Check out this blog post about the Chikhachevs and their village, Dorozhaevo! It’s full of amazing photos of the house and property today and also some historical family photos. As far as I can tell, the family photos all date from after 1900, and are probably mostly from the 1910s. The elegant gentleman with the small chin and pointy beard is Kostya, Konstantin Alekseevich Chikhachev, the grandson of the Natalia and Andrei who are the main subjects of my book. Kostya’s daughter Elena (who reportedly helped turn the house into a school after the Revolution and taught there until her marriage) is also easy to spot – she’s the one in the portrait with a dog on her lap, and she’s tall with blond hair. She was in her 20s in the 1910s. The interior photo of four people on a sofa with flowered wallpaper behind them is a bit of a mystery – the older man is probably Kostya, born in 1854 (d. 1918) and the older lady next to him may be his wife, Olga. Of the younger men in these photos, one may be Kostia’s son Aleksandr, who would have been in his 30s and likely married, such that one of the women pictured may be his wife, and Anatolii, just two years older than Elena.
What I am most struck by, though, are the daguerrotype portraits of a man and woman on the wall in the background of the interior photo. Andrei and Natalia had daguerrotype portraits of themselves done in 1842. Though it’s difficult to discern any details, the man in the daguerrotype seems to have sideburns but no moustache and no spectacles, which Andrei described himself as having at that time. There’s no way to be certain – unless of course the originals turn up somewhere someday! Andrei and Natalia also had a family portrait painted by a local artist, Ivan Ilich Orekhov, in 1831, that I also hope might surface someday, especially once the book appears in Russian, and I’m happy to say the translation is well underway now!