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«In the Playing Rooms» exhibition

June, 2011.

Summer temporary exhibition "In the Playing Rooms" was opened on June 1, 2011 and consisted of dolls, toys, games, dresses and other things belonged to little Grand Duke Alexis and Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia or similar to them. To say the truth, there was only one original doll from Grand Duchesses' Playroom. The Toy Museum of Sergiev Posad (where real Tsar's toys are displayed) gave only one doll and some toys. For better understanding the original toys' names are typed in bold. Appoximately 30% of exhibits were counterparts, closely similar to real toys, or another antique toys, given to Museum.
To reach the show-rooms you must go through photo-gallery of portraits. In front of the way - the big photographs of children projected on canvas, images are transparent and fragile, change slowly, flowing one into another, it seemes that they're blown away by the wind.
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Alexis' full dresses (uniforms). Uniforms and clothing have been preserved well due to the evacuation of the museum in 1941 (WWII) - they didn't have enough wrapping material for other exhibits and used clothes instead.
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Mathematical game "Pythagorean theorem".
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Miniature toy cannon. The working model, it can fire!
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Table game "Historical Bingo with portraits of Russian Sovereigns", 1897, the original game belonged to the Tsar's children, brought from the Toy Museum.
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Grand Duchesses' ceremonial dresses with headdresses of pink brocade. Alexis' christening gown. On the right - embroidered pink blanket, the gift of French government to the Grand Duchess Anastasia's christening.
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Close views.
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The only true "Tsar's" doll, which arrived from the Toy Museum of Sergiev Posad. The only doll, touched by the hands of Grand Duchesses - "doll wearing a straw hat". Germany, Kämmer & Reinhardt, height: 80 cm. (32 in), marks: K * R 76. 
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White-and-blue child's porcelain dinner set by Villeroy & Boch, the beginning of the XX century. It's noteworthy that the company considers French in France and German in Germany because it was formed by French owners, but the factory itself was located in the German town of Mettlach.
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Another original toy: "Playing Indians", England, the beginning of the XXth century, arrived from Sergiev Posad. It includes many things: two drum sticks, two headdresses, two bows and two canoes (pirogues) with oars, but because of the awkwardness not everything was brought. Wigwam and others can be seen in the photo of Alexis' playroom made in 1920s. It is assumed that the game was bought by the Emperor Nicholas II during his visit to England in August 1909.
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Well-loved St. Bernard dog by "Steiff", 1920s. Placed in such a respectable society because it is an exact model of St. Bernard, which was in the playroom, just a little bit smaller. This model was being made by Steiff for a quite long time, so this dog is an analogue of the real St. Bernard. Everyone knows that wool toys do not easily survive for hundred years, this dog lives ninety... Was brought by me.

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Little Grand Duke Alexis' playroom, watercolor by N. Neprintsev, artist-designer of the Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo Museums, 1931. 
"In the 1990's the artist talked that coming every day in cold and empty chambers of killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 the Tsar's children Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia he could feel their invisible presence. In their rooms everything kept just as in the day of departure in their last trip (...) - set of ancient icons, toys, neatly covered cots, touching and naive children's drawings, school books on the shelves." (from the booklet)
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Its photo from 1920's.
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Two dolls, donated by Svetlana Pchelnikova last year, on a pedestal in a hat - Wiesenthal, Schindel & Kallenberg, Germany, early 1900s. Head by Simon & Halbig, the company made heads for WSK, where the doll was fully assembled. Very rare doll. On the chair - Simon & Halbig 1079 DEP, the exact analogue of dolls, with no doubt existed in the playing rooms (and certainly more than in a single copy), this factory was one of the most popular in Europe and Russia.
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Glove-puppet Theater Guignol, France, from Museum of Sergei Obraztsov's Puppet Theater. The theater was kept there for more than 60 years, but his "tsar's" origin was revealed only recently. According to unconfirmed information was presented to the Alexander Palace.
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German Cymbaler, he was found by Ilmira Stepanova in France and then brought to the Museum by me. The fact is that once I wanted the funny Cymbaler doll and asked Ilmira to look for such a dolls, because for a long time I couldn't find anything cute. I wanted it for myself... But it turned out that it is not just a common doll, but exactly the same toy as in the small photo of Olga from 1897, even his dress is the same, just in more contrasting colors. 100% hit in the subject, and so the doll is here. 
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The papier-mache horse next to the original guard booth from the Toy Museum. Booth was made by court carpenters and also stood in the Alexis' playroom. It is also clearly seen in the watercolor by M. Neprintsev. 
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Fancy harness, belonged to donkey Vanya (Van'ka), the Alexis' favourite. Once donkey worked in a Chinizeli circus, and then "retired" safe and calm animal was given to Tsarevich by his Grandmother Empress Maria Feodorovna. Harness - the gift from Italian King Vittorio Emanuele.
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Children's sled with a doll inside. What's the doll - I don't know. Everything - from the Alexander Palace collection.
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Simon & Halbig 1078 doll, donated by my friend Elena Dorina last year.
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Walking doll by Roullet & Decamps with head by Simon & Halbig 1078, donated by Svetlana Pchelnikova.
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Children's desk inkstand. 
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Doll with trousseau «Poupee Olga», by Lanternier, 1896 - 1900, France. Brand «Bebe Olga» was released to commemorate the visit of the Russian Imperial family with little Grand Duchess Olga in France in 1896. It is not known whether such a doll presented to Olga, the set was on sale in retail stores. Brought by me.
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Horse from the end of the XIX century, Germany. Covered with real skin (calf?), tail is of real horse hair. Horse is absolutely enchanting, I loooove her so much (oh, maybe him??) and miss her badly. Brought by me.
Doll pram from 1920s. Does not match the period of the exhibition correctly, but looks good. 
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The child stroller, the origin is unknown to me.
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At this point the temporary exhibition's photographs are over, but I've decided to supplement the entry with several photos of toys from permanent exhibition in order to put all toys together in one entry.
 
In front on the left - obviously Armand Marseille. How nice Marseilles are! On the left behind - a gift from me, SFBJ doll.
On a chair - Heinrich Handwerck / Simon & Halbig with a broken face, so she turns away from the people. The doll needs a doctor, barber and tailor.
 
At the bottom right - my dear mops Lielou by Steiff, contemporary, brought by me. But the reasons for its appearance here are respectful - the same mops is lying near the 2-years Olga's feet in the photo from 1897. Obviously, the company decided to continue production of this model, so successful and beloved by all children, just increasing its size. In the picture with the Grand Duchess it looks a little bit smaller than modern version.
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In the Playing Rooms