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"Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsev", important miniature of Russian interest!!, 1796/1800
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 2250 USD
( for EUR price see date rate )
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This work is a high quality miniature portrait of (dressed and hair-styled according to fashion of the late 1790s) of the yet to become a famous Russian statesman, then just retired from the military service and living in the mentioned period (from 1796) in London, Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsev. We believe that it was made not by an English but rather by a French (for it demonstrates an undeniable French touch) émigré artist, who in the years of Great Terror left his homeland and - alike his sitter - lived in the English capital.
Born in 1767, Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsev (or Novosiltsov; from 1833 Count) was raised in St. Petersburg house of Count A. S. Stroganov as the unlawful son of the latter's sister Maria who (after the child's birth) was married off to Nikolai Ustinovich Novosiltsev. While still a boy, Nikolai Nikolaevich was assigned into the Page Corps that he graduated in 1783. Consequently he was enlisted in rank of a captain to Life-Guards Grenadier Regiment. In 1785 he was transferred in rank of a second-major to Volinsky Regular Cossack Regiment. In 1786 he was attached to the Foreign Office. In 1788-1790, while attached to chief-commander of the rowing fleet, he took part in the Russo-Swedish War. For distinction at the 1789 sea battle he was promoted to colonel. In 1794 he participated in suppression of Kosciuszko Revolt in Poland and Lithuania. In 1796 (as mentioned above) he retreated from the military service and settled in London, where he attended lectures in physics, mathematics and medicine.
Novosiltsev's career-ladder climb coincided with Alexander I' accession to the throne. In 1803-1810 Novosiltsev was the President of the Academy of Science and trustee of St. Petersburg education district. In 1806 he was elected to be a real member of the Russian Academy. From 1821 he was made the Vice Minister of Justice while retaining all of his previous posts.
He accompanied Alexander I on the latter's various journeys abroad. In early 1805 he was entrusted with concluding an alliance with Great Britain, which he successfully implemented. In that period he was also an active free mason and member of "Amirs reunis" lodge.
In 1806 Novosiltsev was sent as envoy to Napoleon, but shortly after his arrival to Paris discovered that the latter had just declared the war against Russia. In 1806 to 1809 Novosiltsev was permanently at Alexander I' side. In 1809-1812 he lived in Vienna and performed various diplomatic assignments in West Europe. His estrangement from the court in this period had rough personal consequences for Novosiltsev, making him turn to hard liquor.
From 1813 to 1815 he governed the finances of the occupied Duchy of Warsaw; between 1815-1830 he served in the government of the Congress Kingdom of Poland. In the Kingdom of Poland he was the Tsar's commissar in the Counsil of State. He was a very influential, widely feared, and one of the de facto rulers of the country. He organized and led the Russian secret police there ("okhranka"). He was responsible for arrests of student activists in the Philomaths and Filaret Association in 1823. From 1824 he was the curator of Vilna Governorate's education and science.
He was a supporter of russification policies, persecuted many pro-Polish organizations and activities and was detested by contemporary Polish society.
He concluded his career as the Chairman of the Russian Cabinet of Ministers (1832-1834). In 1833 Nikolai I ennobled him to Count.
Nikolai Nikolaevich Novosiltsev died in 1838 and was buried at Dukhovskaya Church of Alexander-Nevskaya Lavra in St. Petersburg.
Although Novosiltsev remained a bachelor his whole life, he carried a reputation of a ladies' man. His continuous drinking (while already occupying one of the primary state positions) drove him into performing a drunken Trepak (A.K.A. "Russian dance") in front of numerous attendees of the annual festival hosted by English Club: "a sad and insulting sight" (as one of the witnesses noted).
1)Count Lamsdorff-Galagan, Barcelona (collection of Russian portrait miniatures)
2) Christie's London, 27th November 2007, lot 180 (erroneously listed as "Russian School"; see our image nr.8)
Condition: good; in original (golden?) frame (ringlet is lost)
Creation Year: 1796/1800
Measurements: UNFRAMED:5,9x4,7cm/2,3x1,9in FRAMED: 6,3x5,1cm/2,5x2,0in
Object Type: Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: watercolor and gouache on ivory (oval)
Creator: Continental School
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Creator Dates: -
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