The present lot formed part of a service given by Frederick the Great to Catherine II during her first war with the Ottoman Empire (1768-1774). The war had greatly increased Russian power and influence in Crimea and the Black Sea and Prussia would have been acutely aware of the growing strength of the Russian Empire along Europe’s eastern and southern border and the potential threat to peace in Europe.
Frederick and Catherine appear to have been well disposed to each other in marked contrast to the relationship between Frederick and Catherine’s mother -in-law, Empress Elizabeth. The commissioning of a service followed the gift of a black fox fur to Frederick from the Tzarina. The service included a large and ornate figural centrepiece showing the enthroned Catherine receiving homage from her vanquished enemies.
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