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Brasova Collection

Archive Collection description: BRS

Brasova Collection (1897-1922, mainly 1909-1913)

An online catalogue for this collection is available.

Countess Brasova (1888-1952) was born Natalia Sergeevna Cheremtevskaia, the daughter of a Moscow lawyer. Before she was twenty she had married twice, to Sergei Manmontoff, with whom she had a daughter and after their divorce to Liolucha Wulfurt, an army captain. Shortly after her marriage to Wulfurt, Chermemtevskaia met and began an affair with the Colonel in Chief of her husband's regiment, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II. In 1910 their son was born, Cheremtevskaia later obtained a divorce from Wulfurt and in 1911 she married the Grand Duke. As a result of their morganatic marriage the couple were banished from Russia by the Tsar and. spent two years in exile. They lived in England and travelled around Europe before the First World War began and the couple were allowed to return to Russia.

Eventually the Tsar recognised their marriage and gave Cheremtevskaia the title of Countess Brasova. As she was not of royal blood Countess Brasova was not entitled to hold any imperial title. In March 1917 as the Russian Revolution began, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in favour of Grand Duke Michael. The Grand Duke held the throne for only two days before he too abdicated, ending imperial rule in Russia. The Grand Duke and Countess Brasova were imprisoned by the new Bolshevik Government. Countess Brasova was released and left Russia with her children in 1919. Grand Duke Michael disappeared, later it was learnt that he had been executed in June 1918. Countess Brasova settled first in England and later in Paris where she lived in increasing poverty until her death in 1952. George, Brasova and the Grand Duke's son was killed in a car crash in 1931.
Ref: Gray, P "The Grand Duke's Woman" (London, 1976)


Photograph albums depicting Natalia Sergeevna Cheremtevskaia's life with Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich during the early years of their life together 1909-1913. Most of the albums date from before their marriage in 1912 and contain informal photographs of the Grand Duke and Brasova and their family and friends. Some of the photographs were taken during the couple's European travels. It is evident from the numbering on the covers of the photograph albums that some volumes in the series are missing.
  • Note 1: the titles given in the descriptions are translated from the original Russian titles
  • Note 2: Natalia Cheremtevskaia did not obtain the title Countess Brasova until circa 1912-1914 however for convenience she is referred to as Brasova throughout this catalogue
14 photograph albums and a few papers. Negatives (not originals but created recently) exist for many photographs

(Languages) French & Russian (photograph captions) English & Russian (papers)

Unrestricted access

See also: the Leeds Russian Archive, Brotherton Library, University of Leeds has a larger collection of Brasova photographs and papers

Publication: photographs from this collection used in Fitzlyon, K and Browning, T "Before the revolution: a view of Russia under the last tsar" (London 1977). An account of the Grand Duke and Brasova's life together, which uses photographs from this collection is currently (late 1996) in preparation.

A record for this collection is also available on the UCL Archives web site. To see it, please type BRS into the search field.

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This page last modified Tuesday 11 June 2013.