A new art exhibit at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace examines the relationship between the Romanovs — the Russian royal family — and the British royal family for the past few hundred years. The showing, titled “Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs,” has over 300 pieces of work on display, including portraits, Fabergé Eggs, and correspondence that link the two families together.
Town & Country says that much of the artwork was gifted from the Romanovs to the British royal family, including a nearly 12-foot portrait of Russian Emperor Nicholas I, which was gifted to Queen Victoria — who was the last monarch from the house of Hanover — in 1847.
Co-curator Caroline de Guitaut talked about a portrait of Peter the Great, which was commisioned in 1698 on British soil, as a gift to William III.
“This is the first time a Russian ruler has left Russian soil. He wants to find out about the rest of the world, he wants to know how they build ships, he wants to make Russia an enlightened place.”
After the trip, Peter took what he learned on his trip and used it to westernize his country. After that point, the two families shared artists and craftsmen.
The closest relationship between the Romanovs and the current royal family lies with Prince Philip, through both his mother and his father’s sides.
“Through his father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, Philip is the grandnephew of Alexandra Romanov, Nicholas II’s wife, and the last Tsarina of Russia. Through his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, Philip is also a cousin to the Russian royal family. Philip’s children and grandchildren, including William and Harry, are therefore related to the Romanovs as well.”
It was actually Prince Philip’s DNA which was used to identify a set of human bones, which are thought to have been Maria and Alexei Romanov. The bones were found in a field in 2oo7.
BBC says that the portrait of Tsar Peter now belongs to The Royal Trust. The portrait depicts the Russian ruler — who was six feet seven inches — in full armor. Another portrait of Catherine II was given as a gift to George III and has also been housed in the Windsor collection.
Experts say that the painting vary in quality, but that none of them are on par with other European works of the time. That being said, the Fabergé Eggs are a different story.
“The paintings are a mixed bag – some good, some bad, none great. Quite unlike the cabinets full of pieces by the Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé, which are exquisite.”