The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Harriet Blackford

Harriet Blackford / Fanny Lear

A cabinet card portrait of the American adventuress and traveller Fanny Lear. Born Harriet Blackford in Philadelphia, she had a notorious affair with the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich, a grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. The subsequent scandal, which included the planned theft of some Romanov jewels, resulted in the Grand Duke being banished from court.

First published in Brussels in 1875 – under her nom de guerre Fanny Lear –she titled her account of her adventures and travels in Russia and Europe Le Roman d’une Americaine en Russie. The story has more recently formed the basis of a novel by Prince Michael of Greece, himself a Romanov descendant. First published in French in 2005, an English version appeared titled The White Night of St Petersburg but the reviews were unfavourable.

Photographed by the London Stereoscopic Company.


Code: 123598
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© Paul Frecker 2019