Lions from the Boyar Romanov Chambers.

Where did the two lions from the Boyar Romanov Chambers go?

So it so happened that this year, 2018, there are several » milestone birthday» dates associated with the «House of Romanov Boyars»:

10 years of recreating the heraldic signs  «Coat of arms of the Romanov family» on the facade of the Boards of the Romanovs
160 years of completion of the restoration work that formed the current look  of the Chambers of the Romanov Boyars,
210 years since the birth of the architect and one of the founders of the Russian restoration school Feodor Fedorovich Richter.

The current look  of Chambers of the Romanov Boyars on Varvarka street was recreated in the 1858 year.  The restoration work  was began a year earlier in 1857 and was made on base preserved from the 16th-17th centuries. Emperor Alexander II decided to build one of the first museums in Moscow, the «House of Romanov Boyars» in the patrimonial patrimony. The project of restoration, or rather, the reconstruction of the ensemble of buildings was done by the architect F. F. Richter. He relied on historical analogues. In many ways, the approach proposed by F.F. Richter, served as the basis for the formation of a scientific restoration school in Russia. In the 90s of the 20th century, when new restoration work was already underway, the niches on the facades of the chambers were recovered. The heraldic signs of the Romanovs, which were lost in the middle of the 20th century, were placed earlier  in the  niches. But only in 2008, these two heraldic signs of the Romanovs were re-created. One is located on the northern facade facing directly to Varvarka street, above the entrance to the chambers, the second — on the eastern facade in the “kokoshnik” above the balcony. It is noteworthy that the funding for the works of 2008 on the re-creation of heraldic signs was taken over by the descendants of Feodor Richter and the great-grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, the sister of Emperor Nicholas I I, Pavel Edward Kulikovsky.

The heraldic sign «Coat of arms of the Romanov family» was developed in 1856 by the Baron (since 1862) Bernhard Karl von Koehne who was invited by Alexander II. von Koehne  was  one of the leading heraldists of Russia and the founder of the Russian Archaeological Society. Just at this time F.F. Richter  worked out the project «The House of Romanov Boyars».

As the basis of the generic heraldic sign Bernhard Karl von Koehne  took an image on the old prapore — the military flag of 1650 by boyar Nikita Ivanovich Romanov, cousin of the first tsar of the Romanov family. This prapor was kept in the Armory in Moscow Kremlin . In the same place, the description of the prapor was kept: «The middle of the taffeta is white, the neck of the taffeta is sewn in yellow, with a sword in the left paw holds a stigma, the stamp of the eagle is black, the edge is sewn into the worm taffeta, the taffeta is yellow. The slopes are black, the heads of lions are written with gold and silver, the edge of the taffeta is of different colors. »

According to most sources, the prapore stored in the Armory has not been preserved. But, according to one of the employees of the museum » Chambers of the Romanov Boyars» (the conversation took place in 2016), in the late 19th century the prapore existed, but already decayed, and the image on it was barely «read». However, when creating a museum exhibition at the end of the 20th century, a fragment of the old cloth of this (!?) prapore was presented to the museum for the reconstruction of the museum exhibit — museum reconstruction of the boyar Nikita Ivanovich Romanov.

In special studies it is possible to find out  analysis of  heraldic  sign designed by Bernhard Karl von Koehne . In particular, the Russian and European traditions of depicting the lion’s heads (full face or profile) are marked. This post does not pretend to any heraldic research, especially since the Emblem of the Romanov family, developed by Bernhard Karl von Koehne  was approved. In the official description of this coat of arms, in particular, it is indicated «… .. on the black border eight broken away  lion’s heads, four gold and four silver»

The white-stone relief image of the family coat of arms of the Romanovs, which in most cases is indicated in publications, and which most of the excursions pay attention to, was placed on the northern facade of the Romanov Chambers. There is a photo of 1913 -the Emperor Nicholas II visit to Chambers of the Romanov’s Boyars . In the photo on the right, this sign is perfectly visible. It’s easy  to make sure that the relief made in 2008 (the left photo) exactly repeats the one that was historical from the photograph of 1913.

But, if you look closely at the second sign on the eastern facade, you can find a curious fact — on the two heraldic signs on the facades of the Boyar Romanov Chambers there is a different number of «broken away  lion’s heads». Let’s return in 1913 … on the northern facade behind the back of Nicholas II you can see 6! lion’s heads … in the photo of the eastern facade of 1910, you can «read» 8 lion’s heads, as it should! And exactly in this form, with eight broken away  lion heads, this sign was recreated in 2008. Given that in the heraldry of any «trifle» matters, this discrepancy — 6 or 8 heads — is very surprising!

But the question should not be addressed to the current restorers of the 21st century, who, just in this case, accurately recreated the lost details of 1913, but  to the authors of that old project. Taking into account that the essence, washed away the eight «broken away  (! — lion’s heads» are not indicated in the official description of the Gerba Romanovs, which in itself is surprising, one can only build various assumptions. But the fact is – there are not two “broken away loins heads”  on the coat of arms of the Romanov family on the northern facade of the Chambers of the Romanov Boyars

It would seem such an inconspicuous, hidden trifle — 6 or 8, but not some, but «broken away»! heads , but about how many questions, at least, about the nature of the Heraldic sign of  Romanov themselves, this trifle makes you think!

PS. The project will be grateful if there is additional information shedding light on the reason for such a difference of these two heraldic signs.