1 December 2011
OKLADS STAMPED WITH MAKER'S MARKS OF PETR MILYUKOV (?) IN CYRILLIC, MOSCOW, 1896, 84 STANDARD
31.5 by 27.5 cm.
The two paired icons are a fine and characteristic example of the “domestic piety” amongst the Old Believer merchant community in Moscow. Such images — expensive in every sense of the word — would bless the newlyweds, see men off to the battle field or be given as presents on special occasions. Such icons would usually be found in a household chapel and would prayerfully protect their owners throughout their lives.
In the decoration of the oklads, the master craftsman combined diverse techniques and materials. The smooth, polished backgrounds and chased geometric borders harmonise with the vibrant halos and corner pieces in their predominantly light and dark blue shades.
The pearl and bead embroidery of the robes is especially decorative. The mass of the vestment is a pale yellow, lustrous beadwork, which forms an effective background to display the brilliant white freshwater pearls, skilfully threaded in geometric patterns and ornamental plant motifs.
On the borders of the Mother of God of Kazan icon are depictions of a Guardian Angel and St Anna, the Prophetess. The latter probably echoed the baptismal name of the lady who commissioned the icons or to whom they were given.
Thus, the paired icons of the Mother of God of Kazan and Saint Nicholas the Miracle Worker represent a magnificent example of the expensive icons commissioned by the Russian merchant class from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The perfect state of preservation and absence of later interventions and renovations make these icons especially valuable.
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.