This tazza is a very fine example of Russian craftsmanship and displays the artisans' great skill at cutting and polishing rare stones and marbles. The Russians were aided by the discoveries of rich deposits of semi-precious stones in the Urals and further east in Siberia. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, blocks of Korgon, porphyry, rhodonite, Kalgan and Aushkul jasper and Nevianok marble were quarried and sent to St. Petersburg to be cut and polished into objects.
The Imperial government established the first factory at Peterhof in the late eighteenth century, probably employing Italian craftsmen. Subsequently, the administration set up further factories at Ekaterinburg and Kolyvan in the Urals where the locally trained stone cutters could work larger pieces of stone. These were active through the third quarter of the nineteenth century, see Antoine Cheneviere, Russian Furniture: the Golden Age, 1780-1840, New York, 1988, p. 263, fig. 286. A pair of smaller and less elaborately carved but comparable tazze from the Collection of Suzanne Saperstein was sold Sotheby's New York, April 19, 2012, lot 17 ($290,500).
Vasily Mostovenko became general manager of the Factory in 1885 at the age of thirty-six and is credited with reviving the fortunes of the Manufactory.