Letters found in the archives of the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow between Tolstoy and Troubetzkoy detail a request from the sculptor to make an equestrian portrait of Tolstoy: 'Dear Count, I know from the Countess that you are very busy at the moment feeding the hungry. I do not wish to disturb you, but if you would still be inclined to pose for a statue on horseback, I would be very grateful.' (Exhibition catalogue, Paolo Troubetzkoy 1866-1938, Museo del Paesaggio, Verbania, 29 April-29 July 1990, p. 141).
Further letters found in the Moscow archives detail Troubetzkoy's lifelong admiration for Tolstoy, which led to another meeting between the two in 1910. Again Troubetzkoy sculpted a few variations of the author on horseback. The present model is one of Troubetzkoy's early portraits of Tolstoy.
For comparable bronze and plaster models, see Exhibition catalogue, Paolo Troubetzkoy 1866-1938, Museo del Paesaggio, Verbania, 29 April-29 July 1990, pp. 140-141, nos. 78, 79. A comparable bronze was sold Christie's, London, 28 May 2012, lot 309.