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Sophia Alexandrovna Urusova from the Middleton Watercolor Album

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Sophia Alexandrovna Urusova from the Middleton Watercolor Album

Currently in storage

About this object

Sophia Alexandrovna Urusova (1804-1889) was one of three daughters of Alexander Mikhailovich Urusov (1766-1853) and Ekaterina Pavlovna Tatisheva (1775-1855). Her mother was the sister of Russian diplomat and collector Dmitry Pavlovich Tatishev (1767-1845). A portrait of Sophia’s younger sister, Maria, is also featured in the Middleton Album (52.39.30). The Urusovs belonged to Alexander Pushkin’s circle. During the 1820s, Sophia was considered one of the most beautiful young women in Petersburg high society. Sophia’s beauty caught the eye of Emperor Nicholas I during his coronation. Soon after, in 1827, he made her a lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra. Malicious gossip spread that she was the Emperor’s favorite. She eventually married Prince Lev Ludwigovich Radziwill (1804-1886) in 1833. She spent part of her life abroad; she became famous in Paris during the reign of Napoléon III. Petr Sokolov and Franz Xaver Winterhalter created well-known portraits of her.

The half-length portrait portrays Sophia Alexandrovna Urusova with her body facing forward and her face and eyes turned slightly to the left, against a neutral background. Her blond hair is elaborately styled in an Apollo knot and is partly covered by a transparent veil. She wears an elegant white dress with a matching belt. Her only jewelry is a pair of pearl drop earrings.

Object name:
Sophia Alexandrovna Urusova from the Middleton Watercolor Album
Made from:
Watercolor on paper
Date made:

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
Inscription __Princesse Sophie Ourousoff, Delle d'honneur, maintenant Princesse Souvaroff [Radzivil (crossed out in pencil)]__Bottom of page __In cursive
Credit line:
Museum Purchase, 2004