Ladynin Ivan; Izosimov Denis; Sennikova Polina

Grand duke Konstantin Konstantinovich and the fate of Vladimir Golenishchev’s collection of egyptian antiquities

Ladynin Ivan, Izosimov Denis, Sennikova Polina (2020) "Grand duke Konstantin Konstantinovich and the fate of Vladimir Golenishchev’s collection of egyptian antiquities ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2020, vol. 92, pp. 110-129 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII202092.110-129


This article deals with some episodes in the purchase by the state of the Egyptian collection assembled by Vladimir Golenishchev (1856–1947); its subsequent transfer to one of Russian museums in 1908–1909 is described as well. A fi nancial failure urged Golenishchev, the prominent Russian Egyptologist and heir of a merchant family, to seek a possibility of selling the collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts that he had been gathering for 30 years. In the fi rst place, he suggested this purchase to the Russian state. His address to the emperor and subsequent petitions of the Imperial Academy of Sciences and of the Russian Archaeological Society resulted in a handover of the case to the Council of Ministers. The Council suggested that this matter should be considered by the State Duma and that a purchase of the collection from the budget funds should be proposed (the relevant bill was passed in April 1909). Archival documents published in the article show a highly important role of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, head of the Academy and of the Russian Archaeological Society, in presenting the case before the emperor. Probably, he acted on advice and proposals of the historian Sergey Platonov. It is likely that after the decision of the Council of Ministers in April 1908 took place the last attempt to convince Nicolas II to buy the collection from personal funds on condition of annual rent and not a lump payment to its owner. Like previously, Golenishchev’s colleagues (namely, the Egyptologist Boris Turayev) addressed Platonov to gain support from Grand Duke who was to address the emperor again. This resulted in the ultimate decision of Nicolas II to approve the Council’s decision and to pass the case to the legislature. The documents show that Golenishchev was discontented with the lingering procedure and considered for a while selling the collection outside Russia, though he soon rejected the idea.


Ancient Egyptian artifacts, Vladimir Golenishchev, Sergey Platonov, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, Nicolas II, Council of Ministers, Duma


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Information about the author

Ladynin Ivan

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Lomonosov Moscow State University; 27/4 Lomonosovskiy prospect, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;
Post: Associate Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0002-8779-993X;
Email: ladynin@mail.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.

Izosimov Denis

Student status: Graduate student;
Student status: Graduate student;
Place of study: Lomonosov Moscow State University; 27/4 Lomonosovskiy prospect, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0003-4335-1487;
Email: Denlore@yandex.ru.

Sennikova Polina

Student status: Graduate student;
Student status: Graduate student;
Academic Rank: Professor;
Place of study: Lomonosov Moscow State University; 27/4 Lomonosovskiy prospect, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0002-2502-1778;
Email: Sennikovapolina@mail.ru.


This work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant 19-18-00369 “The Classical Orient: culture, world-view, tradition of research in Russia (based on the monuments in the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and archive sources)”