octoganal, with glass panels, the ormolu mounts applied with biscuit porcelain flowers
Lanterns adorned with porcelain flowers or 'garden motifs' were popular in France in the 1740s, but only appeared in Russia in the early 1760s when Catherine the Great began to import them. An invoice from 15 August 1765 from the French merchant François Rembert records two large copper lanterns purchased for the Oranienbaum Palace apartments 'with a crown and specially designed framework, decorated with garlands of foliage and flowers of Sèvres porcelain and each with a candle holder. Total paid - 500 gilded copper coins'. On 19 October 1766 another two large lanterns with porcelain flowers were bought from Friederich Wilhelm Poggenpohl for the Imperial Court at 325 silver rubles each.
Lanterns of this type were produced in a number of variations, most commonly incorporating pavilions, cages with porcelain birds and baskets of flowers, however the extravagant decoration of the present lot make it an exceptionally rare example. As with all gilt-bronze objects manufactured in France between 1745 and 1769, it is marked with a C under a crown to indicate payment of the tax on gilt bronze.
Igor Sychov believes the offered lot originally hung with its pendant in the unlit or so-called 'Dark' corridors near the Merchant's staircase in the Grand Palace in Peterhof from the late 19th century until the mid 1920s, when many of the artefacts in the Imperial Palaces were sent to the State Museum storage facilities in Leningrad. In 1929 the lantern was given to 'Antikvariat', a state-run company which exported artefacts abroad and later in that year sold at the Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus together with other artefacts from the Imperial Summer Palaces.
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