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Details & Cataloguing

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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Alexandre Delatour
BRUSSELS 1817 - 1863
PORTRAIT OF COUNTESS ELISAVETA VORONTSOVA, NÉE BRANICKA (1792-1880)
Watercolour and bodycolour on ivory, gilt-metal mount;
signed and dated lower right: A. Delatour / 1819
8.2 by 6.7 cm.; 3 1/4 by 2 5/8 in.
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Provenance

Sale, London, Sotheby's, 4 July 1983, lot 40

Catalogue Note

The sitter was born into one of the oldest Polish families and was the great-niece of Potemkin. In 1819, the year in which this miniature was painted, she was living in Paris and there she married Prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov (1782-1856). In 1823 her husband was appointed Governor-General of Caucasus and the couple moved to Odessa. While there she had a liaison with Alexander Pushkin, who was inspired to write celebrated love poems which he dedicated to her. A contemporary, Count Sollogub, wrote that the sitter was ‘short, podgy, with slightly heavy and irregular features, Princess Vorontsova was nevertheless one of the most captivating women of her time. Her whole personality was full of such a sweet and ravishing grave, such a charisma, of a nature elegance, that it is easy to see how men like Pushkin, Raevsky and many, many others fell head over heels in love with her.’

 

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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London