The Imperial Porcelain Factory

established 1744
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About The Imperial Porcelain Factory

The Imperial Porcelain factory was founded in Saint Petersburg in 1744, during the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, when the engineer and chemist Dmitry Vinogradov perfected the first formula for Russian porcelain. The first objects produced were small snuffboxes, brooches and buttons, but very quickly the production grew to accommodate the demands of fashionable society.

Flourishing during the time of Catherine the Great, the factory became one of the leading porcelain producers in Europe. During this time, porcelain pieces became firmly established as works of art on par with paintings and sculpture. Great dinner services, vases and figurines decorated the homes of wealthy cultured nobility and those who could afford to emulate them.

The 19th century saw further expansion and experimentation with form and style. The Imperial patrons spared no expense to invite the best specialists from competing European factories and universities to ensure the highest quality of production.

A favoured decorative theme was of course the praising of the Imperial rule, but the porcelain also reflected the fashions and achievements of society and country as a whole. Military porcelain plates would praise soldiers, officers and their regiments; monumental vases would be painted with copies of the best masterpieces from the Hermitage collection; porcelain figures celebrated the variety of peoples and traditional costumes of the vast Russian Empire.

The quality of the Imperial porcelain production was renowned in Europe and the factory received medals at a variety of prestigious international exhibitions, including those in London and Paris.

After the Revolution of 1917, the factory became nationalised and renamed into State and then Lomonosov porcelain factory, drastically changing direction and now promoting the themes and values of the new Soviet state.

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