"Thirty-two of the unparalleled fifty-two Easter eggs created by Carl Faberge were gifts for Empress Maria Feodorovna. Even his royal clients didn't know what he had created for them until the day before Easter. Francis Barenbaum, the chief artist of the company at that time, later remembered: "The drawings of the eggs were not shown to the Emperor for approval. Faberge was given the opportunity to chose his subject and work on it completely independently". When the Court jeweler created his next masterpiece he drew on important events from Maria Feodorovna's life, and in doing so he presented her destiny in an unusually artistic way. In essence, the eggs present the story of her life in both Russia and Denmark.
The "surprise" hidden in the Faberge egg in 1890, which depicts Maria Feodorovna's favorite residences, could be thought of as a guide to this book. In tracing the progression of paintings on this delicate screen one, can examine the places that were especially dear to the Danish Princess who became a Russian Empress. There are the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, the summer residences at Bernstorf and Fredensborg, the small "Keiser-villa" near Fredensborg, and Villa Hvidoere in Denmark. Her life in Russia is represented by the Anichkov Palace in Petersburg, Gatchina Palace, and the Cottage at Peterhof.
Only one chapter of this book is not connected directly with Maria Feodorovna's residences. That chapter is devoted to St. Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church in Copenhagen, which was built according to the wishes and by the financial means of the Imperial Russian family. The Church played an important role in Maria Feodorovna's life because of her ton-version to Russian Orthodoxy before her marriage. She strictly and sincerely followed the main doctrines of that religion, assisted the poor and indigent, and gave much of her energy and money to charity and patronage of the arts. When Maria Feodorovna visited Denmark she would travel from wherever she was staying to St. Alexander Nevsky Church to worship. It is no coincidence that the funeral procession carrying her remains traveled down Bredgade Street in September, 2006. The citizens of Copenhagen paid their Princess their last respects at that place.
The authors of this book, Galina Korneva and Tatiana Cheboksarova, are well-known St. Petersburg students of local lore, as well as researchers and authors of several books and many articles on the history of St. Petersburg, its outskirts and the Imperial Dynasty of the Romanov family. They are excellent storytellers who relate their impressions of their travels in Denmark, and have found not only a unique way of presenting materials but also a writing style that creates a vivid and fascinating tour through the halls of palaces that have already become monuments of architecture and history. Every chapter devoted to these places is a story of the architects, the buildings themselves, their interiors, the people who lived in them and the important events that took place in them. Pages from Maria Feodorovna's life alternate with details about her family life, and descriptions and characteristics of her relatives and friends. Letters and diaries of the Empress, her close acquaintances, and also little known memoirs of her contemporaries are widely used in this edition.
The almost five hundred photo-illustrations included here give this book a special advantage. More than two hundred were chosen from pre-revolutionary collections and the leading archives of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Others are from private collections and the museums and palaces that previously served as the residences of Emperor Alexander III and his wife, Maria Feodorovna.
We express our sincere thanks to eveiyone who helped the authors and the publishing company in preparing and producing this book, and hope that readers will find it interesting".
Derector of the Publishing Co. Liki Rossii
Издание на английском языке.