The enormously influential Sheremet'ev family traces its ancestry back to the fourteenth century. It became very powerful under Peter the Great in the 17th century and continued to serve the Romanov family through the succeeding years. Before the reforms of 1861 the family owned about 300,000 serfs and over 2 million acres, including the land on which Moscow Airport is now built, hence its name. Count Dimitri Nicolaievich Sheremet'ev (1803-1874) is the most probable member of the family to have commissioned this carpet and its pair in the next lot; he was thought to be the wealthiest private man in Europe at the time.
For a discussion on Axminster carpets see the footnotes to lots 127 and 131.