Lot 482
  • 482

A large silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel three-handled cup, Feodor Rückert, retailed by Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1899-1908

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
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  • silver, enamel
  • height 27.5cm, 10 3/4 in.
the raised flared bowl divided into three panels, each centred with a roundel painted with figures depicted in Konstantin Makovsky's A Boyar Wedding Feast (1883): the reluctant bride and patient groom, the bearded elderly guest offering a toast, and the female guest holding a kovsh, their clothes highlighted with gold foil, within red frames on grounds of shaded polychrome foliage on stippled surfaces, the borders of further flowerheads within blue leaf scrolls, the handles formed as dragon necks with flowers and scales, the bulbous feet painted with griffins, struck FR and P.Ovchinnikov in Cyrillic beneath the Imperial Warrant, 84 standard


Very good condition. Each handle with a small hole drilled in the top, into which the three associated gilt double headed eagle mounts can be fitted. The handles with residue at the bottom where they meet the body, possibly having been strengthened with glue. Five of the 'eyes' of the snakes forming the handles with restoration to the white enamel and also possibly re-attached. Very small shallow chips and losses to the enamel around the protruding beads at the top of the feet. A small section of the red enamel border of the roundel showing the father worn to reveal the yellow underlayer.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Such was the popularity of Makovsky's A Boyar Wedding Feast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that it was employed as a source for decoration by all the best-known craftsman producing enamel at the time, including Ovchinnikov, Rückert, Kurlyukov, Cheryatov and Khlebnikov.  During these turbulent decades in Russia, with society and its customs changing so rapidly, the painting succeeded by evoking the romance and innocence of an age long since lost.  Following exhibitions in St Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, London and Amsterdam, the picture won the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle d'Anvers in 1885, the same year it sold at auction to American jeweller and collector Charles William Schumann, who purportedly outbid Emperor Alexander III.  It later passed through a number of hands before Marjorie Merriweather Post purchased it in 1968; today the iconic painting remains a highlight of the collection at Hillwood Museum (cat. no. 51.79).   

Feodor Rückert seems to have been especially inspired by Makovsky’s picture, or perhaps he was especially shrewd in responding to consumer tastes.  He reproduced the work in whole on numerous objects retailed by Ovchinnikov, Fabergé and by Rückert himself.  For example, see the Rückert/Ovchinnikov kovsh which sold, Sotheby’s New York, 4 November 2010, lot 17, decorated with a loose interpretation of Makovsky’s work; the two-handled tray depicting the entire composition, Sotheby's, New York, April 26, 2006, lot 279; the casket, formerly in the Greenfield Collection, which sold, Christie’s New York, 20 October 1998, lot 184; and another casket, the lid painted en plein, which sold Sotheby’s New York, 30 April 2003, lot 75.  On other objects, as with the present lot, he focuses on various figures in the painting, usually the bride and groom, suggesting that these were intended as wedding or anniversary gifts.