Completed Continental European after 1800, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 18 Could we establish more about the artist of this Russian winter scene?

A Russian Winter Scene
Topic: Artist

It would be interesting to know the true identity of this artist. The name exists in the Witt’s Checklist of Painters but not on ULAN.

A few paintings ascribed to ‘Nicolas Wassilievitch Orloff (b.1863)’ on art reproduction sites and in a Rose Hill Auction Gallery sale in 2009 (which was signed merely ‘W Orloff’) have more in common with the characteristic snowscapes of an artist or artists known either as ‘J. Orloff’ (of which several examples can be found online and whose signature is visible on or as ‘Vladimir Orloff (1887-1962)’ as on where the signature is recorded as ‘W Orloff’ ( for Wladimir). The signature of V. Orloff can be found at

It would be helpful to have the collection’s reading of the signature and the evidence for the painting’s attribution to the otherwise mysterious Nicolas Wassilievitch Orloff (b.1863). [Group leader: Michelle Foot]

Andrew Greg, British 19th C, except portraits, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

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The Collection has commented: 'According to a note on the file: 'Note of acceptance of gift gives artist's name as Nicolay Ortoff, PTC File 489/2 A K Bell Library Archives, and refers to the Perth exhibition of his work about 1915 this being one of several pictures purchased from that show.' We will try and have a look on the reverse of the canvas when we are next at the Museum.'

Jacinto Regalado,

The Wikipedia entry for Orlov says that "from 1913 to 1919, he and his family lived quietly in Lipetsk; avoiding World War I and the Russian Revolution. While there, he taught drawing at a girls' school." It seems unlikely he would have have had an exhibition in Australia in 1915.

Kieran Owens,

Unless this is an extremely early work by the artist (which I doubt), I would recommend great caution about attributing this work to the Russian realist painter Nikolai Vasilyevich Orlov (1863-1924), who was member of the Передви́жники, known in French as the 'Les Ambulants' or in English as 'The Wanderers':Орлов,_Николай_Васильевич_{LPARENTHESES} художник)

This painting has none of the qualities of that group of artists' works. Quite apart from the obvious stylistic differences between their ultra-realistic depictions of Russian peasant and rural scenes, compared to the almost naive style shown here, Orlov's signature does not match the one on this painting (see attached composite).

It should also be noted that, in printed references to Orlov, neither the Russian hard sign of "Ъ", as is featured in this painting's signature (but which has been incorrectly identified by Art UK above as a soft sign), nor the Russian soft sign of "Ь" appears after his name:

Additionally, in all of the signatures for Orlov that I have seen online, he has a distinctive half-serif protruding horizontally to the left from the top of the left-side upright of the initial H. (N in English) of his first name, as well as an arching half-serf protruding from the bottom of the right-side upright of that same letter (see attached). Neither of these is present in this painting's signature.

Accepting that signatures do change over long periods of time, these differences are sufficient to cause some doubt as to whether this work is by Orlov.

Kieran Owens,

Sorry Jacinto, I have just seen your correction after my latest post refreshed the page.

Jacinto Regalado,

Was the c. 1915 exhibition in Perth covered in the local press?

Kieran Owens,

I could not find any reference to it, either by artist's name of by way of any Russian art theme, if such was the nature of the show.

Jacinto Regalado,

Unless the artist lived in Perth, or at least in Scotland, it seems a rather unlikely place to have an exhibition at that time.

Wendy Howard,

Name: Nicholas Vasilievitch Orloff
Death Date: 17 Dec 1915
Cemetery: Brompton Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place: West Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England

Wendy Howard,

The above person was a professor at Kings College and reader at the Russian Church in London, but although the name is the same I think the birth dates differ.

The Collection's technician has had a a look at the back of the painting and confirmed there are no labels or inscriptions. The Collection have not yet located more details about the ?1915 exhibition in the files, but will continue to look.