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Russian porcelain - Imperial history

Russian Porcelain can, without fear of exaggeration, be placed on a level with such well-established phenomena and concepts in the history of world culture as Russian literature, Russian music and Russian painting. Only insufficient knowledge of it among specialists and lovers of porcelain abroad and the fact that it is concentrated in a few excellent private collection and hardly to be found at all in the museums of Western Europe and America can explain why it has still not received due recognition. Mikhail Vrubel, the famous Russian artist whose authority was undisputed among his contemporaries and has withstood the test of time, once said: "Russian porcelain is the best art of all". According to the painters in his circle, he got the same pleasure from porcelain produced by the private factories of Popov and Gardner as from the literature of Pushkin and Lermontov.

The year of the founding of Russia`s first porcelain manufactory, one of the oldest in Europe, 1744, is usually taken as marking the beginning of the history of Russian porcelain. In terms of status and artistic development the factory rated for more than a century-and-a-half with such leading royal and national manufactories, as those in Meissen, Vienna, Sevres and Berlin. In the 18th century all European monarchs dreamed of setting up their own porcelain factory. Elegant and rare as it was, porcelain was one of the attributes of a court`s brilliance and majesty. The organization of a porcelain manufactory in Russia was stimulated by reasons of an objective and subjective nature. They derived from the changeover to a European path of development begun by Peter the Great and from the fact that his daughter, Empress Elizabeth (1741-1761), had a private passion for porcelain. All possible paths were explored to obtain the secret of making porcelain. There were attempts to find people close to Bottger, the inventor of European porcelain, to use the experience of Russian Czhel pottery and to find out and purchase the `Chinese secret" in China itself. The empress was in a hurry. And official in charge of her cabinet sought by eliminating all rivals to set up porcelain production in St.-Petersburg.

The first large private enterprise, the Gardner factory just outside Moscow, appeared in 1766 and grew so fast that by the 1770s - 1780s it was capable of carrying out a large commission for four order services for court receptions in honour of people awarded Russia`s main orders - St. Andrew the First-Called, St. George, St. Alexander Nevsky and St. Vladimir.

External links


  • More

  • Bone Fine China
  • Russian porcelain factories marks and signs
  • Lomonosov porcelain - the porcelain of Czars.
  • Gardner (Verbilky) porcelain History
  • Questions and answers about Quality of items.
  • Lomonosov porcelain marks and signs
  • Gzhel Porcelain and pottery.
  • Russian porcelain history : Origins
  • M.V. Lomonosov and Lomonosov porcelain factory
  • Lomonosov porcelain founder - Dmitry Vinogradov
  • Lomonosov Porcelain
  • Konakovo Pottery
  • Russian Symbolics on a White and Blue Porcelain
  • Gzhel - location and history
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