Viktor Von Brodzki was one of the most important Polish sculptors of the second half of the 19th century. He trained at the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, where he was received as an Academician in 1861, and quickly gained a reputation among the Russian aristocracy. The majority of his career was spent in Rome, however, and he was also a member of the Florence and Milan academies.
Cupid Sleeping in a Shell was one of Brodzki's most successful compositions, and one he repeated, sometimes with variations, on several occasions. Versions similar to the present lot are in the National Museum, Warsaw, the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, and Tsarskoe Selo Palace. The work was engraved in 1870 by Aleksander Regulski (1839-1844)[Fig.1].
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna [Fig.2], daughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, married Crown Prince and later King Karl Friedrich of Württemberg in 1846. It is likely this statue was a present from either her father or brother, Tsar Alexander I.