oil on canvas
Princess Elizabeth Adamovna Gagarina (1800-1886)
Her daughter Varvara (d.1900), wife of the Dutch attaché Baron Plessen (1816-1897)
Thence by descent to Baroness S.L.de Plessen and Baron S.J.H.A. de Plessen
Sold by the above in an estate sale at Winkel & Magnussen, Denmark, 1948
In 1843, Timm became friends with the famous French Orientalist painter Horace Vernet (1789-1863) who was working in Russia at the time. The pair made a trip to Algeria together in the mid 1840s, which provided the inspiration for the present work. Timm returned to France where he lived until the outbreak of revolution in 1848, at which point he went back to Russia. There he set up Khudozhestvenny listok, an important art periodical which lasted over ten years, published thrice a month between 1851 and 1862. Contributors included Grigory Gagarin, Ivan Aivazovsky, Alexei Bogoliubov and Mikhail von Zichy.
Elizabeth Adamovna (née Isabella Adamovna Valevskaya), was the Polish wife of Prince Sergei Sergeevich Gagarin (1795-1852). Elizabeth is described in the diary of a contemporary, Dolly Finkelmon, as a 'beautiful, refined lady' (31 December 1829), while her husband was a model director of the Imperial theatres, 'Under his direction, artists and contractors received their salaries exactly and on time... Prince Gagarin was an extremely good man, noble and friendly, though his outward appearance was somewhat proud and severe' (cited in M.Pylyaev, Stary Peterburg, 2004).
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