Russian Imperial Icon for sale

1st June 2015

This fascinating Russian bronze and enamel icon, originally owned by the royal family of Tsar Nicholas II, is to be sold at our June antique sale.


The icon was found by the Tsar's childrens' tutor Nicholas Gibbes among the remains of the family's possessions at the House of Special Purpose shortly after their massacre. In the book which accompanies the icon, there is a record of the discovery of the Imperial items by Gibbes and others, often in bad condition, stuffed into stoves, rubbish bins or scattered around outside. Liberal use was made of sulphuric acid to destroy the bodies of the family in a mine shaft, and other damage was caused by the shelling when the white Russians seized the area, and the truth of the brutal killings was revealed.  The minor damage to the outside case of this icon is believed to be from shrapnel.


Charles Sydney Gibbes, tutor to the princesses and the Tsarevich, was ordained into Orthodox priesthood 36 years after their execution.  He took the name Father Nicholas, becoming a leading Orthodox figure in England, was appointed an Archimandrite and finally settled in Oxford in charge of the Marston Road St Nicholas Oxford church.


On his death in 1963 his collection of Imperial family items became part of the Wernher collection on exhibition in Luton Hoo.  Finally, the Nicholas Gibbes collection was sold and dispersed, and this object still retains its sale number from that dispersal.


The icon measures 16" long and 7" high, the relief panels depicting various scenes from the Bible, with traces of Cyrillic text around the outside of each panel.


Sale date is Wednesday 17 June.  Pre-sale estimate £800-1200

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