Commissioned in 1893 for the palace at Tsarkoe Selo, the Raphael Service was the largest and most important service produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory during the reign of Alexander III (1881-1894). The designs were conceived from Raphael's frescoes in the loggias of the Vatican, which were subsequently reproduced in the Winter Palace by Quarenghi during the reign of Catherine the Great. The project was overseen by the chief of the workshop of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Leonard Schaufelberger and the designs were personally approved by Emperor Alexander III.
Finally completed in 1903, the service comprised fifty place settings. In 1904 it was transferred to the Anichkov Palace for use by the Empress Maria Feodorovna.
For plates from the same service see G. Agarkova and N. Petrovna, 250 Years of Lomonosov Porcelain Manufacture in St Petersburg, 1774-1994, Disentis, 1994. pp. 21, 59, 61, and 79; Anne Odom, Russian Imperial Porcelain at Hillwood, Washington D.C., 1999. pp. 92-93