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"Major-General Alexander Ivanovich Yushkov", important Russian miniature on ivory, 1823/24
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This miniature on ivory, acquired on the 12th of June 2013 at Bonhams, Oxford (England), has an identical twin. Sold on at the 27th of November 2007 sale of Christie's London (see our image nr.8) and acquired by Liechtenstein-based, Russian Art Foundation SEPHEROT, this second version was then exhibited under Cat.No. 135 at the Moscow State Historical Museum (2010 exhibition "Private Collection of Russian Miniature of late 18-19th centuries"; see our image nr.9). Just like in our case this slightly larger miniature depicted the same "unknown general" (according to the exhibition catalogue). To make two or more replicas of the same work in order to present them to various members of the sitter's family is, in fact, a common practice for a miniaturist.
While the experts of Christie's, their colleagues at Foundation SEPHEROT and, finally, exhibition curators of Moscow State Historical Museum were incapable of identifying the depicted Russian general of Alexander I' epoch, we, having seen "our" replica in Bonhams online pre-sale catalogue, needed a little over an hour to be able to establish his name. This man turned out to be one of the heroes of Patriotic (Russo-French) War of 1812.
Aware of the existing online dictionary of Russian generals, who were participants in the 1812 War (we had no doubt that "our" sitter took part in this war, for his round medal with blue ribbon speaks for itself), we immediately turned to this source for assistance. In fact, we refer here to the richly-illustrated list of aforementioned generals, long ago compiled by Russian military historian Alexander Podmazo (in April of 2013, this online project materialized into a (superbly printed by Moscow publishing house "Russkie Vityazi") "album-dictionary" by the name "Obrazy geroev Otechestvennoy Voiny 1812 goda /Voennaya Galereya Zimnego Dvortsa" (English: "Representations of the heroes of Patriotic War of 1812 /Military Gallery of the Winter Palace"). As the matter of fact, tonline list and published album present each all portraits of Russian generals (participants of 1812 War) from the famous Millitary Gallery of St. Petersburg Hermitage.
Our own task was rather simple: aware of Alexander Podmazo's inventory of all (sic!) awards owned by the listed generals, we initiated a search for a person (or few of them), who was (or were) in possession of exactly those badges borne by the general in "our" portrait, and not any other, received before the possible execution of his portrait for the Military Gallery.
As we see, "our" sitter bears the following awards:
1) on the right (viewer's left) chest - the breast star and additionally red (with yellow edges) sash of the Russian Order of St. Anna of the 1st Class
2) Neck Cross of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle of the 2nd Class
3) Neck Cross of the Russian Order of St. Vladimir of the 3rd Class
4) Neck Cross of the Order of Zaeringer Lion (Duchy Baden)
5) Russian medal "In Memoriam of Patriotic War of 1812" (round, silver medal affixed to a blue ribbon. This medal was conferred to all (!) soldiers and officers that partook in 1812 War).
6) Distinctive Badge of the Prussian Military Order of the Iron Cross (the so-called "Kulm Cross"; it was conferred to many participants of the legendary Battle of Kulm (29-30 August 1813)).
We have browsed almost through the whole list of Alexander Podmazo and seriously considered to abort the search for a general, who, after the 20th of December 1813 (the date marking the first conferral of the Memorial Medal of 1812 (medal on blue ribbon)) was in possession of awards listed above. However, having reached the second last letter of the Russian alphabet ("Yu"), we suddenly discovered this person (see our images nr.10-11). In fact, we have initially recognized him in the portrait accompanying the text, and only then have carefully studied the text content, becoming fully convinced that this is indeed "our" man.
His name is Major-General Alexander Ivanovich Yushkov (1781-1835).
Among depicted Yushkov's awards, the chronologically latest one is the Russian Order of St. Anna of the 1st Class. He received it in 1823, and this date allows us to set the lowest time margin of this portrait's execution in this year. The upper time margin is then provided by his Order of St. Georg of the 4th Class that he received on the 12th of January 1824 (its cross is not present in this portrait).
Hence, we arrive at a logical conclusion: our miniature was made sometime in the period between the 7th of January 1823 (St. Anna of the 1st Class) and the 12th of January 1824 ( St. Georg of the 4th Class). Personally, we are certain that Yushkov ordered this (as well as its "identical twin" (now property of SEPHEROT Foundation) portrait immediately following his conferral with (then highest for him award) St. Anna of the 1st Class, i.e. in the first few months of 1823.
Alexander Ivanovich Yushkov was born ca. 1781 into family of Ivan Iosifovich Yuskov, Head of Kazan Supreme Territory (County) Court (died in 1811) and Natalia Ipatievna Polyanskaya (died in 1815). He had four brothers: his senior Nikolai (Captain in Guards; 1777-1828) and his junior Ivan, Iosif (1788-1849) and Vladimir (army colonel; 1789-1869), as well as four sisters.
On January 1792 (at the age of 11) he was enlisted (like most little sons of the Russian nobility) into the Leib-Guards Preobrazhenski Regiment in rank of "podpraporshchik" (lowest officer's rank). On December 22nd 1798, he was promoted (by this time he was actually serving in the army) to "praporshchik" (ensign), and in 1800 - to "poruchik" (1st lietenant).
In 1807 Yushkov took part in the Prussian Campaign, fought at Heilsberg, and then returned (via Tilsit) to Russia.
On February 12th 1810 Yushkov was raised in rank to a colonel and, on October 7th of the same year received under his command one of the battalions of Preobrazhenski Regiment.
He took part in the Patriotic War of 1812, fought at Borodino, and, for his bravery in this battle, was awarded Order of St. Anna of the 2nd Class.
In 1813, after crossing the Russian border, he fought against the French in April and May at Luetzen and Bautzen (for these two battles, he received his Order of St. Vladimir of the 3rd Class). He then arrived with the Russian troops (via Bohemia) to Saxony; was involved in the combats by Pirna and took part in the bloody Battle of Kulm. On September 15th 1813, for his distinction at Kulm, Yushkov was promoted to major-general and (two weeks later) appointed chief ("proprietor") of Yakutski Regiment (from January 8th 1814 he was already in charge of the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Infantry Division).
In October of 1813 Yushkov participated in the greatest battle of this War, which took place by Leipzig, and in December of the same year - in the siege of Mainz, fighting on the Rhine side.
In mid-January 1814 he crossed Rhine and entered French territory; he took part in battles of Brienne, La-Rothiere (he was awarded the diamond badge of St. Anna of the 2nd Class) and Champaubert. In February of the same year, after crossing the Seine, Yushkov fought at Laon. By March he was already in the suburbs of Paris.
In summer, after Russian troops captured the French capital, he was appointed town-major (in Russian: military commandant) of Paris. After the end of the campaign he went to Poland, yet (after "100 Days") was sent back to France as early as 1815. In France he joined the Russian Independent Occupation Corps, in which he spent the next three years. He returned to Russia in 1818.
On February 22nd 1819 Yushkov was appointed Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 15th Infantry Division. He then commanded the 2nd Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division and - from June 8th 1821 - 3rd Brigade of the 15th Infantry Division, for exemplary maintenance of which he received (as mentioned above) the Order of St. Anna of the 1st Class on December 7th 1823.
On October 24th 1824 he became the Commander of the 5th Infantry Division and, on August 22nd 1826, was promoted to Lieutenant-General.
Yushkov commanded the 7th Infantry Division in the Turkish Campaign of 1828-1829. On October 23rd 1835 he was sent into retirement, granted the right to wear his Lieutenant-General's uniform and assigned a pension fully equaling his most recent salary.
He spent his retirement alternatingly living in his estate in Insarski Uezd of Penza Gubernia and Penza, where he died on June 25th 1859. He was buried at the cemetery of Penza Spaso-Preobrazhenski Monastery.
The author of this miniature (and the author's own replica housed in the Foundation SEPHEROT) remains still unknown to us. We are going to carry on our research…
1) Christie's South Kensington, London, December 15th 1998, lot 39 (see our image nr.17)
2) London art dealer Cynthia Walmsley (see image nr.18)
3) private collection, England
4) Bonhams Oxford, June 12th 2013, lot 315 (see our image nr.19)
P.S.: 17 January 2014
While preparation of publication of presented here miniature (July 2013) we, unfortunately, had no knowledge of an article concerning this portrait published back in 2012 in the 3rd issue of Moscow military-historical magazine "Stary Zeichgaus" ("Old Zeichhaus"). In the article the leading Russian military historian and specialist in uniforms Dr. A. Kibovsky is discussing the mentioned above replica, which was shown in Moscow State Historical Museum in 2010, and comes (one year ealier! again: which we did not know) to the same conclusion as we did - it is a portrait of General Yushkov.
Our image nr. 20 shows clips from just acquired by us, published in 2013 in Moscow "Materials to Russian Iconography", 1st issue, page 32 with this attribution made by Dr. Kibovsky.
Condition: fairly good; few hair-thin cracks; in magnificent, original ormolu and gold frame
Creation Year: 1823/24
Measurements:UNFRAMED:6,5x5,0cm/2,6x2,0in FRAMED: 9,5x6,3cm/3,7x2,5in
Object Type:Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: watercolor on ivory
Creator: Russian School
Creator Dates: -
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