Lot 191
  • 191

A Large and Unusual Russian Silver and Enamel Horse-Headed Presentation Kovsh, Grachev Brothers, St. Petersburg, circa 1900

50,000 - 70,000 USD
110,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • the interior inscribed Presented to Sir Arthur and Lady Nicolson by the British community at St. Petersburg on the occasion of their Excellencies departure from Russia 30th July 12th August 1910.
  • Silver, enamel
of traditional form, the prow cast and chased with a stylized horse head with curling mane and forelock and richly decorated bridle, the rim and body decorated with stylized, scrolling flowers and foliage in blue, turquoise, green, red and white against a stippled ground, the flat, shaped handle with conforming decoration and a vacant cartouche, set on an oval foot


For a similar kovsh with a cockerel head by the Grachev Brothers, see The Chen Collection, Part 1, Lyon & Turnbull, London, November 23, 2008, lot 9.

Catalogue Note

Sir Arthur Nicolson, 1st Baron Carnock (1849–1928) spent four years in St. Petersburg as the British ambassador, during which he helped to negotiate the Anglo-Russian Convention and helped to turn Russian from a long-standing rival of Great Britain to an ally. His son Harold Nicolson, in his biography of his father, recalled that his parents "became extremely popular in Russia ... [because] the Ambassador displayed such evident liking for them all."  His affection for the Russian people made this very lavish gift in a traditional style an appropriate gift for the departing ambassadorial couple.