Empress Marie Alexandrovna Romanov of Russia Levitsky Cabinet Photo

Product code: 5270
Fine cabinet photo by Levitsky of Marie of Hesse and by Rhine (8 August 1824 - 3 June [O.S. 22 may] 1880) (Maria Alexandrovna), Empress of Russia as the wife of Emperor Alexander II. She was born in Darmstadt, the capital of the Grand Duchy, and died in Saint Petersburg. The Mariinsky Theatre and the city of Mariehamn in Åland are named after her.

Marie was the youngest of seven children born to the Grand Duchess Wihelmine of Hesse (1788-1836), the youngest sister of the Russian Empress-Consort Elizaveta Alexeievna. The younger four were likely the biological children of Baron August von Senarclens de Grancy, but to avoid a scandal, Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse acknowledged Alexander and Marie as his own children; the other two had died young.

When in 1838, the Tsarevich Alexander Nikolayevich toured Europe to find a wife, he fell in love with the 14-year-old Marie. He married her on 16 April 1841, even though he was well aware of the "irregularity" of her birth. His mother Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna objected, but Alexander insisted.

As she was very shy, she was regarded as stiff, austere, and with no taste in dress, no conversation, no charm. The damp climate of St. Petersburg did not agree with the delicate chest Marie had inherited from her mother, so that she had a racking cough and recurring fever. Nevertheless, she became the mother of eight children. These pregnancies together with ill health kept her away from many Court festivities, which brought temptations to her husband.

Marie knew Alexander was unfaithful and had many lovers. He already had three children with his favourite mistress, Princess Catherine Dolgoruki, and he moved her and their children into the Imperial Palace during Marie's final illness, and entered into a morganatic marriage with Princess Catherine Dolgoruki, on 18 July [O.S. 6 July] 1880.

Count Sergei Lvovich Levitsky (1819 - 1898), is considered one of the patriarchs of Russian photography and one of Europe's most important early photographic pioneers, inventors and innovators.

Of noble birth, he was a cousin of Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen (1812-1870), the writer and outstanding public figure; husband to Anna Antonovna and father to Rafail Sergeevich Levitsky (1847-1940.

Sergei was born Lvov-Lvitsky in Moscow but later changed his name to Levitsky. At his parents request he attended and graduated (1839) from the Faculty of Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University and soon after served in the Russian civil service with the Ministry of the Interior, St. Petersburg. His ability to speak several languages allowed him to participate in a government commission to study the composition and therapeutic properties of mineral waters in the Caucasus.

Considered the best of Russia's portrait photographers, the Levitsky studio photographed four generations of the Romanov dynasty. In 1877, it was awarded the title Photographer of their Royal Majesty.

Size: 16.5 x 11 cm approx
Product Code 5270