Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 338. A monumental porcelain vase, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1857.

A monumental porcelain vase, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1857

Auction Closed

June 4, 04:28 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Lot Details


A monumental porcelain vase, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1857

of bandeau form with cylindrical neck and flared foot, on a square gilt-bronze base, the central register painted in

imitation of diamond bugnato, with a rounded arch framing a panel based on the Childhood of the Virgin by Francisco

de Zurbarán, (1658-1660 in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) inscribed on the lower left 'After the picture by

Zurbarán' and lower right 'E. Daladugin 1857', the reverse panel painted with gold stylised branches interlocking a

cream flower garland with five putti heads, the lower register gilded and decorated with bas-relief flowers and foliage,

the scroll handles issuing from acanthus leaves and terminating in flower finials, apparently unmarked

height 101.6cm, 40in.

Emblematic of the excellency of the Imperial Porcelain Factory's production, this sumptuous vase is one the last pieces created in the lavish style popularised during the reign of Nicholas I. The beginning of the 19th century saw the expansion of new technical and artistic achievements in painting and form at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, which reached their peak in the late eighteen fifties, when this vase was created.

During this time, large and exceptionally crafted vases such as the present lot were commissioned as diplomatic gifts or as presents to be given within the Imperial family on special occasions. One of the favoured traditions of this period was the incorporation of copied canvases in the porcelain design, together with elements borrowed from architecture and decor of the era. Vases were particularly popular both in the Medici and the bandeau form, with a large central area of the body that allowed them to be treated as a canvas – something that factory artists enthusiastically took advantage of to display their work. When decorating vases such as this one, the accomplished master craftsmen from the Imperial Porcelain Factory would seek inspiration among the rich plethora of paintings and decorative arts in the Hermitage Museum. Spanish, Dutch and Italian Old Masters were then transposed on porcelain with the utmost virtuosity, demonstrating the unrivalled level of skill acquired by porcelain painters during this time. 

This vase exemplifies the final peak of the classical grand traditions in Imperial porcelain. After the ascension of Alexander II to the throne, the commission of large porcelain pieces dwindled, and the personal tastes of Empress Maria Alexandrovna shifted the porcelain trends into new directions. And even though the second half of the 19th century saw the production of new original forms and designs, very few of them matched the splendour and the scale of the style of earlier periods, so characteristically illustrated in the design and execution of the present lot.