconstruct the dolls by doll artists and decided to search for original antique dolls of that period and of the same marks and factories which were mentioned in Museums' catalogues and historical photographs.

To the Alexandrovsky Palace's Grand Opening the small exhibition was created; it consisted of dolls, toys and various objects of children's life.

 Special attention was given to "Tsarina" doll. The original "Tsarina" is exhibited in the Toy Museum of Sergiev Posad (Moscow suburb). We had to find her copy for our exhibition! And I found her... on my shelf. The original "Tsarina" is made by Jules Steiner, it's very-very rare and expensive doll. Moreover, it's impossible to find her replica of the same size. My little replica is Jumeau, but she fits her new role perfectly. On the b/w photograph you can see the original "Tsarina". The ceremonial gown for our replica was sewn by Sonia Martyanova, she's a restorer and took part in repairing of original Tsar's children's dolls. Here, on the photo below, the doll's gown isn't finished, it needs beads and black tails. 

Some people think that this doll was given to little Grand Duchess Olga by French President Félix Faure in 1896, but it's not correct. "Tsarina" was displayed at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900, where she was given to one of duchesses. Her gown was sewn offhand as if it was rush order and it became known about the visit just the day before.  

This is the view of one of Alexandrovsky palace halls the night of June,22. Theoretically it had to take place on the second floor where children's rooms were. But its reconstrucrion will begin only after the first floor restoring, i.e. not so quickly.

Me and Sonia Martyanova unpacking and dressing the dolls.

In the morning of June, 23 we went to finish our work.

In the opposite corner of the hall there were some furniture and antique tiger fell. This tiger saw the Nikolas II and his family at night of August,1, 1917, when they were sitting on packs and waiting for moving to Tobolsk. 

Our dolls were standing on the antique over-100-years carpet. Give your attention to the book in the left corner of the carpet.


This is the original antique English book «Puss In Boots» illustrated by famous artist Walter Crane, Publishing House J. Lane, 1897. Exactly the same book was given to Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana on the Chistmas 1900-s by their aunt Victoria (Alexandra Feodorovna's older sister). The book is in perfect condition. Was found by me.

In the middle of the carpet - the doll brought by Svetlana Pchelnikova. She is Wiesenthal, Schindel & Kallenberg, early 1900-s. Head made by Simon & Halbig for WSK, where the doll was completed.
The doll holds Sonia's teddy's ear. He doesn't fit correct period because he's of middle-XX century. But he's so lovely and what is the playing room wihout such a teddy?

On the left - my Kammer & Reinhardt in blue mariner suite is sitting. She sits here temporarily, after the end of the exhibition she'll return to me (she already did!). In the center - my Armand Marseille 390n, 70 cm. The doll pram is a contemporary replica. On the right - contemporary art doll, she is here just for composition. On the chair - my handpainted doll tea-set. And some furniture for dollhouse.

This is Simon & Halbig 1078, donated by my friend Elena Dorina.

My SFBJ of their early period, appoximately of 1905. Her dress and bonnet are antique, she has original SFBJ shoes marked with bee.

My Kestner 167, 52 cm. 

Simon & Halbig 1079 DEP , donated by Svetlana Pchelnikova. This doll has to be here because it's known that Tsar's children owned a lot of  S&H 1080 DEP dolls. 

This is our "Moving Star" - walking Roullet & Decamps with Simon & Halbig 1078 head. Donated by Svetlana Pchelnikova also.

This poor little doll didn't walk so hard through all her life as at the time of Grand Opening, I'm sure. Everybody asked to wind her! 

"Tsarina" in the finished ceremonial gown. This is my doll, and her gown was sewn by Sonia Martyanova.

This black box is a Kodak Brownie photocamera of early XX century, it uses film (not a photoplate). All Tsar's family members had the same cameras, even the children. Was found by me.

Even before the Grand Opening we gave lots of interviews. And after the Opening there was a big line of journalists. Here's Svetlana Pchelnikova with "Moving Star".

Grand Opening.  The Museum's Director Olga Taratynova by the microphone.


The last portrait of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, painted by her sister Elisabeth Feodorovna, has been returned to the Museum's funds. It considered lost from 1941. But in 2010 German citizen Zigrid Gentle contacted the Russian Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main and returned the portrait. She told she inherited this portrait from her father who was on the Tsar's Village territory during the WWII and got the portrait from unknown woman for giving her his combat ration.


Prince Dmitriy Romanov with his wife Dorothy are going to cut the ribbon before the doors of Palace. At the left - Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeev, at the right - actor Alexander Galibin. Behind them - Romanov's family members.

All the stuff - dolls, their trousseau, book, photocamera, tea set, another toys - was given to Museum as a gift. Only the doll in blue mariner suite and teddy-bear returned home. 

Video (in Russian): http://www.tv100.ru/news/Carskoselskij-prazdnik-26922/

This event was the subject of the magazine «Doll World» № 03/10 (31):


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300-years Anniversary of Tsar's Village