318. A Porcelain Dessert Plate from the Kremlin Service
IMPERIAL PORCELAIN MANUFACTORY, PERIOD OF NICHOLAS I (1825–1855), 1830s
Diameter 21.5 cm.
Related literature: For similar works, see V.V. Znamenov (ed.), Imperatorskiy farforovyi zavod. 1744–1904, St Petersburg, Global View, 2008, p. 422.
Circular, the centre painted with a black Imperial eagle against the green background, framed within a gilt band with an inscription in Cyrillic “Nikolay imperator i samoderzhec vserossiyskiy”, further framed within a gilt garland of stylised rhombuses centred with red rosettes against a white background with fir-tree branches, within gilt and blue rims, the border decorated with green and blue flowers and foliage against a gilt ground, with blue Imperial cipher for Nicholas I, further impressed number ‘3’ and numbered ‘90’ in gold.
The plates belong to one of the most well known and richly decorated services made by the Imperial Porcelain
Manufactory in St Petersburg. Commissioned by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837, the service was to be used for state banquets
and reflect the Imperial glory of the Emperor’s court. It was probably a conscious choice rather than a purely
decorative decision to use the evocative traditional Russian motifs to commemorate the reign of Nicholas I.
Fedor Solntsev, a graduate of the Academy of Arts and author of the main design concept was not only a prominent
artist but also a keen researcher of old Russian art, an author of the unique edition “Antiquities of the Russian
State”. Naturally, his inspiration was largely drawn from the Byzantine artefacts that belonged to the Kremlin
The design of the Kremlin service dessert plates complements the general artistic decision but also carries different
decorative elements, such as the Russian double-headed eagles surrounded by inscriptions in Old Russian
glorifying 'Nicholas, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians’.