5 June 2019 Important Russian Art Auctions, at Asia House

5 June 2019

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

A Rare Pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases


A Rare Pair of Imperial Porcelain Vases


Height 31 cm (each).

Of crater form, the bodies finely painted with garlands of flowers on mushroom coloured ground, the flared shaped rim and foot moulded with acanthus leaf ornament and gilded, the lower body with a knot braided gilt border on a cobalt blue ground, flanked by two square handles with ribbon-tied acorn garlands, on a raised circular foot, the reverse with green Imperial cyphers for Alexander II, one with incised initials “MD”.

Provenance: Important private collection, Europe.

The present pair of vases belongs to a group of objects made at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, which share a very particular form and flower decoration that distinguish it from other Imperial porcelain made during the reign of Alexander II. The squarish variation of the traditional campana form was modelled by August Spiess (1817–1904).

For almost half a century starting from 1849, Spiess was the chief modeller at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, and his unique artistic vision and leadership was at the heart of the success of Russian porcelain during this period. He designed a variety of large vases, sculptures, candelabra and furniture which were mostly commissioned by the Emperor Alexander II and the Empress Maria Aleksandrovna. Examples of his oeuvre can be seen in the collections of the State Hermitage Museum, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St Petersburg, as well as in distinguished private collections around the world.

Masterfully executed painted decoration of the vases can be attributed to a new generation of porcelain painters who came to prominence in the 1860s–1870s and gradually replaced the masters of the Nicholas I era. The Factory workshops were filled with young artists working in different genres, including the celebrated “flower painters” K. and F. Krasovsky, F. Lapshin, A. Morozov, A. Midin, G. Pishchulin and T. Spiridonov. During this period the focus was mainly on painting porcelain services, vases and plates, of which the present lot is a particularly fine example.

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.