portrait of catherine ii

Count Valerian Zubov, Jean-Louis Voille, 1791.

Younger brother of the last favorite of Catherine II. Reputed by contemporaries as “the handsomest man in Russia”. He was a successful military commander.

He headed the expedition to Persia projected by Platon Zubov. It’s aim was to conquer all Asia up to Tibet. But when the new emperor, Paul I, ascended the throne he secretly recalled all the commanders back  to Russia except commander-in-chief. He disliked his mother's protégé and wanted his disgrace. Zubov was saved from captivity by ataman Platov, future hero of the 1812, who disobeyed emperor’s order.

The Persian campaign was the last one for Zubov.


Allegory on the accession to the throne of Alexander I

Seated on clouds Emperor Peter I and Catherine II holding a medallion with a portrait of Alexander I, Peter is depicted as Zeus, Jupiter, naked to the waist and barefoot, at his feet the eagle with heavenly fire. Catherine is depicted as the wife of Zeus, Hera-Juno. A woman in crown with the royal regalia in the hands symbolizes Russia.

“Portrait of Catherine II of Russia” (1766) (detail) by Alexei Petrovich Antropov (1716-1795).


For the Portrait Gala on February 11, 2014, the Duchess of Cambridge wore the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace. 

The necklace was originally crafted in the 1930’s by Cartier. It was a wedding gift to Queen Elizabeth II, who was still a princess, on her wedding to Prince Philip from the Last Nizam Of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1947. The Nizam of Hyderabad asked the Queen to choose two pieces from Cartier to mark her wedding, and she chose a tiara and a matching necklace.

The necklace was made by Cartier with 38 diamonds, with a diamond-encrusted snap. It has a detachable double-drop pendant, made of 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop, forms the pave-set center of the necklace. The design was based on English roses.