PROPERTY FROM A GERMAN PRINCELY FAMILY
period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), dated 1841
period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), dated 1841
each of campana form on circular spreading fluted foot and square ormolu socle, with moulded and gilded foliate calyx and reeded handles above wavy acanthus applied to the lower body, the central panel of each painted with a Dutch Old Master picture, one signed 'Stoletov' and dated 1841, the other signed 'P. Shchetinin' and dated 1841, further inscribed 'Du Iar din' (Dujardin), within leaf tip ciselé borders, the reverse of each with a gold diaper pattern of foliate scroll lozenges on white ground, with blue Imperial cipher of Nicholas I
Probably presented by Emperor Nicholas I to his daughter Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (1822-1892), later Queen of Württemburg, who married, in 1846, Crown Prince Charles Frederick, later King Charles I of Württemberg (1823-1891); otherwise possibly presented to King William I of Württemberg (1781-1864) or to his daughter, Princess Catherine of Württemberg (1821-1898), who married, in 1845, Prince Frederick of Württemberg (1808-1870)
King William II of Württemberg (1848-1921)
Princess Pauline of Württemberg (1877-1965)
Thence by descent
The keen interest of Emperor Nicholas I in the production of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory resulted in the highest artistic and technical achievements in the medium during his reign, culminating in the Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. The decision to add Limoges clay to the paste, despite Empress Elizabeth's proclamation a century earlier that Russian porcelain should be entirely "of Russian earth", in addition to advances in firing techniques and the development of new paints, contributed greatly to the success of Imperial porcelain, in particular large-scale vases. The present pair, having been preserved in the Collection of a princely family in Germany, is appearing here on the market for the first time in their history.
Each of these magnificent Imperial porcelain vases is painted after a landscape by the Dutch artist Karel Dujardin (1622-1678) which was purchased by Empress Catherine II. The first, Crossing the Stream, is here reproduced by the porcelain painter Peter Nilovich Shchetinin and dated 1841; the original painting once hung at Tsarskoye Selo and is still in the Collection of the Hermitage Museum today. The second vase is painted with Return from the Hunt by either Vasili Stoletov or P. Stoletov and dated 1841; this Dujardin painting has been lost but has been faithfully and skilfully rendered here. The paintings are typical of Dujardin's work, showing serene peasants and animals in a vaguely Italianate landscape.
The painter Shchetinin was born in 1806, the son of another Imperial Porcelain painter. In the 1820s and 30s, he painted military plates; he seems to have been promoted to larger works by 1835, when he reproduced two pictures by Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem (1620-1683) with whom, coincidentally, Dujardin trained. This pair was presented to Emperor Nicholas I as a New Year's gift in 1836 and is today on display in the Fieldmarshal Room in the Winter Palace. Thus Shchetinin's specialization in landscape painting had been established by the time he painted Crossing the Stream on the present vase in 1841.
The signature 'Stoletov' may refer to either Vasili Alexandrovich Stoletov, born 1802, or P. Stoletov, both highly-regarded porcelain painters at the Imperial factory. V.A. was almost certainly the son or grandson of Imperial porcelain sculptor Alexander Stoletov, who was born circa 1762; P.'s relationship is less clear. It seems the former was more specialised in figures, the latter in landscapes. Thus a tentative attribution could be made in this case to P. Stoletov, who is known to have painted, in 1848, a pair of vases with pictures by the Dutch landscape artist Jacob van Ruisdael (c.1628-1682). P. Stoletov is also credited with painting the dramatic seascapes on a pair of vases now in the Russian Museum, St Petersburg, and which are dated 1840 and of campana form, illustrated, A. Lanceray, Russian Porcelain, 1968, pl. 162-163. Shchetinin and one of the Stoletovs collaborated on a pair of vases of identical form to the present lot (and also with white-ground decoration to the backs) in 1840, each reproducing a landscape by Jan Both (1610-1651); see Christie's London, 12 June 1997, lot 89. It is possible that the Stotetovs, probably brothers, worked in collaboration on the same painting, each responsible for his own specialty, figures or landscapes, and thus did not distinguish themselves one from another by signing with their first initials.
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