Information about the sitter is extremely thin and contradictory. Whether she was living at the court of Catherine II as a political pawn or for her and her family's personal safety, I've been unable to clarify. In any case it was the Empress who ordered this portrait, one of the last completed during Roslin's two year sojourn in Russia. (He received some seventy-five commissions while there, and had to finish many of them on his return to Paris.)
The princess' costume is picturesque and outside of the fashion of the day, but otherwise this is a perfect example of Roslin's precise, direct, but delicately sensual style; as usual, the description of the details - fabric, lace, fur, ribbon - is exquisite.
|The lace is exactly drawn, the silver embroidery perfectly evoked.|
|The silver ribbon...!|