Lot 19
  • 19

Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna: A Presentation Gilded Silver and Enamel Bread and Salt Dish, Lyubavin, St. Petersburg, circa 1902

80,000 - 120,000 USD
80,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • with French import mark
  • Gilded silver, enamel
the bread and salt dish with shaped borders and with pierced, scrolling ornament on the outer rim, the rim also set with twelve gilded silver plaques, of which eight are decorated with brightly colored floral ornament in cloisonné enamel against a stippled gilt ground, the plaques at center left and right with the applied Cyrillic date "16th August" and "1902," the plaque at the top with the cypher of Empress Catherine I against strawberry red enamel over a guilloché ground and set beneath the Imperial crown, the plaque at bottom with the coat of arms of the Russian city of Tsarskoe Selo in blue and black on a ground of strawberry red enamel over a guilloché ground, the center applied with the chased Cyrillic initials N and E beneath a crown and the Cyrillic inscription "From the Citizens of the Town of Tsarskoe Selo"

Catalogue Note

This grand presentation bread and salt dish was given on the occasion of the marriage of Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna (1882-1957), cousin of Emperor Nicholas II and daughter of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, to Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark (1872-1938) in 1902. Elena was a great beauty; Felix Yusupov recalled that "she had the loveliest eyes imaginable and everyone fell under their charm." As the only daughter of a very wealthy couple, Elena was initially engaged to Prince Maximilian of Baden, who backed out of the engagement and caused Grand Duchess Elena and her family great embarrassment. When she met the dashing and athletic Prince Nicholas in 1900 her parents were initially opposed to the match. Nicholas as the third son (his brother Constantine was King of the Hellenes from 1913 to 1917) had little hope of an important title and the fortune that would accompany it. Nevertheless, the couple were finally permitted to marry in 1902 in a grand ceremony at Tsarskoe Selo, the town that was home to many Imperial palaces and in which the Grand Duchess had been born. Prince Christopher of Greece remembered that the weight of her jewels and a dress made of cloth of silver was so heavy that "it was almost impossible for her to move in it and, when she knelt at the altar, she was literally anchored to the floor and had to be lifted to her feet by the groomsmen." The marriage was reported to be a very happy one, although the young couple had to endure the untimely deaths of many family members and long years of exile. The couple had three daughters, all of whom shared their mother's good looks. Princess Marina, the youngest, went on to marry George, Duke of Kent. Prince Nicholas and Princess Elena spent their last years in exile in Paris, where Nicholas occupied himself as a painter and Elena worked for various children's charities.