by Sarah Corbett
Natalia Shabelsky (1841- 1905) was a lady with a true passion. This Russian noblewoman devoted her life to the conservation of endangered folk art traditions. Natalia travelled throughout Russia collecting fine textiles and eventually created a Museum in her Moscow home. A collection which housed over 4000 pieces. It was the largest collection of late 19th and early 20th century Russian textiles.
Natalia took her collection around the world; to the World’s fair in Chicago in 1893, then to Brussels and Antwerp in 1893 and in 1900 to the world exhibition in Paris. Paris became home to her and her family in 1902, and she died there in 1904. Natalia was buried in St. Nicholas Russian orthodox cemetery in Nice. Large parts of her collection were sold after her death and are now held in private and worldwide museum collections.