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Edward William Thomson "Maria Konstantinovna Bulgakova", important Russian portrait!!, 1825
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 3900 USD
( for EUR price see date rate )
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*Framed measurements will be provided upon request.
This portrait was initially in the possession of the sitter's heirs (see the old, handwritten Cyrillic inscription on verso of the painting). In the 1980s, in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), it was acquired by a Polish diplomat working there at the time. Consequently, for the next thirty years, this large miniature adorned the wall of a Warsaw apartment, and was believed to be a portrait of an anonymous Russian beauty. Finally, this work reemerged in Vienna, where we then purchased it in November 2014. This miniature portrait of a young lady turned out to be that of the well-known St. Petersburg socialite and wife of one of Russia's renowned statesmen, Maria Konstantinovna Bulgakova, nee Varlam (1796-1879; for her and her husband, Konstantin Yakovlevich Bulgakov's (1782-1835) biographies, see our images nr.9-13).
In her portrait illustrated in Grand Duke Romanov's "Russian Portraits of XVIII and XIX Century" (see our image nr.9), she is depicted (according to her attire and hair-style) shortly after her wedding (1814), i.e. at the age of ca. 20. On the contrary, in our portrait made in 1825 in Paris, she is already 29 and one of the most known representatives of St. Petersburg high society.
Maria (household name "Marica") Konstantinovna Varlam was born on the 5th of April 1796 in Bucharest as a daughter of Wallachian (Romanian) merchant of ready-made clothes, Konstantin Dmitrievich Varlam and his wife, Efrosinia Dmitrievna, Princess Ghika (Wallachian ruling dynasty).
In 1811, at the age of 15, she became engaged to Konstantin Yakovlevich Bulgakov, who was then serving in Bucharest as the Head of Diplomatic Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Moldovan Army. After the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812), the Varlam family settled down in Moscow, where the wedding of Maria and K. Y. Bulgakov was to take place in August of 1814. One week after the wedding, the newlywed husband moved to Vienna, where he was expected to join the retinue of Alexander I during the Congress of Vienna. His wife Maria remained in Moscow. She continued living in her parents' house up to 1816, until Bulgakov was appointed the Moscow Postmaster (Director of the Moscow Post Office). Their houses in Moscow and (from 1820) St. Petersburg (in 1820, Bulgakov became the Postmaster of St. Petersburg) were among the main centers of society's life. Among their countless guests the couple also counted Russia's greatest poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (see our image nr.13).
In 1832 Maria Konstantinovna was awarded small Cross of the Russian Ladies Order of St. Catherine and, as a result, attached to the Court in rank of "Kavalerstvennaya Dama".
In 1835, her beloved husband died abruptly. She outlived him by 43 years and died on the 17th of April 1879 in St. Petersburg. She was laid to rest next to her husband in the Church of Holy Spirit of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra (see our image nr.11).
Maria Konstantinovna and Konstantin Yakovlevich Bulgakov had one son Alexander (1816-1873; he later became a major-general) and three daughters.
This portrait was made in 1825, during Maria Konstantinovna's (together with her husband?) stay in Paris, which is evident from the signature of the portrait's author, English miniaturist Edward William Thomson, who was working in the French capital from 1824 to 1830: "E. W. Thomson Pinx-t 1825" (on the left) and "68 Rue du FB. St.Honoré" (on the right).
E.W. (Edward William) Thomson (Thompson) was born in England in 1770 and died in Lincoln in 1847. At first an engraver, he later devoted himself to the miniature. He worked from ca. 1824 to 1830 in Paris, otherwise - in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Between the years 1832-1839 he exhibited at the London Royal Academy. Most of his miniatures are painted on ivory, some are watercolor portraits on card of relatively large size. Some of his works show the influence of Isabey and A.E. Chalon.
Our images nr.14-18 offer additional information about this artist and show several of his other works. See also our web # 37411.
Condition: fairly good
Creation Year: 1825
Object Type: Framed watercolor
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: watercolor on card (painted in oval)
Inscription: see description
Creator: E.W. (Edward William) Thomson (Thompson)
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1770 England-1847 Lincoln
Nationality: English / British
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