These monumental vases, 4.4-feet-tall and dating back to 1832, are surely among the most beautiful pieces of Russian porcelain presented on the market in recent years. The estimated worth is $1.5–2.5 million for each vase.
Ekaterina Khmelnitskaya is the curator of the porcelain department at the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and the expert charged with the authentication of these pieces. “The discovery of these vases is a real event. They mark the golden age of Russian porcelain production during the reign of Nicholas I, and the quality of their execution is exceptional,” says Khmelnitskaya.
During the 19th century, monumental vases like these were created to decorate the vast Imperial palaces and residences. They were often commissioned by the emperor himself, who presented them to royal families or to foreign diplomats. Made in the classical style, their bellies portray reproductions of paintings by Dutch masters from the Hermitage’s collections. “These remarkable paintings are signed M. Golov and M. Meschcheniakov — undeniably the best copy-makers onto porcelain of that time,” Khmelnitskaya says. “And what a surprise to find these treasures of the czar in the middle of the Far West!”
The vases were bought from a Munich gallery in the mid-1920s by Frank Buttram. At the time, Buttram was an oil magnate, philanthropist and art enthusiast from Oklahoma traveling through Europe. Probably, then, the vases are among the countless Imperial riches scattered by the Communists upon their arrival to power.
After nearly a century in the family collection, the vases are finally to be presented to the public and will be put up for sale on Apr. 17 at the Dallas Auction Gallery. Buttram’s descendants have expressed the wish to see the vases return to their country of origin.
© Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 14 February, 2013
The vast trove of Imperial treasures found in the former Naryshkin-Trubetskoy Mansion in St. Petersburg earlier this year will be divided between two museums.
One half will go to the Konstantin Palace at Strelna, while the other half will go to Pavlovsk Palace-Museum. It is not known at this time exactly what items each museum will receive, but Pavlovsk have already announced plans to create an exhibition once they have been received and catalogued their share.
Restoration work was being carried out at the former Naryshkin-Trubetskoy mansion at 29 Tchaikovsky Street (the same street that housed the former palace of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna) when a secret room was discovered. The room measuring about 5 square meters contained an enormous treasure of more than 2,000 items that had sat hidden since before the Russian Revolution.
For more information, including photographs and a video of the treasure, please refer to the following links at Royal Russia News:
||| Tsarist-Era Treasures Found in 18th-century St Petersburg Mansion includes more than 50 colour photos! |||
||| Tsarist-Era Treasures Found in 18th-Century St Petersburg Mansion includes 16 minute video|||
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 November, 2012
Photo Credit: Christie's
On 29 November 2012, Christie’s (London) will have the great privilege of offering for sale the largest group of Russian books and manuscripts with noble provenance to come to auction in decades: the collections of Emperors Paul I, Alexander I, Alexander II, Alexander III, Nicholas I, Nicholas II, Empress Elizabeth, and numerous Grand Dukes and Duchesses are all represented. The fate of books from the Russian palaces mirrors that of the palaces themselves: war and revolution took their brutal toll. Material with imperial provenance of the quality and importance represented in this collection is seldom offered for sale, and hardly ever in quantity. It would be virtually impossible to form another of this scope and caliber today. Highlights include The Coronation Album of Alexander III (estimate: £70,000 – 100,000, illustrated above) and a unique album of drawings of the coats-of-arms of members of the court of the future Emperor Paul (1796-1801), son of Catherine the Great (estimate: £150,000 – 200,000).
The books and manuscripts offered in this collection come from one of the most important philanthropists and collectors of the 19th century, J. Pierpoint Morgan (1837-1913).
© Christie's London. 28 October, 2012
Sotheby's London will offer an important Imperial Silver-Gilt and Cloisonne Enamel Icon of Christ Pantocrator, (Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1884) – commemorating the miraculous survival of Emperor Alexander III and his family when the Imperial train derailed disastrously near Borki in 1888. Twenty-one members of the Imperial retinue died and in the richly-appointed dining car, the Emperor’s dog Kamchatka was killed instantly at his master’s feet. The Emperor, who held up the collapsing roof of the car to allow his family to escape, was later presented with this Icon by his elite guards. Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna recalled the terrible scene of the aftermath in her memoirs: “I found myself at the bottom of a steep slope which the carriage had rolled down. I got up onto my feet and looked back. I saw bleeding people tumbling and falling down after me … It was dreadful … I thought all my loved ones had been killed.” In both state decrees and church sermons this event was presented as proof of God’s divine intervention. Inscribed ‘[From the] Guards [to] Their Imperial Majesties’ and ‘On the Occasion of the Miraculous Rescue during the Imperial Train’s Accident’, the Icon speaks potently of devotion and of the bond between Tsar and people.
Hung in the chapel at Gatchina – the Emperor’s favourite imperial residence – the icon was kept as an important family relic of deep personal significance. Exquisitely enamelled with floral detailing, this rare and richly historical work displays the most filigree craftsmanship and is saturated in Romanov history. After the Revolution this powerfully emotive Icon was believed to be among many of the Imperial family’s belongings that were dispersed on the European antiquarian market. The sale will take place at Sotheby's in London on November 28th, and carries an estimate of £180,000-250,000.
© Sotheby's and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 October, 2012
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presented President Vladimir Putin with a rare book to mark the Russian president's 60th birthday on October 7th.
The book, Tsarskoye Selo During the Reign of Empress Elizabeth was written by Alexander Benois, and published in 1910. No reprint of this book has been produced since.
In his book, Benois recreates the story behind the construction and development of Tsarskoye Selo during the and reign of the daughter of Peter the Great, who ruled Russia from 1741-1762.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 October, 2012
Part of a 19th Century banquet service that once belonged to Emperor Alexander III of Russia—is set to come under the hammer at West Midlands’ auction house Cuttlestones on Friday 14th September 2012.
All matching, the twelve pieces comprise six soup bowls and six plates that were made at, and carry the marks of, the Imperial Porcelain factory in St Petersburg. The delicate design combines scalloped edges with gilt decoration; each piece emblazoned with the cipher of Alexander III beneath the Imperial crown. In exceptional condition, carrying no cracks or chips and with just minor rubbing to the gilt, these are a very special find – as Adrian Simmons, specialist ceramics valuer at Cuttlestones, explains:
“These are an unusual offering of pre-revolutionary Russian porcelain, and have a cast iron Royal connection. It is very rare for matching groups to come onto the market, normally just odd ones and pairs appear.
© Cuttlestones. 16 July, 2012
Estate Auctions Inc. is offering a rare opportunity to own a unique and very hard to find Kremlin Service Plate. "We continue to be astonished at the rare unique items that come through our doors. Our clients appreciate the out of the ordinary and quirky items and this plate certainly falls into that category." says Norb Novocin, Owner of Estate Auctions Inc. of Delaware.
After much research Mr. Novocin discovered that a set of 12 plates, which matches this single plate currently listed on eBay, sold at Sotheby's in 2004 for $78,000. Again in 2008, a set of 6 sold for $34,000. A single plate available outside of a high end auction house is very rare but for the opening bid to be less than a dollar... you may never see that again.
The plate is from a service that was commissioned for use in the Great Kremlin Palace, the official Moscow residence for the Imperial family, when the process of renovating, and ultimately rebuilding, the palace began in 1837. The task of designing the new service fell to the talented student and future professor of the Academy of Arts Fedor Solntsev, who had been studying and recording Russian antiquities. He drew upon 17th century metalwork as a model; in the case of this plate, the source was a sumptuous gold plate made for Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich by masters of the Moscow Kremlin Armory in 1667. See Tamara Kudriavtseva, Russian Imperial Porcelain, St. Petersburg, 2003, pp. 130-132.
The auction closes Monday, June 18th at approximately 10:00 PM EST. Interest in this rare and historic plate continues to increase as the closing draws near.
© SFGate. 17 June, 2012
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