From the Collection

Calcutta | Aleksei Saltykov | Gouache on paper (Double-sided) | Swaraj Collection
Prince Aleksei Dmitrievich Saltykov (1806–1859) was a Russian artist and traveller in Persia and India. He was the grandson of Prince Nikolay Saltykov, born in St. Petersburg on 1 February 1806 to Prince Dmitri Nikolaevich Saltykov and Anna Nikolaevna Leontieva. The Soltykov name was one of the more esteemed in Russia.
Alexis’s early days are somewhat of a mystery. He grew up in St Petersburg and at the age of eighteen joined the diplomatic services with the Russian State Board (Collegium) for Foreign Affairs in Moscow. By the age of 23 he was with the Russian Foreign Service, first in Constantinople, then in Athens, later in London, Florence, Rome, and Teheran. In 1840, Alexis retired and moved to Paris where he planned his voyages to India. He ended up making two voyages there (1841–43 and 1844–46), and achieving the sobriquet ‘The Indian’ from the Russian and French aristocracy. In 1849 he published a selection of his letters in French accompanied by his drawings, which became very well known in Europe “Lettres sur L’Inde”. Paris,1848). In 1851 the book was translated into Russian and became an instant success: it truly enraptured the Russian reading public. The drawings were published separately in London in 1859 as “Drawings on the Spot”.

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