Alexei Harlamoff was born in Saratov, in Russia, in 1849.
He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, where he won a gold medal and a travel scholarship in 1868. With the money, he travelled to Paris, where he worked with the great portrait painter and teacher at the École des Beaux-Arts, Leon Bonnet.
At the start of his career, he painted mainly religious, military and genre subjects, but he was asked to paint an increasing number of portraits, including one of Tsar Alexander II. However, his favourite subjects were informal portraits of peasant girls, painted for their beauty and innocence rather than their fame.
Harlamoffs work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1886 and he died in 1905.