The Magic of the White Rose festival, dedicated to the birthday of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, was held on July 13, 1829 at Sanssousi in Potsdam. The Empress, born Charlotte, was the eldest surviving daughter and fourth child of Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia, and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was married to Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich, the future Tsar Nicholas I, on July 13, 1817.
The festival was organized as a medieval tournament of knights around the central symbol of the white rose, the favorite flower and emblem of the Empress. The Cottage Palace in Alexandria Park at Peterhof, which was built in the Gothic style and where the Empress kept her precious items, was a continuation of the spirit of the festival.
A large number of works of art was eventually executed to commemorate the festival, including a portrait of Wilhelm in knight's costume by Franz Krueger, which was sent to the Cottage Palace, a special album of lithographs depicting the main events of the festival, and a poem by Vasily Zhukovsky on the occasion of the royal couple's silver wedding anniversary in 1842.
The scenes depicted on the present plates are taken directly from lithographs by Theodor Hosemann after the originals by Heinrich Stürmer. The lithographs are reproduced in T.A. Ilatovskaya and V.A. Pakhomova-Geres, op cit, pp. 92-94, cats. 3.17, 3.19, 3.22, and 3.25. The Magic of the White Rose festival was the subject of an exhibition held in 2000 at the State Hermitage Museum, entitled The Magic of the White Rose: A History of One Festival.