The present lot is a reduction of the famous sculpture group Vityaz' on Patrol (Vityaz' v dozore) from the London Service of the Winter Palace. Produced by the firm of Sazikov in 1852, it was conceived as a table decoration with a later Rococo style silver base produced by workmaster Samuel Arndt for Nicholls & Plincke. Additions to the service were also made by the firms of Fabergé and Morozov. The group was originally the property of Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich, later Emperor Alexander II, and his wife, Maria Alexandrovna, whose crowned monograms are applied to the base.
The patriotic subject of the monumental group (which weighs 20 kilograms), a warrior prince, defender of the Russian homeland, is the embodiment of a nascent Russian style that looked back at the country's rich history for a defining style and as a source national identity. Strongly influenced by Feodor Solntsev's publication Drevnosti Rossiiskago Gosudarstva [Antiquities of the Russian State], the Russian style was to take hold of the Russian visual arts in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Solntsev himself was directly involved in the production of Vityaz' on Patrol, consulting with the artists working for Sazikov about the characteristics of historical arms and armor. Sazikov was one of the very first private manufacturers to produce works in the Russian style and Vityaz' on Patrol is widely considered one of masterpieces of the style.