SUBALBUM:  Praskovia Shermeteva

According to her Wikipedia article, Praskovia Kovalyova-Zhemchugova was born a serf, daughter of Ivan Gorbunov (a.k.a. Kovalyov), and she also had a beautiful voice. She debuted in 1779 on the stage of the serf theatre at Kuskovo set up by the Pyotr and Nikolaai of the prominent Sheremetev family. She became Nikolai’s mistress in the 1780s and Nikolai and Praskovia married in Moscow in the strictest secrecy in 1801. At the height of the theatre's flowering in the late 1790s Praskovia became ill, possibly with consumption (tuberculosis), and was forced to retire.

Within months of their wedding Praskovia became pregnant. On 3 February 1803 she gave birth to a son, Dmitry, but pregnancy and childbirth destroyed her poor health and she died on 23 February at the Sheremetev palace in St. Petersburg.

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