Elizaveta Borissovna Shakhovskaya (1773-1796) was the daughter of Boris Grigorevich Shakhovskoy (d. 1813) and Princess Varvara Aleksandrovna, née Strogonova. She married, in Paris in February 1792, the Belgian Prince Louis-Marie d'Arenberg, which displeased Empress Catherine the Great. A month into their marriage, the Empress decreed the confiscation of Shakhovskaya's large estates, along with those of her mother. She returned to Russia but her husband was forbidden entry into the country, having been accused of participating in the revolutions in France and Brabant. From this marriage a daughter was born and two years later the couple were officially divorced. She was permitted to remarry and a few years later, in 1795, wed a distant cousin, Prince Petr Feodorovich Shakhovskoi (1773-1841). It is said that after her second marriage the princess retired to her estates where she was poisoned.
A further unsigned version of the present miniature is illustrated and discussed in K. V. Mikhailova G. V. Smirnov, Portrait Miniatures from the Collection of the State Russian Museum, Leningrad, 1979, I, p. 113, no. 79, pp. 372-373, no. 63.