Liubov Il'inichna Kusheleva was the daughter of Count Il'ia Andreevich Bezborodko from his marriage to Anna Ivanovna Shiriai. In April 1797, on the day of the coronation of Paul I, she became a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Maria Fedorovna. In 1799, together with her younger sister Cleopatra, who later became Princess Lobanov-Rostovskaia, Liubov Il'inichna became heir to the colossal estate of her uncle Prince Alexander Andreyevich Bezborodko (1747-1799).
She was the richest Russian bride of her time, by conservative estimates, her inherited share of personal assets and real estate (excluding capital) amounted to more than 10 million roubles. On 13 October 1799, aged sixteen, she married a favourite of the Tsar, the forty-five year old widower Count Grigorii Grigorievich Kushelev (1754-1833). After Alexander I’s succession, Count Kushelev retired to his estate while Liubov Il'inichna and her children lived in their house in St Petersburg (now 6 Kutuzov Embankment). According to her contemporaries, the Countess was a beautiful and gracious woman who gave many dinner parties and held elegant soirées. After ten years of marriage, in July 1809, she died very young and was buried in the Lazarev cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
V. Borovikovsky depicted L. I. Kusheleva with her sons, Aleksandr and Grigorii, a future Lieutenant-General. In 1816, the elder of the brothers in association with the extinction of the Bezborodko title along the male line received the right to use the title Count Kushelev-Bezborodko. The bust seen in the portrait on the right depicts Kusheleva’s uncle, Chancellor A. A. Bezborodko.
We are grateful to Dr Ludmila Markina, Director of the 18th and 19th century paintings department at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, for providing this note