• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7608

    Important European Furniture and Sculpture

    10 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 132

    A PAIR OF RUSSIAN MALACHITE-VENEERED VASES

    FIRST HALF 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF RUSSIAN MALACHITE-VENEERED VASES
    FIRST HALF 19TH CENTURY
    Each with tapering ovoid body surmounted by a waisted neck and outscrolled rim, above a waisted socle and circular spreading foot with square stepped plinth, previously mounted as lamps
    22½ in. (57 cm.) high (2)


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    The Russian vogue for stone-cutting led to the creation of some of the most beautiful objets d'art, most famously those in malachite. Malachite, a stalagmitic form of copper carbonate, was sawn into very thin slices and then applied to a stone or metal ground, with the veins being laid to form pleasing patterns, and then highly polished with the joins barely visible.

    This pair of spectacular vases relates to designs by the celebrated architect and designer Andrei Voronikhin (1759-1814), who provided these for the Imperial Lapidary workshops at Peterhof. Peterhof, the oldest stone-cutting factory in Russia, is just a few miles from St. Petersburg, however the huge distances from the mines and quarries meant that it was soon joined by the new imperial factory at Ekaterinburg, in the heart of the Ural Mountains. A third, most famous factory, was later founded in Kolyvan, western Siberia, which specialised in colossal pieces made from the stones extracted from the Altai Mountains.

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