2019 - the Queen's Gallery

Grand Duchess Alexandra of Russia (1830-1911) by Winterhalter

Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs at The Queen's Gallery

In an addition to our usual programme, on Wednesday 3 April a group of members and friends visited The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, a short walk from Victoria station. The main exhibition was of paintings, medals and objects from the Royal Collection, on the theme of Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs.

On entering the main hall we were confronted by very large ornately carved vases, diplomatic gifts from Russia, made from porphyry and jadeite. Portraits of Russian royalty from Peter the Great onwards led us through to the 19th century. Many paintings illustrated royal marriages between Russian and British royalty, the most poignant involving Queen Victoria's grand-daughter, Alexandra, who married Tsar Nicholas II.

The second exhibition of photographs from the Crimean war was very effective in showing the troops and the poor conditions in which they lived. It seemed amazing that glass-plate negatives could survive the unsprung carts on which they were carried. Photographs and artworks also showed the great ethnic diversity of troops fighting the Russians - Moroccans, Croats and others in their local dress. The important role of (mainly female) camp supporters in providing better food and washing was also shown.