Jugate busts of Czarevitch Paul and Maria Feodorovna of Russia

James Tassie (British, Glasgow, Scotland 1735–1799 London)
After an original by Empress Maria Feodorovna (Russian, born Poland, Szczecin 1759–1828 St. Petersburg)
British, London
Cast glass
Overall: 2 11/16 x 2 3/16 x 7/16 in. (6.8 x 5.5 x 1.1 cm); 68 x 55.4 x 11.1 mm
Credit Line:
Funds from various donors, 1999
Accession Number:
Not on view
Catherine the Great’s daughter-in-law Maria Feodorovna, born Princess Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, was an accomplished cameo carver. James Tassie produced several glass replicas of the cameo she made of herself alongside her ill-favored spouse, the future Paul I. Most of the replicas, like the original hardstone in the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, are dated April 21, Catherine the Great’s name day; the original was presumably Maria Feodorovna’s tribute when that occasion was celebrated in 1791. The Russian court had known contacts with Tassie, whose small glass portraits emulating cameos enjoyed wide circulation, and there can be little doubt that it was to him they turned for replications of Maria Feodorovna’s cameo.
Signature: Engraved below tranche of shoulder: Maria F. / 21 April 1791.
[ A La Vieille Russie , New York, until 1999; sold to MMA ]