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Fortnum & Mason's Russian Seamstress to Sell
Alexei Alexeevich Harlamoff (Russian 1842-1915), The little seamstress, signed 'Harlamoff' (lower left), oil on canvas, 85 x 107.5 cm. (33 1/2 x 42 1/4 in.) Copyright © 2002-2005 Bonhams 1793 Ltd.
LONDON, ENGLAND.- Bonhams’ forthcoming Russian Sale at 101 New Bond Street, London on 27 November 2006, will feature a superb painting by acclaimed Russian artist Alexei Alexeevich Harlamoff (1840-1925). Praised by Queen Victoria for his paintings of children, Harlamoff’s ‘The Little Seamstress,’ a charming scene of a young girl sewing in traditional Russian costume, is estimated to fetch between £200,000 – 300,000 at Bonhams’ sale this winter.

This outstanding work has been a highlight of Fortnum & Mason’s prestigious art collection since its purchase for its headquarters at 181 Piccadilly by Garfield Weston (Chairman, Fortnum & Mason, 1951 – 1978). This painting and further works from the collection are celebrated in an exhibition touring Bonhams locations in Edinburgh, Leeds, Knowle, Chester and Bath, before transferring to Bonhams’ Manhattan saleroom in New York on 13 November 2006. To view exhibition details, please click here.

Together with such renowned artists as Aivazovsky 91817 – 1900) and Repin (1844 – 1930), Harlamoff has always enjoyed a high reputation in Western Europe, and his attractive and sensitive portraits of young children and peasant girls have always been keenly sought by collectors, and are now particularly sought after given the current boom of the Russian art market. The demand among Russian collectors for their countrymen’s finest work was demonstrated by the unprecedented success of Bonhams’ second Russian Sale in June, which realised almost £4 million.

Harlamoff was born in 1840 close to Saratov on the Volga River, and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg at the age of 14. From there he went to Paris on a gold medal travel scholarship, where he studied portraiture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Leon Bonnat (1833 – 1922). Harlamoff’s talent in this area soon became clear as Emile Zola rated his portrait of Ivan Turgenev as amongst the best works of the Paris Salon of 1876. As his career continued, highly praised by French critics, Harlamoff came to the attention of wealthy American and European collectors who appreciated the genre pictures and portraits that he was producing, particularly his idealised portraits of young women and girls. Queen Victoria greatly admired his painting of children playing with flowers that was exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888.

Bonhams’ sale includes many stunning works by other Russian greats, such as Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, Vladimir Borisovich Yankilevsky, Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich, Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov, Francisco Infante-Arana, and Fabergé. For further information on the sale, please visit . For further information on the Fortnum & Mason exhibition, please visit

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