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Anna Ioannovna, daughter of Ivan Alexeevich, brother of Peter I, and Tsarina Praskov’ya Fyodorovna was married off to Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Courland, at the age of 17. One year later, she became a widow but continued her life in Courland. The sudden death of Emperor Peter II on 19 January 1730 reversed the fortune of Courland Dutchess. The same day at the insistence of the ancient Moscow nobility, an embassy was directed to Anna Ioannovna with a request ‘without hesitation to Moscow to come and the Russian throne to ascend’. On 15 May 1730 Anna Ioannovna arrived in Moscow and on 28 April she was solemnly crowned in the Assumption Cathedral. The coronation of Empress Anna Ioannovna impressed the contemporaries with its grand luxury, despite limited time left for its preparation.

For three months the Russian tailors sewed under the guidance of French cutter E. Deleuse ‘livery dresses’ for one hundred and fifty court officials. ‘Wine fountains’ were erected under the direction of architect P. Eropkin. He used gilded carved sculptures, mascarons, fountain bowls, pumps and pipes, left from the previous coronations and preserved in the German Quarter. The wine pipes chiselled from pine logs were placed in the ground and stretched to the ‘Ivan the Great’ Bell Tower. Above, there were installed vats that chuted the wine. Наверху установили чаны, из которых пускалось вино.

The state coronation ritual remained unchanged but revealed itself in a more vivid surface gloss - by carpets, brocades, gold, velvet, pearls and brilliants.

The coronation dress for Empress was sewn of the ‘new-fangled' brocade, brought from Lion – the largest silk-weaving centre of France. There were ordered two crowns – a big one for the coronation ceremony and the minor one for the festive going outs to the congratulatory audiences. Two thousand three hundred and fifty-five brilliants were used for both crowns all together.

Anna Ioannovna added to the previous coronation regalia a chain of Order of St.Andrew the First-Called, which the members of the Supreme Privy Council had presented to her in the village Vsesvyatskoe near Moscow on 14 February 1730. The fact that the badge and the chain were officially included in the coronation regalia may mean that  Anna Ioannovna had taken on the rank of Grand Master –  the anointed head of Order, and demonstrated a special relation  to Order’s knights. She positioned them as a support of her throne.

The ceremony of the solemn procession to the Assumption Cathedral now consisted of several sections of different courtiers, state and public representatives. For the first time on this ceremony appeared the deputies from the towns of Narva, Reval and Riga, Livonian and Esthonian landraths, as well as hetman of the Little Russian troops.

A throne ‘of a picturesque work’ was installed ‘opposite the altar’ under the red velvet canopy in the Assumption Cathedral. Under the canopy, there was placed ‘an ancient armchair of Persian work adorned with precious stones for Her Imperial Majesty’.  The way from ‘Her Imperial Majesty’s apartments to the red porch’, as well as to the Assumption, Archangel, and Annunciation Cathedrals was covered with the red cloth. Bishop of Novgorod Theophane Prokopovich put the crown on Anna Ioannovna’s head and then delivered a congratulatory speech. During the procession of a newly-crowned Empress from the Assumption Cathedral, she was followed by Field Marshal General Count Bruce, who ‘threw gold and silver counters for the public on both sides of the road’.

At the gala dinner in the Faceted Chamber, there was first reported the following ritual that later became traditional: guests sat down only after the crowned person ‘had deigned to ask for a drink’. Probably, it was adopted from England.

The square before the Faceted Chamber placed special lockers with two grilled bulls stuffed with different poultry. Two fountains nearby provided common people with white and red wine ‘that was given for free drinking’. The Monarchess herself threw to the public golden and silver counters from the balcony. The next day Empress accepted congratulations from the courtiers, then there was served a gala dinner after which the Monarchess ‘deigned to accept important foreign clergy, wives and daughters of the 4th, 5th, and 6th class, nobilities, landraths, brigadiers, colonels, lieutenant colonels, mayors, and civilians of high ranks. 

Картина «Портрет императрицы Анны Иоанновны».


The 18th c. After an original by L. Caravaque. 

Oil on canvas, wood. 

Empress Anna Ioannovna is depicted in this painting with a minor imperial crown on her head. Her black hair adorned with pearl threads was styled with two curls on her forehead and a lock of hair running down the right shoulder. Empress wears a silver-grey dress made of patterned brocade with a low neck decorated with diamond agraffe. The sleeve has two rows of laces. An ermine mantle rests on the shoulders. A blue moiré ribbon of Order of St. Andrew the First-Called is thrown over the right shoulder.


Корона императрицы Анны Иоанновны.


Moscow, March – April of 1730. Goldsmith Samson Larionov, Kalina Afanasjev, Nikita Milukov, silversmith Petr Semyonov, gold miner Luka Fyodorov

Silver, diamonds, rubies, tourmaline; casting, chasing, carving, gilding.

The gilded silver crown belonged to Empress Anna Ioannovna. Having two semispheres fixed on the hoop and divided by the high arch with a cross, it traces back to the crown of Empress Catherine I. However, this crown unlike the one of Empress Catherine I preserved its precious decoration, consisting of 2500 diamonds, as well as red stones – rubies and tourmalines. A stunning tourmaline placed under the cross attracts attention by its size (weight amounts to 100 gramme). Up until recently, the crown was thought to have been made by Saint-Petersburg master Gottlieb Wilhelm Dunkel, ‘whose name is often met in documents of that epoch due to the production of jewellery for the court’. However, lately, there were found archive documents that remained safe in the documentation of the coronation commission of 1730. These materials allowed referring the crown to the work of Moscow masters. 

Платье коронационное императрицы Анны Иоанновны.


Russia, 1730. 

Brocade, silk, gold lace; needlework. 

Anna Ioannovna, dowager Dutchess of Courland and niece of Peter I, ascended the Russian throne in 1730 after the death of Peter II. Her coronation dress was sewn of new-fangled pink patterned brocade, brought from Lion – a leading silk-weaving centre of France. The colour remained only in the folds of the dress. The dress has a tight-fitting bodice characteristic of women’s costume during the whole 18th century, low neck, very small sleeve, and wide skirt in a form of a bell. To create such a ‘bell’, one sewed whale fin hoops into a petticoat: a skirt of such a form was in fashion till the 60s of the 18th century and was called pannier. A gorgeous lace netting weaved of golden threads fringes the hem of the dress. A train made on the lining of gilded brocade with moiré patterns is of special interest. With a help of a special system of cords and tassels, it could be raised and draped. There are grounds to think that the dress was sewn in Russia under the guidance of the court tailor, who had arrived from Courland together with Anna Ioannovna. 

Жетон в память коронации императрицы Анны Иоанновны.


Russia, 1730. 

Gold; chasing.

The obverse side shows the imperial crown in the radiance coming down from the cloud.  There is an inscription along the circle: ‘GRACE FORM THE ALMIGHTY’. On the reverse side, there is an inscription in seven rows: ANNA/ EMPRESS/AND SOVER OF ALL /RUSSIA CROW/NED/ IN MOS/COW APRIL/1730. This counter came from the Archives in 1883 and is published for the first time.


Медаль в память коронации императрицы Анны Иоанновны.


Moscow mint, 1730. Medallist  I.Leefken (after an original by A. Schultz and L. Dmitriev).

Gold; chasing.

On the obverse side, there is an image of Empress with the crown, ermine mantle, Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, and circular inscription: B.M. ANNA.EMPRESS AND SOVER. ALL RUSSIA. Medallist’s signature is beneath the image: 10:LEEFKEN. F.(Leefken produced). On the reverse side, Empress is shown in the coronation dress and ermine mantle surrounded by three female figures Faith, Hope, and Love. Faith, depicted with the cross in her hand, gives Empress the sceptre; Hope with anchor gives the orb; Love with a child on her hand lays the crown on Anna Ioannovna. There is an inscription along the circle: CROWNED IN MOSCOW/DAY 28 APRIL/1730. A medallist’s monogram ‘I.L.F.’ is above the milled edge to the left. This medal is a copy of the coronation medal of Anna Ioannovna made by I.Leefken, the main medallist of Moscow mint from 1737 till 1740. The principle idea of the coronation medal and the counter is the accession of Anna Ioannovna to the throne by law predestined by higher forces.

Кортик коронационного кучера в ножнах.


Berlin (?), 1730.

Steel, silver; forging, casting, carving, gilding, engraving.

A monogram ‘Empress Anna Ioannovna’ is carved on the handle of the hunting hanger; above is an eagle that lays an imperial crown upon the monogram. Such iconography can be connected to the ceremonial usage of the hanger. A large number of weapons was ordered and produced in Germany yet for the ceremony of the first imperial coronation of Catherine I. Among the list, there was ‘a silver not gilded hilt’ for the hanger of a coachman who drove the coronation carriage. This hilt came from Prussia already mounted with the blade. While preparing for the 1730 coronation of Empress Anna Ioannovna this tradition was followed, and similar order including a coachman’s hanger with silver hilt was made in Prussia. ‘A foreigner Limburch’ must have purchased it in Berlin together with the rest of the weapons. However, this emissary was late and brought the order only 27 days after the coronation. A hanger with a silver hilt and other weapons were accepted by Kamer-Zahlmeister(chamber-master) bureau and then delivered to the Preobrazhensky Palace, where all ceremonial weapons (bodyguard’s broadswords and axes) used in the coronation were kept. After 1734, all weapons were transferred from the Preobrazhensky Palace to Saint-Petersburg, where it was preserved by H. Illing, personal armourer of Empress Anna Ioannovna.