You are here

Countess Sophia de Laval de la Loubrerie from the Middleton Watercolor Album

Back to the Collection

Countess Sophia de Laval de la Loubrerie from the Middleton Watercolor Album

Currently in storage

About this object

Countess Sophia de Laval de la Loubrerie (later von der Borch) (1809-1871) was the younger daughter of Count and Countess Jean-Charles François and Alexandra de Laval de la Loubrerie, a couple at the apex of St. Petersburg’s social hierarchy. Descended from the illustrious Kozitsky family, Sophia and her siblings, including sister Zinaida (also portrayed in the Middleton Album, 52.39.22), enjoyed the privileges of status and affluence. Their home was famous for its architecture and artwork and acted as a gathering place for important figures such as Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov. The Decembrists also met and received aid here, for Sophia’s brother-in-law, Prince Sergei Troubetzkoy, was a main participant in the revolt. She married in 1833 and gave birth to two daughters. Sophia and her husband,Count Alexander von der Borch—a Master of Ceremonies at the Russian court and the Director of the Imperial Theaters— were celebrated hosts in St. Petersburg society. United States Minister to Russia, George Mifflin Dallas, remarked in his diary in 1837 that they were “deservedly favorites” and that their house “strongly show[ed] the magic of wealth.” In addition to entertaining, Sophia supported various philanthropic foundations. In 1834, she became a board member of the Patriotic Society, Russia’s first women’s charity. Sophia also served beginning in 1844 on the Committee of the Holy Trinity Community of Sisters of Mercy. She remained an active participant in such organizations until her death in 1871.

The half-length portrait presents Countess Sophia de Laval de la Loubrerie facing partly right, eyes looking forward, against a light grey-neutral background. Her dark hair is elaborately styled in an Apollo knot. She is dressed in an elegant blue-green dress with white sleeves and trim along the neckline and a gold and gem-studded buckle. She also wears a fur stole around her shoulders, a triple-stranded pearl necklace with a blue-green stone clasp, and girandole earrings.

Object name:
Countess Sophia de Laval de la Loubrerie from the Middleton Watercolor Album
Made from:
Watercolor on paper
Date made:

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
Inscription __Comtesse Sophie Laval, Dme d'Honneur __Bottom of page __In cursive
Credit line:
Museum Purchase, 2004