5 June 2019
A Porcelain Dessert Plate from the Dowry Service of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna
IMPERIAL PORCELAIN MANUFACTORY, PERIOD OF NICHOLAS I (1825–1855), 1844
Diameter 23.5 cm.
Circular, with scalloped gilt rim, the cavetto painted with depiction of Fanny Elssler (1810–1884), an Austrian ballerina, as Florinda in the dance La Cachucha from the 1836 ballet Le Diable boiteux within gilt band, the border decorated with gilt foliate scrollwork on a cream ground, the reverse signed “V Elashevskoi”, with a blue Imperial cypher for Nicholas I and dated 1844.
Provenance: The offered plates were part of an extensive dowry of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (1825–1844) for her wedding in 1844 to Frederick William, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1820–1884).
Collection of Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel after Alexandra’s death.
Collection of Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel (1823– 1899), sister of Prince Frederick William.
Collection of Vilhelm Carl, Baron von Blixen-Finecke (1863–1942), son of Princess Augusta.
Thence by descent.
International Autumn Sale, Bukowski, Stockholm, 29 November 2007, lots 1151–1180.
Important private collection, Europe.
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna was the fourth child of Nicholas I and Alexandra Feodorovna and the first wife of Prince Frederick William of Hesse-Kassel. She was born in Tsarskoye Selo in 1825 and was affectionally known as “Adini”. Prince Frederick and Adini fell in love during his visit to St Petersburg in winter of 1843 and their engagement was announced on 28 June 1843. Unfortunately, Adini became ill with tuberculosis before her wedding and passed away shortly afterwards never having left Russia for her new home. At the insistence of the Emperor Nicholas I and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the Dowry, which had already been shipped to Grand Duchy of Hesse, remained there at the disposal of the Prince.
Related literature: For plates from the same service, see exhibition catalogue, St. Petersburg um 1800. Ein goldenes Zeitalter des russischen Zarenreichs. Meisterwerke und authentische Zeugnisse der Zeit aus der Staatlichen Ermitage, Leningrad, Recklingshausen, Aurel Bongers Verlag, 1990, p. 160.
Sankt-Peterburg. Portret goroda i gorozhan, St Petersburg, Palace Editions, 2003, p. 86, Nos. 138 and 140.
A situation similar to that of the topographical designs occurred with the plates to be decorated with costumes. The original commission specified Russian costumes, but unfortunately the Manufactory did not have any originals to copy and “none could be acquired by purchase.” So the decision was made to use other materials for copying, including illustrations from popular magazines. This announcement of the absence of the views of St. Petersburg and traditional costumes in the Manufactory is not surprising. Since the beginning of the 19th century, both have been among the most popular motifs for porcelain painting and the templates for them were in great demand.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.