[FEODOROVNA, Alexandra, Empress of Russia, born CHARLOTTE Princess of Prussia. ~ Armorial album created for the Festes Der Zauber Der Weissen Rose (‘Magic of the White Rose’ celebrations). Potsdam] 13 July 1829.
32mo (105 × 78 mm), 50 leaves, the first two being thick varnished paper with erasable surfaces, the remainder heavy wove paper with blue printed borders. Gold (?printed) cartouches on first 2 leaves (the first giving the date), 48 hand painted armorial emblems many heightened with silver and gold. Original gilt stamped red morocco with closure and integral brass or plated steel propelling pencil (wanting lead).
A charming little album created for the birthday celebrations of the young Russian Empress, Alexandra Feodorovna (1798-1860), wife of Czar Nicholas I (born Princess Charlotte of Prussia, daughter of Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm III). The ‘Magic of the White Rose’ celebration was organised by Charlotte’s brothers and recreated a medieval tournament on the theme of the mediaeval legend of ‘Blanchefleur’, the pet name given to Alexandra in childhood, after de la Motte-Fouqué’s Rose Blanchefleur. It is recorded in several prints and lavish illustrated books as well as other souvenirs (such as sets of commemorative china repeating the emblems found in this diminutive album). The album was probably one of six commissioned by the Empress and presented to her sisters and sisters-in-law on July 13th and contains the emblems of each of the knights in the form of quasi-heraldic escutcheons.
There are 48 highly-coloured armorial emblems, including mottoes in Latin, French, German and Italian. with mottoes such as: ‘Dem Freunde die Brust, dem Feinde die Stirn’; ‘Agilité vaut plus que force’; ‘Nunquam retrorsum’; ‘Schönheit besiegt die Stärke’ (‘Beauty conquers strength’); ‘Tout pour elle rien sans elle mais qui est elle’ and ‘Uni militat astro’. The paintings are made in a very pretty red morocco notebook with gilt stamped binding (with a rose device), original pencil and two preliminary leaves with erasable surfaces. Ilatovskaya and Pakhomova-Geres, Volshebstvo Beloi Rozy (St. Petersburg, 2003).