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.