The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia for a little over three hundred years and their story, ending with their tragic deaths, has exerted a lasting fascination. This new book, an album of pictures gathered by the author over many years - the majority of which are unpublished - shows the extended Romanov family. There are formal portraits taken to celebrate comings of age, weddings or other family gatherings, but also pictures of the various members of the dynasty at their ease, or dressed up for formal banquets, balls or ceremonies of state. Children play or take rides in horse-carts, mothers tend their children, brothers and sisters walk in the gardens of the grand palaces in which they lived - Gatchina, Ilinskoie, the Alexander Palace. The photographs range from the 1860s, when Alexander II was Tsar, through the reigns of his son,and grandson to the 1930s, when remaining members of the dynasty could be found in the outposts of Europe.
With the beginnings of commercial photography, a new dimension was added to people's perception of the monarchy: for the first time ordinary people could see exactly what their monarch looked like, and they became aware of them as human beings - who were confident or shy before the camera, and whose children frowned, sulked or fidgeted. It was perhaps just such familiarity, rather than the deference of the subject, that contributed in part to their downfall.
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