Aleksandr Naryshkin

Alexander Lvovich Naryshkin (Russian: Александр Лвович Нарышкин) (14 April 1760 - 21 January 1826) was a Russian noble of the Naryshkin family. He was the director of the Imperial Theatres from 1799 to 1819 and Marshal of Nobility of Saint-Petersburg from 1818 to 1826. He and his brother were famous for their lavish parties in Saint-Petersburg.

Alexander Lvovich Naryshkin
Александр Львович Нарышкин
Alexandr Lvovich Naryshkin by A.C.Ritt (1790s, Hermitage).jpg
Portrait of Naryshkin by Augustin-Christian Ritt
Born19 December 1788
Died10 December 1865
Known forDirector of the Imperial Theatres
Spouse(s)Maria Alekseevna Naryshkina


Aleksandr Naryshkin was born on the 14th of April, 1760 into the Naryshkin family. After being tutored at home, he embarked on a Grand Tour, as was often done by upper-class young European men as a rite of passage. Upon his return, he entered the Izmailovsky Life Guards regiment, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant captain.

In 1778, he was granted the position of chamber-junker and began building his career at the Imperial Court. In 1785, he was promoted to chamberlain and made friends with the heir to the throne, Catherine the Great's son Paul. After the accession to the throne of Paul I in 1797, he was awarded the Order of St. Anna of the 1st degree, and shortly after in 1798 he was awarded the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky and granted the position of chief marshal.[1]

In 1799, he was appointed director of the Imperial Theatres.

In 1812, he became a member of a special committee responsible for the management of all St. Petersburg and Moscow theaters. In 1815, he accompanied Empress Elizaveta Alekseevna on her trip to the Congress of Vienna.

In 1819, he resigned from his post as director of the Imperial Theatres. He was then an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts.

In 1820, he went abroad and lived the rest of his life in Paris, where he died of dropsy on the 21st of January, 1826.

Public ImageEdit

Following several generations of the Naryshkins, Alexander Lvovich was known as a bon vivant, an epicurean and yet forever without money and saddled with debt. At the Bellevue country estate, he hosted the entire Petersburg society, including Alexander I, who referred to Naryshkin as his cousin.[2] In the book "Ten Years' Exile", describing concerts of horn music at Naryshkin's estate, Madame de Staël characterized the owner as "an amiable and courteous man," but inclined to seek entertainment not in books, but in a noisy company: surrounded by 20 people, he imagines himself in "philosophical seclusion".[3]


From his marriage to Maria Alekseevna Naryshkina, daughter of admiral Alexei Senyavin, he had four children:

Along with many members of his family, Alexander Naryshkin was buried in Alexander Nevsky Lavra.


  1. ^ Месяцеслов с росписью чиновных особ или общий штат Российской империи на лето от Рождества Христова 1818 [Months with a list of officials or the general state of the Russian Empire for the summer from Christmas 1818] (in Russian). p. 21: The Imperial Academy of Science. 1818.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ Staritsina, G. (2000). Воронцовы — два века в истории России [The Vorontsov Family - Two Centuries of their History in Russia] (in Russian). p. 13.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ Stael-Holstein, Anne (1818). Ten Years' Exile. The Echo Library. p. 127. ISBN 140680701X.

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