The Met

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)
“Countess Alexander Nikolaevitch Lamsdorff” (1859)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, United States

The twenty-four-year-old countess depicted here was the wife of Alexander Nikolaevitch Lamsdorff, a Russian aristocrat and Francophile. The book of English poetry in her lap is thought to be a reference to her father, Ivan Alexandrovitch Beck, a poet and translator. Her choice of a fashionable day dress may have been suggested by Winterhalter, who is known to have advised his sitters on their wardrobe and posed them to their best advantage in his studio.