Liubov Il'inichna Kusheleva was the daughter of Count Il'ia Andreevich Bezborodko from his marriage to Anna Ivanovna Shiriai. In April 1797, on the day of the coronation of Paul I, she became a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Maria Fedorovna. In 1799, together with her younger sister Cleopatra, who later became Princess Lobanov-Rostovskaia, Liubov Il'inichna became heir to the colossal estate of her uncle Prince Alexander Andreyevich Bezborodko (1747-1799).
She was the richest Russian bride of her time, by conservative estimates, her inherited share of personal assets and real estate (excluding capital) amounted to more than 10 million roubles. On 13 October 1799, aged sixteen, she married a favourite of the Tsar, the forty-five year old widower Count Grigorii Grigorievich Kushelev (1754-1833). After Alexander I’s succession, Count Kushelev retired to his estate while Liubov Il'inichna and her children lived in their house in St Petersburg (now 6 Kutuzov Embankment). According to her contemporaries, the Countess was a beautiful and gracious woman who gave many dinner parties and held elegant soirées. After ten years of marriage, in July 1809, she died very young and was buried in the Lazarev cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
V. Borovikovsky depicted L. I. Kusheleva with her sons, Aleksandr and Grigorii, a future Lieutenant-General. In 1816, the elder of the brothers in association with the extinction of the Bezborodko title along the male line received the right to use the title Count Kushelev-Bezborodko. The bust seen in the portrait on the right depicts Kusheleva’s uncle, Chancellor A. A. Bezborodko.
We are grateful to Dr Ludmila Markina, Director of the 18th and 19th century paintings department at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, for providing this note
Portrait of Countess Liubov Il'inichna Kusheleva, née Bezborodko (1783-1809) with children Aleksandr (1800-1855) and Grigorii (1801-1855)
Oil on canvas
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PRINCE IVAN OBOLENSKY
Signed in Cyrillic and dated 'Painted by Borovikovskii/1803.' (lower right)
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovskii
Vladimir Lukich Borovikovskii , 18th Century, Paintings, oil, Ukraine, Realist, portrait
Probably: St Petersburg, The Tauride Palace, Vystavka russkikh portretov [Exhibition of Russian Portraits], 1905, no. 183.
London, Belgrave Square, Exhibition of Russian art, 4 June-13 July 1935, no. 131.
38 x 30 5/8 in. (96.6 x 77.7 cm.)
Exhibition catalogue, Vystavka russkikh portretov [Exhibition of Russian Portraits], St Petersburg, 1905, listed pp. 32 and 100, no. 183.
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, Portraits Russes des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, St Petersburg, 1907, vol. III, 1st ed., no. 6, illustrated pl. VI, listed p. II.
Exhibition catalogue, Exhibition of Russian art, London, 1935, listed p. 33, no. 131.
T. Alekseeva, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovskii i russkaia kultura na rubezhe 18go-19go vekov [Vladimir Lukich Borovikovskii and Russian culture at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries], 1975, illustrated p. 241, listed p. 410, no. 143 and p. 360, no. 217.
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich, [S. Nikitin (ed.)], Russkie portrety XVIII i XIX vekov [Russian portraits of the XVIII and XIX centuries], Moscow, 2003, illustrated p. 58 no. 6, listed p. 151 III, no. 6.
Varvara Aleksandrovna Kochubei, née Kusheleva-Bezborodko (1829-1894), the granddaughter of the sitter, St Petersburg.
Vasilli Petrovich Kochubei (1868-1940), the son of the above, Kiev, circa 1900s.
Prince Serge Obolensky (1890-1978) and Ava Alice Muriel Astor (1902-1956), London, circa 1925.
By descent to the present owner.
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