The busts of the Emperor Nikolay Alexandrovich and the Emperor Alexander I at the Emperor Alexander’s Lyceum.
The busts of the Emperor Nikolay Alexandrovich and the Emperor Alexander I at the Emperor Alexander’s Lyceum. Saint-Petersburg, Sirius Printing House, 1911, 34 pages, blank form, 7 attached busts, 2 engraved vignettes. In soft engraved original covers. An untrimmed and uncut gift copy on a china paper for the Russian Emperor Nikolay Alexandrovich. Only 10 copies were printed on a china paper, and all of them were name-labeled! 25,5 x 19,5 cm. The book is in a red shagreen, gold embossed address folder. Frames, borders, super ex libris, moir backings. On the front endleaf is attached the bookplate (ex-libris) of Nikolay II Alexandrovich (1868-1918), the Russian Emperor, in a form of a lithographed, round (diameter 31 mm) label printed in glossy blue. Painter A.E. Felkerzam. Made between 1899 and 1901. In a bilinear roundish frame there is the emperor’s crown with palm tree leaves on the aureole. Underneath is the monogram NA. Format of the address folder: 31 x 20 cm.
Lyceum (Tsarskoselsky, since 1843 – Alexandrovsky) - higher privileged educational institution for training governmental officials. Founded in 1810, opened on 19/10/11 in the wing building of the Ekaterina’s Palace (Architect V.P. Stasov) where 10 to 12-year old boys were enrolled. An institution under the Ministry of Public Education, since 1822 – under the Military Authority, since 1843 – under the Authority of institutions of the Empress Maria. On 01/01/1844 the Lyceum was transferred to Saint-Petersburg, in the former building of the Alexander’s Orphanage House (Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt Ave., 21; 1832-34, Architect L.I. Charlemagne). Length of studying: 6 years; teaching at primary school was according to the secondary school curriculum; teaching at high school was at a university level. Between 1814 and 1829 it included the Noble Pension (a boarding school for the nobles), since 1882 – a prep class. Among teachers were V.F. Malinovsky, E.A. Engelhardt, A.P. Kunitsyn, N.F. Koshansky, A.I. Galich. The humanities, mainly, law sciences, were predominant in the academic curriculum; much attention was given to physical education, music, drawing; military training gave to the Lyceum graduates the same rights as to those of the Pazhesky Corpse. Among the first graduates (in 1817) were A.S. Pushkin, A.M. Gorchakov, K.K. Danzas, A.A. Delvig, M.A. Korf, V.K. Kuchelbeker, F.F. Matyushkin, I.I. Pushchin, and others. During 107 years there were 74 graduations (around 2 thousand persons). Among the graduates were outstanding state and public figures, scientists, writers, such as M.V. Petrashevsky, K.S. Veselovsky, A.V. Golovin, N.Y. Danilevsky, K.K. Grot, Y.K. Grot, A.B. Lobanov-Rostovsky, L.A. Mey, M.KH. Reitern, M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, D.A. Tolstoy, M.L. Yakovlev, and others. In the 1840s, Pushkin Museum was created at the Lyceum, in 1879- Pushkin Library, in 1899 – Pushkin Lyceum Society, there was also the Lyceum Library (consisting of the theses written by pupils). The Lyceum was closed in 1917 by Order of the Interim Government. In 1925, a group of Lyceum graduates were condemned upon a fabricated accusation. Now the building of the Lyceum is the Alexandrovsky Vocational Lyceum (primary and secondary vocational education).
Do you remember the opening of our Lyceum,
When the Tsar led us to his Palace,
And we came in, and there was Kunitsyn
Greeting us among the other royal guests.
My friends, how splendid is our union!
The 19th of October is the date which was made famous by A.S. Pushkin, the date of birth of the Tsarskoselsky Lyceum. In 1911, ex students of the Liceum were celebrating the 100th anniversary (the idea to honour this remarkable date was first offered in the late 1909). The then pupils also wanted to participate. At the meeting of course representatives, and later at a crowded general meeting of all persons concerned, in May 1910, a decision was made to present to the Lyceum two busts: one of the Emperor Alexander I and the other one of the Emperor Nikolay II. Money was raised from everyone who could give any. The work was performed by the great Russian artist B.M. Kustodiev (1878-1927) with the help of the marble worker Ivan Zakharovich Chikhirev (Boris Mikhailovich completed the work with plaster casts). On 18 October 1911 the busts were mounted in the main hall of the Lyceum on the Empire styled white supports with golden carving made after the designs of Architect I.A. Fomin. At a friendly breakfast on 19 October 1911, in the presence of the Emperor’s family, the Director of the Lyceum V.A. Schilder said, “I would like to express to the meeting of graduates of the Lyceum, to the Board and all our former pupils the deep gratefulness of our Lyceum for the precious gift which we shall keep forever as a relic and which will serve to Lyceum’s new pupils as a reminder of the sincere love to their alma mater and an inseparable union through their senior fellows. The perennial unfading glory of the Lyceum has been and will be made up of the deeds and works of its alumni. Let the old glory remain, and a new one arrive!” And this book was given to the Emperor Nikolay II Alexandrovich. The greatest rarity!