Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 96. A family portrait badge of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich, circa 1826-1832.

A family portrait badge of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich, circa 1826-1832

Lot Closed

June 9, 02:36 PM GMT


35,000 - 45,000 GBP

Lot Details


A family portrait badge of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich, circa 1826-1832

Oval, surmounted by the Russian Imperial Crown, in silver, gold, set with pastes imitating diamonds, the reverse with translucent blue enamel, the miniature painted on ivory by Thomas Wright after paintings by George Dawe with the portrait of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich, later Emperor Nicholas I, in uniform mounted in an openwork gold and paste setting, the portrait inscribed to the left with 'peint par Wright d'après Dawe R.A', surmounted with a crown set with further pastes, the back in blue guilloché enamel, apparently unmarked, fitted with suspension loop for wearing supporting an old pale blue grosgrain ribbon

height 7.8cm, 3in.

This lot contains ivory. Due to recent changes in the laws of many countries (e.g. US, France) Sotheby’s recommends that buyers check with their own government regarding any importation requirements prior to placing a bid. For example, US regulations restrict the import of elephant ivory and prohibit the import of African elephant ivory. Please note that Sotheby’s will not assist buyers with CITES licence applications where a buyer elects to either collect or arrange their own shipping, nor will Sotheby’s assist with the international movement of ivory by air, either as freight or through hand carry. Sotheby’s shipping will only assist in shipping the lot to either domestic UK or EU destinations, where delivery is made by road transport. A buyer’s inability to export or import these lots cannot justify a delay in payment or sale cancellation

Thomas Wright (1792-1849) was married to a sister of George Dawe, the portrait painter. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and painted portraits in oil, miniatures and executed engravings. Wright went to St. Petersburg in 1822, returning to England in 1826. He went back again to St. Petersburg in 1830. He was patronised by the Russian Court and was a member of the Academies of St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Florence. He signed sometimes in Russian characters or Tho Wright.

The present portrait of Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich is based on that by the British painter George Dawe, signed and dated 1821 (State Hermitage). The 1821 portrait served as the prototype for official and half-length portraits of Nikolai Pavlovich as Grand Duke and as Tsar in various uniforms (and for the 1826 engravings by John Robinson and Thomas Wright). The sitter himself was particularly keen on the smaller half-length format.

The present miniature is based on an original by Dawe (see Sotheby’s, London, 29 Nov 2016, lot 45). The sitter is represented in the standard general’s uniform with the Orders of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called (star and sash); St Vladimir (star and sash under the uniform); and the Swedish Order of the Sword (in the buttonhole).

The present lot may be a family portrait badge, as suggested by Dr. Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm. She points out that a similar badge, also set with paste and with blue enamel backing, containing a miniature portrait of Alexander II, is in a Romanov family collection. A miniature pendant set with rock crystals, enclosing the same portrait of Nicholas I, in this case painted by Rossi after Dawe, was bestowed upon the 3rd or 4th Marquess of Hertford by Nicholas I and is now in London’s Wallace Collection.

George Dawe’s 1821 portrait of Grand Duke Nicholas continued to be used as his official portrait during the first seven years of his reign, until it was replaced in 1832 by Franz Krüger’s portrait, showing the Tsar with a moustache.