02.07.2013

The Auction House of the Russian Federation will give photos to a future museum of the First World War

On 4 July 2013 at 12:00, the Auction House of the Russian Federation (AHR) will give 10 glass negatives relating to Russia’s involvement in the campaign of 1914-1918 to a future museum of the First World War.

These are group photos taken in a military hospital.
Injured soldiers and nurses are depicted in the photos. The photos were probably taken in St. Petersburg, as they were held for many years in the collection of an old Petersburg photographer. But experts have yet to establish the location of the hospital precisely.

One thing that may be noticed is that some of the photos were taken against the background of garages. Cars were a great rarity at that time, and were owned exclusively by the nobility, or extremely wealthy people. Thus, it may be assumed that the hospital was located on the territory of one of the numerous royal residences in St. Petersburg, or the Petersburg suburbs.

“It should be noted that during the First World War, hospitals were opened in many royal residences. For example, in Petersburg, from October 1915 to November 1917, the hospital of Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich operated at the Winter Palace. All of the princesses took nursing courses, and worked in hospitals alongside ordinary nurses. Hospitals were also organized in the palace of Princess Kseina Alexandrovna, at the Mining Institute, the Russian Geographic Society and other places. In any case, extensive archive work lies ahead, to discover the secrets contained in the photographs given to the museum as a gift” (Svetlana Chestnykh, leading expert of the Auction House of the Russian Federation).

The art of photography was a complex, laborious process in the early 20th century. Not many photos from this time have been preserved to the present day. Thus, the uniqueness of the photos not only lies in their thematic connection to the events of the First World War, but also in their rarity. Each appearance of new documentary materials about the War, which was one of the main causes for the overthrow of the monarchy in Russia, is a serious events, and adds to the picture of this important period of Russian history.