Pyotr Sokolov (1787-1848)
Portrait of Prince Alexei Fyodorovich Orlov
reference number: RG_012
watercolour on paper
20.5 x 16.5 cm
signed in Cyrillic lower right: Sokolov
contained in original wooden frame
Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov (1786-1861) — Russian army officer, statesman and diplomat, since 1836 member of the Council of State, later head of the police and the Third Section – emperor’s secret service.
Alexei Fyodorovich was a son of Count Fyodor Orlov, who had helped to place Catherine II on the throne in 1762. On the personal order of the Empress, he was given noble rights and his father’s name. In 1801, he joined the Board of Foreign Affairs, and three years later was appointed a cadet in the Life Guards Hussar Regiment and was soon promoted to the rank of cornet.
Orlov took part in all the Napoleonic wars. In 1805, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Austerlitz and was awarded a golden sword for courage. In the battle of Borodino in 1812, he was wounded 7 times and awarded the Order of St. Vladimir, 4th class, and of St. George, 4th class for his military merit.
In 1825, having become the commander of a cavalry regiment, helped suppress the uprising of the Decembrist movement, which hoped to establish a constitutional regime. For his services, he was granted a title count. In 1854 he was raised to the dignity of prince and was appointed the president of the Imperial Council of State and of the Council of Ministers.
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