Mezzotint after Jean Laurent Mosnier. 1802. Size of sheet: 67,3 x 46,8 cm. Whitman 504, (before I./V.) Illustrated.
Exceptionally rich proof impression of an unknown state, pre-dating the states listed in Whitman. With all the characteristics for the first sate, but before any lettering. The roulette-marks very visible in the blanc space lower right. The first state at the British Museum shows the same as well and bears the slightly etched one line inscriptions (BM -1902 - 10-11-5832).
A beautiful print of Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna of Russia (1779 – 1826) by Jean Laurent Mosnier (1744 Paris – 1808 St Petersburg) executed three years after Mosnier travelled to St Petersburg. The depiction of her reflection in the mirror behind her is not dissimilar in style to the portrait of Madame Moitessier by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
Elizabeth was just thirteen when she was selected by Catherine the Great to travel to Russia as a possible wife for her grandson Alexander (later Alexander I of Russia). The present print perfectly renders the beauty and elegance that must have caught Catherine’s eye. After a year of introduction into the Russian Court, Elizabeth and Alexander were married in 1793 when the bride was fourteen and her new husband a year older. Their marriage was turbulent, riddled with affairs on both sides and full of the disappointment afforded to so many young women in those days who were unable to produce an heir.