A Russian Porcelain Dinner Plate from the Service for the Imperial Order of St. George, Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St. Petersburg, Period of Nicholas II (1894-1917), dated 1896
- with green Imperial cypher of Nicholas II
The Service for the Knights of the Order of St. George was completed first and included eighty covers. Its earliest use was at the celebration of the order's feast day on November 26, 1778 and it continued to be used yearly thereafter. Catherine II had founded this order recognizing military feats in 1769 and the first recipients included many outstanding military leaders who had distinguished themselves in the Russo-Turkish Wars of 1768-1774 such as Field Marshall Petr Rumiantsev (1725-1796), Count Alexei Orlov (1737-1808), General Petr Panin (1721-1789), Prince Vasilii Dolgorukov (1722-1782), and Count Grigory Potemkin (1739-1791). Considering the role the elite military units had played in determining who sat on the Russian throne, Catherine was wise to honor her military commanders first.