Painted at Ilinskoe, the country estate of the Grand Duchess and her husband, 1894
From almost the beginning of civilization, royalty and the aristocracy have loved to don "fancy dress" and throw a ball, pose in tableaux vivants, or indulge in amateur theatricals; they've had the time and budgets to support such pretty frivolity. The Romanovs were no different. The Grand Duchess Elisaveta Feodorovna - wife of Grand Duke Sergei, uncle of the last tsar; sister of the last tsaritsa; granddaughter of Queen Victoria - was considered the most beautiful and best-dressed member of the family. Ella, as she was know to her intimates, was of an "artistic bent", and it should come as no surprise that she was often the star of the family theatricals - and easily the most lovely.