Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Scottish Artist in Russia

Christina Sanders Robertson (1796-1854) painted the Imperial Family. From Two Nerdy History Girls:
Born in Fife, Scotland, Christina Sanders was the daughter of a coach painter. More importantly, her uncle was a successful miniaturist who taught her painting and helped launch her career; by 1819, she was already developing an aristocratic clientele for her portraits. She married fellow-artist James Robertson in 1822, and together they relocated to London. Within a year, her work was included in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy, and her society portraits were being engraved and reproduced in ladies's magazines and popular journals, right. Her affluent sitters liked her elegantly flattering portraits with their emphasis on jewels and rich clothing.  She was paid her well for her work, and her reputation soared.

Christina's success has a remarkably modern feel to it. While her career grew, far exceeding her husband's, she also bore eight children, four of whom survived to adulthood. During the 1830s, she left her children behind with her husband in London and travelled to Paris for several lucrative, prolonged stays, completing portrait after portrait of stylish aristocrats. In 1839, she traveled to St. Petersburg - not an easy journey, especially not for a solitary woman - to paint Empress Alexandra, Tsar Nicholas I, and other members of the imperial court. In recognition of her talent, she was named an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Art. (Read more.)

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