Rare Antique imperial Russian Menu for Princess Tenishev - Fanfare du Kremlin 1902


Rare antique imperial Russian menu embossed with a princely crown, made by Stern of Paris, for a dinner hosted by Princess Maria Tenisheva née Pyatkovskaya (1858-1928), including the programme of music, dated 17th June 1902.

She was an artist, educator, philanthropist and collector. She was born in St. Petersburg. She is famous as the founder of the Art Studio in St. Petersburg, and the Drawing School at the Museum of Russian Antiquity in Smolensk, handicraft college in Bezhitsa, as well as by artistic village on her own estate of Talashkino.

She was born illegitimate, and grew up in her stepfather's wealthy house; she was quite a shy girl, despite many governesses, nurses and teachers present in the house. She was expected to be obedient and restraint.

When she was sixteen she graduated from a private school, and a young lawyer Rafail Nikolaev, proposed to her. The idea that the marriage would give her freedom, pushed her to give her consent. They had one daughter, also named Maria, but the marriage did not work out as he was a gambler.  

In 1892 she married Prince Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Tenishev, an outstanding Russian manufacture, relatives of the Prince refused to recognize Maria, and she was not inscribed into the Princes Tenishev genealogy. The couple settled in Khotylevo, an estate acquired by Prince Tenishev in the Bryansky district, Orel province. The estate was located on the banks of the Desna River. She organized artists studio to prepare young people for higher arts education in St. Petersburg

She was one of the founders of the magazine Mir Iskusstva (World of Arts). When traveling with her husband around Europe, she invested in Western European paintings, and antique and along with her husband travelled through the old Russian towns of Rostov, Rybinsk, and Kostroma, in the Volga region, handmade folk art by unknown masters appeared before her and so appeared  new collection of utensils, clothing, furniture, jewelry, and glassware.

In 1893, Maria Tenisheva persuaded her friend, Princess Catherine Svyatopolk-Chetverinskaya to sell her her ancestral estate of Talashkino, and there she quickly created a welcoming, creative atmosphere that gathered many famous artists, musicians and scientists, including Ilya Repin, Nicholas Roerich, Mikhail Vrubel etc. A new school building with dormitories, dining room and kitchen was opened for village children and orphans at no cost.

In 1919, after the Revolution, she and Princess Catherine Svyatopolk-Chetverinskaya and her assistants left Russia for France. During her exile in Paris, she wrote a book of memoirs: "Impressions of My Life", that covered the period from the late 1860s to New Year's Eve of 1917. The book was published only after her death - she died in the Paris suburbs of Saint-Cloud. In an obituary to her, Ivan Bilibin wrote: "Her whole life was dedicated to the native Russian art, and she has done infinitely much for it"

Size: 25 x 17 cm approx

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