The wizard and the princess knew it was a special painting, but they weren’t sure exactly why. You know the wizard. He bought it on gut-instinct. It turns out to be a 150+ year-old portrait of Romanov Princess Elizabeth Esperovna Belosselsky-Belosenky. She was 23 at the time. She later married the Russian Prince Peter Troubetskoy.
As the great Tom Grimes uncovered, the original was painted in 1857 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, official court painter to Louis-Philippe, king of France. The painting is famous enough that its image appears on more than 350 art websites.
Check out this website: https://www.nobilified.com/female-portraits/royalty/princess-elizabeth-esperovna-belosselsky
What the wizard and the princess bought is a hand-painted perfect copy that was made shortly after the original was painted. We know it’s NOT the original because the signature is definitely not Winterhalter. Likewise, it’s not a forgery because a forger would have signed it with Winterhalter’s name. Other than that, it’s a perfect copy. Indistinguishable, in fact, from the original.
The only explanation is that it was hand-painted in the presence of the original – an authorized copy. We know it can’t have been painted from a photograph because color photos didn’t exist back then. And the colors of this painting match the colors of the original perfectly. If the heritage of the painting had been known to the auction house, it would have sold for at least 40 times the price. The other bidders knew only that it was a very old oil painting of a pretty girl painted on a wood panel, signed by an artist whose name was illegible.
The painting itself is 15×11.
Framed, it’s 29×25.
Heh, heh, heh.
Sometimes it’s fun to hang out with those two.