Prince Paul P. Demidoff, 2nd Prince of San Donato
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Princess Demidoff (1853-1917) 
(Helene Petrovna Demidova, 2nd wife to Prince Paul P. Demidoff) 
Prince Paul P. Demidoff, 
2nd Prince of San Donato (1839-1885)
 Jpg: Alexandre G. Tissot Demidoff
From : Alexandre Tissot Demidoff  

Paul became the 2nd Prince of San Donato with his princely title recognised in Russia for the first time by Alexandre II. The young couple moved to Villa di San Donato after a honeymoon in Florence. However, the death of his young and beautiful wife, Maria Metscherskii, during childbirth to their son Elim P. Demidoff (whom lived) left Paul in prolonged and deep grief. It is said that he would visit the storage area in Villa di San Donato that contained Maria's dresses to be close to her presence. Understandably, Prince Paul's second wife, Helene Petrovna nee Troubetzkoii, and the subject of the painting by John Singer Sargent [thumbnail], believed that living in Villa di San Donato was ruining Paul's health from the painful memories associated with his first wife. They moved to the The Villa Pratolino were they took residence  

The couple decided to sell the Villa di San Donato and a large portion of its collections. On 5 November 1881 the palace of Villa di San Donato was sold to Gastone Mestayer with the grounds sold separately to Nemesio Papucci and Rosselli Del Turco. 

The sale of the Villa also included the auction of numerous collections of Count Nicholas, Anatole, and Prince Paul, himself, that lasted six weeks with the proceedings accompanied by classical sounds from three orchestras. The sales included the contents of Anatole's museum in Elba dedicated to Napoleon that primarily was assembled with the aid of Anatole's father in law, King Jerome Bonaparte. The final major sale of the collections of the Demidoffs of San Donato took place in 1969 in Pratolino, Italy.



By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2003 all rights reversed
Created 4/27/2002
Updated 1/6/2003