ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – A new exhibition featuring fifty artifacts loaned by the Russian History Museum to the Tsarskoe Selo Museum-Heritage Site opened on July 22nd. At the Sovereign’s Stirrup: The Mounted Escort in Russia from the XVI century to the Present Day charts the development of cavalry escorts and guards of the Russian Tsars and Emperors, as well as the Russian President.

At 4pm, Thursday the 22nd of July, a group gathered on the steps of the Cameron Gallery at Tsarskoe Selo for the opening of the new exhibition. Remarks were delivered by Olga Taratynova, Director of Tsarskoe Selo; Alexei Gnedovsky, lender to the exhibition and its sponsor; Dmitry Klochkov, the exhibition curator and Tsarskoe Selo’s Head of the Military History Department; Dmitrii Lyubin of the State Hermitage; and Nicholas Nicholson, Curator of the Russian History Museum.

Curator Dmitrii Klochkov, Exhibition sponsor Alexei Gnedovsky, Director Olga Taratynova, and Dmitrii Lyubin of the State Hermitage.

In his remarks, Nicholson conveyed congratulations on behalf of the Museum’s Executive Director, Michael Perekrestov, and the Board President, Piotr Galitzine. “We are pleased to share for the first time with the Russian public these treasures which have been preserved for generations in the United States. After the revolution, many of the former members of the escort ultimately found their way to America, and they continued their traditions and celebrations there. In exile, they published books, collected works of art and historical documents, and did their best to make sure that the history, the traditions, and the name of His Majesty’s Escort would never be forgotten.”

“It is with particular emotion that we note that the St. George Imperial Standard of the Life-Guards Chernomorskii Cossack Divizion of the Escort, is back in the Catherine Palace for the first time since 1917, ” Nicholson noted. “It has had a long journey, and we are honored to participate in its visit during this exhibition.”

Standard of the Life-Guards Chernomorskii Cossack Divizion on display. It is back in Tsarskoe Selo for the first time since 1917.

Due to Covid guidelines, a select group of 75 guests and members of the press were able to enjoy the exhibition and  join Director Olga Taratynova for a small celebration in the Private Gallery of Catherine the Great above the exhibition hall.

The comprehensive exhibition was a dream of the late Georgii E. Vvedenskii, Head of the Military History Department at Tsarskoe Selo. Dr. Vvedenskii died in January of this year, and curator Dmitrii Klochkov completed the exhibition and succeeded to his position at the Tsarskoe Selo Museum. Objects for the exhibition came from the collections of the Tsarskoe Selo Museum-Heritage Site, as well as several major Russian lending institutions, including the Kremlin Armory Museum, the State Hermitage Museum, the State Russian Museum, the Gatchina Palace Museum-Heritage Site, and the State Suvorov Memorial. The only foreign lender of physical artifacts is the Russian History Museum.

Uniforms of the Escort’s Cossacks and officers from the Russian History Museum.

This exhibition is the first of its kind at Tsarskoe Selo, and the accompanying Russian catalog will be seminal to scholars of military history.

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday the 23rd, and will be open through 18 October, 2021.

The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition website in Russian and English and a documentary film (in Russian). A richly-illustrated exhibition catalog (in Russian) is available for purchase.

News Report from NTV

Upcoming Program

In connection with the exhibition, the Russian History Museum is presenting a free, online lecture, From Border Guards to Body Guards: The Cossacks in Imperial Russia on Saturday, August 14 at 1 PM Eastern.

Dr. Brian J. Boeck of DePaul University traces the rise and fall of the Cossacks as a population dedicated to the service of the Russian empire. Starting with their frontier origins in the steppes between the Russian and Ottoman empire in the sixteenth century, analyzing their subjugation under tsar Peter I and his successors, and exploring their changing roles in an expanding empire, this lecture provides an overview of their unique privileges and crushing responsibilities under the Romanovs.

Exhibition Images