• Galerie Popoff: An Enduring Pa auction at Christies

    Sale 7677

    Galerie Popoff: An Enduring Passion for Russian Art

    12 - 13 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 382

    A tapestry panel portrait of Catherine the Great


    Price Realised  


    A tapestry panel portrait of Catherine the Great
    by the St Petersburg Tapestry Factory, circa 1766
    Woven in wool, silks and silver thread, the Empress depicted in profile to the right, after P. Rotari, wearing fur-trimmed coat, with a star of the Order of St Andrew, apparently unmarked
    21 3/8 x 18 3/8 in. (54.3 x 46.7 cm.) excluding frame

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    The St Petersburg tapestry factory, the only one of its kind in the whole of Russia, was founded by Peter the Great in 1716. He hired a number of French weavers, including Philip Bhagle (d. 1719), his son Jean Philippe (d. 1733), and the architect Jean Baptiste Le Blond. As a result of the low salaries and the difficult conditions however, most of the French artists left, with the exception of Bhagles and Jean Baptiste Bourdin (d. 1750). Conditions improved strongly when the Empress Anna Ivanovna took an interest in the factory in 1732. By this time the works were almost exclusively Russian. In an attempt to achieve the quality of Western manufactories, the factory began to create works inspired directly by those produced in Brussels and France. The factory reached its pinnacle in the second half of the 18th century, employing over 150 weavers.

    For a very similar oval tapestry of Catherine II by V. Firsov see: T. T. Korshunov, Russian Tapestry. Petersbourg tapestry Factory, Leningrad, 1975, plate 84.

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