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Favorite swan of Anna Pavlova

The name of the greatest ballerina Anna Pavlova is known not only among people interested in ballet, but also people far from this art. Her stunning miniature Dying Swan brought the ballerina worldwide recognition, love and glory.

But not many people know that this fragile woman was also a talented gardener. And she just loved animals, kept them in large numbers herself and did not miss the opportunity to take pictures with them.

In 1912, having moved from Russia to England for political reasons, she and her husband Viktor Dandre bought and equipped a huge mansion in Hempstead, which was called Ivy House (Ivy House). The estate was given a special charm by the fact that it previously belonged to the British landscape painter Joseph Turner. And also the presence of a large (almost 2.5 ha) park with a pond.

Such a park, of course, required care and attention, which the ballerina took on her shoulders with pleasure and enthusiasm. Cats and dogs walked freely around the garden in which she nurtured her own planted plants. Anna especially loved the bulldogs.

But the dancer’s greatest passion was birds. She spent a lot of time in the dovecote cooing with its inhabitants, peacocks walked around the courtyard, and flamingos walked around the pond. They say that once, while on a tour in Australia, Pavlova bought and sent 120 exotic birds to her estate. Unfortunately, she was not an ornithologist – and the birds quickly died. The ballerina was upset, mourned them and … bought new ones.

Most of all, she loved to spend time near the pond. There she rested, drank tea, received guests and admired her favorites from the animal world – swans.

She especially loved one of them – the mute swan Jack. And, most striking, he reciprocated her. But swans are not the friendliest creatures! They are proud, independent and self-sufficient. But Jack adored his mistress. According to eyewitnesses, “he was betrayed like a dog.”

Before any departure, the prima ballerina went around her entire menagerie and said goodbye to each animal personally. And she never broke this tradition. Farewell to Jack lasted the longest. And all the time of her absence, he was bored and waiting for her. But when she returned, it was necessary to see how he ran towards her, spreading his wings and screaming joyfully!

We learned the history of this touching friendship thanks to the spouse Anna Pavlova. It was he who in 1927 invited the famous photographer James Lafayette to their house, who captured this fact for us.

It is also described in the book of Victor Dandre, dedicated to the memory of his wife and published in Russian under the title “Anna Pavlova. Life and Legend” in 2003.
Anna Pavlova was buried in London, and next to the urn with her ashes there are two figures symbolizing her love, her success, her life …

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