ALS in Russian, signed “Nicholas,” one page, 5 x 6.75, colorful crest-embossed letterhead, February 22, 1903. In full (translated): “It is not possible to be more seriously concerned about choosing the pictures printed for the high-sounding title of ‘icons’? I beg you, Constantine Petrovich, to bring this matter to the attention of the censors. After you read the letter of Count S. D. Sheremetiev and observe the added materials, I ask that you return everything to me.” In fine condition. Accompanied by a related document from the Department of Orthodox Faith, June 1903. In part (translated): “By the order of his excellency, the Chief-Procurator, enclosed you will find the personally signed decree of His Imperial Majesty, The Sovereign Emperor, addressed to the Chief-Procurator, dated the 22nd of February of the present year, concerning the censorship of the lithographic holy pictures, which is entrusted to you for special safe-keeping in the Archives of the Office.”
When 26-year-old Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he became an extension of his father’s conservative policies, concentrating his attention on the smaller details of administration and his role as head of Russia’s Eastern Orthodox Church. Known for his unwavering religious devotion—he and his family have since been canonized—he helped the Church enter modern time while holding strong to its tradition. With the arrival of mechanical lithography, the treasured, hand-painted icons found throughout the country were being replaced with mass-produced paper representations; rather than resist the change, Nicholas and his censors discussed the matter and decided upon the appropriate images, as seen in this letter. With its church-related content and handsome embossed letterhead, this is a highly desirable piece—only the third Nicholas II handwritten letter we have ever offered. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.