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Attributed to Ivan Winberg (d. 1851)

Presentation ring with a miniature of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855) c.1834

RCIN 9038

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Large gold ring, diamond-mounted bezel with crown surmount, the flank with the enamel double-headed eagle of Russia, with inset miniature of Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, behind a flat-cut diamond, the reverse with engraved inscription, 'Pour Prescrit - du - 29 Sept: 1834'. Miniature: bust-length; facing half to the left, in uniform with blue eyes, brown hair and moustache; sky background. This miniature is attributed to Ivan Winberg (fl. 1825–46), court miniaturist at St Petersburg, whose miniatures on a larger scale were, however, generally signed. It is based on a portrait by Franz Krüger, Court Painter to Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, and subsequently to his brother-in-law, Tsar Nicholas I, dating from c.1833. Amongst the many versions are those in the Royal Collection (RCIN 406814) and in the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin (inv. 1988/1496.1). Queen Victoria was impressed by the Emperor’s appearance during his state visit to London in 1844: ‘He is certainly a very striking man; still very handsome; his profile is beautiful, and his manners most dignified and graceful; extremely civil – quite alarmingly so, as he is so full of attentions and politesses. But the expression of the eyes is formidable, and unlike anything I ever saw before’ (Letters 1907, II, p. 14). The significance of the date engraved on the ring is unclear but must have been of consequence to the original recipient of the ring. On 29 September 1834 Nicholas I arrived at Kalouga in central Russia in mid-afternoon en route for Orel where a review of the 3rd Corps of Cavalry was planned. He was received by the civil governor and by military authorities and was occupied with affairs of government for the rest of that day.