Portrait miniature of the Russian Emperor Nikolai I
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Outstanding portrait miniature of Russian Emperor Nikolai I (1796-1855) in parade uniform, against the backdrop of a military bastion during the Crimean Russo-Turkish War . The miniature was executed in 1855-1856 by Scottish portrait and miniature painter Christina Robertson after oil portrait of Nikolai I by Egor (Georg) Botman (1810 Lubeck - 1891 Dresden), which is now in the Hermitage, St.Petersburg (see last image).
Christina Robertson nee Saunders, in Russian Кристина Робертсон ( 1796 in Kinghorn, County Fife, Scotland -1 856 in St. Petersburg ) was a Scottish portrait painter and in later years court painter at the Russian Imperial Court.
Various information is given about the live dates of the artist in the known literature. According to Wikipedia, the years are 1796 - 1854. We have nevertheless come to the conclusion that the correct dates (1775-1856) are given in the register of important artist lexicon by Saur . In our opinion, this miniature was painted by her in the same years 1855-1856 as the original portrait of the emperor by Egor Botman.
Christina Robertson came to St. Petersburg in 1839, where she received many commissions from the Tsar's court to replace the paintings destroyed in the fire of the Winter Palace in 1837 and to paint portraits of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna and her three daughters Maria, Olga and Alexandra. Her portrait of the Tsarina was transferred to lithography by Valentin Schertle. Robertson was in St. Petersburg until 1841 and was made an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts in the same year.
In 1847 Robertson returned to St. Petersburg. In January 1849 she was again invited to the Winter Palace to paint portraits of Nicholas I's daughters-in-law - Maria Alexandrovna and Alexandra Iosifovna.
In the last years of her life she could not return to England due to lack of money. Her death during the last year of Crimean War, when the majority of the British colony in St. Petersburg left Russia, went unnoticed. The artist was buried in the Volkovo Cemetery.
Literature: "General Artist´s Lexicon " by Thieme/Becker, Leipzig, 1999; Register of General Artist’s Lexicon by Saur; Women in nineteenth-century Russia : lives and culture / edited by Wendy Rosslyn and Alessandra Tosi. Cambridge, 2012.
Inscription: signed lower right.
Technique: gouache on ivory in elaborately decorated brass and wooden frame, partly carved, 1st half of the 19th century.
Measurements: image w 3 1/2" x h 4 3/4" (9 x 12 cm), framed w 7 7/8" x h 9 1/2" (20 x 24 cm).