• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7731

    Centuries of Style: Silver, European Ceramics, Portrait Miniatures and Gold Boxes

    2 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 125

    A SET OF TWELVE FRENCH EMPIRE SILVER-GILT DESSERT-PLATES FROM THE GRAND DUKE NICHOLAS PAVLOVICH SERVICE

    MARK OF MARTIN-GUILLAUME BIENNAIS, PARIS, 1809-1819

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SET OF TWELVE FRENCH EMPIRE SILVER-GILT DESSERT-PLATES FROM THE GRAND DUKE NICHOLAS PAVLOVICH SERVICE
    MARK OF MARTIN-GUILLAUME BIENNAIS, PARIS, 1809-1819
    Each circular with with a palmette border, engraved with initials below the Russian Imperial crown, marked underneath, further stamped 'BIENNAIS', together with twelve modern Portuguese side plates and five ashtrays to match
    9 5/8 in. (24.5 cm.) diam.
    the Biennais plates 223 oz. (6,935 gr.)
    The Portuguese plates and ashtrays 71 oz. (2,207 gr.)
    The initials are those of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich (1796-1855). (29)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich Service

    These plates form part of a service made for Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovitch, the third son of Emperor Paul I, who succeeded his brother Alexander I in 1826 as the Russian Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855).

    The service, which is either applied or engraved with the Cyrillic initials NP monogram for Grand Duke Nicholas, may have been produced at the time of his marriage in 1817 to Alexandra Feodorovna, daughter of Friedrick Wilhelm II, King of Prussia. A. E. Foelkersam's Inventaire de l'Argenterie Conservée dans les Gardes-Meubles des Palais Impéiaux, 1907, indicates the service included, in part, a samovar, three tea and coffee services, seven trays, four baskets, 96 teaspoons, 100 ice-cream spoons, in addition to the two liquor stands with four small bottles and 8 labels. Foelkersam illustrates the samovar, a tea service, bowl and basket from the service.

    The service, as with other important services of the day such as the Borghese and Branicki services (see lots 120-124), was ordered from the French court goldsmith, Martin-Guillaume Biennais, who also supplied the Grand Duke Nicholas' youngest brother Michael Pavlovich a massive dinner service. I. Foelkersam (op. cit.) records that Grand Duke Nicholas's service passed in October 1855 to his son, Alexander II. Foelkersam further notes that in 1907 the service was located at the Anichkov Palace, which served as the official residence of heirs to the throne. Grand Duke Nicholas lived there from 1817 until his accession, as did Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II. The Anichkov Palace was occupied by the mother of Nicholas II until the Revolution.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovitch (1796-1855), by descent to his son Alexander II in 1855, presumably remaining at the Anichkov Palace for the use of the heir apparent until the revolution in 1917.
    Presumably confiscated by the Soviet Government in the early 20th century.
    Acquired by the father of Simone de Borges, who married into the founding family of the Borges & Irmao Bank of Portugual, who commissioned the additional plates, and who in turn sold the service to the family of the current owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A SPANISH PRIVATE COLLECTION
    (LOTS 120-125)