Agafokleia Aleksandrovna Poltoratskaia, née Shishkov was a distillery owner and owner of an estate in the Tver region and a country manor in Okkervil. A beauty herself, intelligent and gifted, she had an iron will and was extraordinarily efficient. Starting with a small holding, she managed to acquired a large fortune of 4000 souls. At 15 she married a widower, Mark Fedorovich Poltoratskii (1729-1795), director of the Court Capella.The couple had 22 children. The most famous of her sons is Constantin, Lieutenant-General and Governor of Yaroslavl. One of her daughters, Elizabeth, married Aleksei Nikolaievich Olenin (1763-1843), President of the Imperial Academy of Arts. Amongst her granddaughters are two of Pushkin's muses: Anna Olenina (1808-1888) and Anna Kern (1800-1879).
In 1780, Levitsky completed a pair of portraits of the Poltoratsky spouses. The signed original of the husband is held in the collection of the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg. The State Tretyakov Gallery’s depiction of the wife differs from Levitsky’s standard works. The example presented here at auction is also not the original. The portrait of A. A. Poltoratskaia was most likely repeated more than once for the numerous descendants of the lady by the artist himself and students from his portrait class at the Imperial Academy of Arts.
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.