• 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 110

    A unique and extremely rare porcelain Imperial presentation covered cup and saucer


    Price Realised  


    A unique and extremely rare porcelain Imperial presentation covered cup and saucer
    by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, period of Catherine II, 1762
    Of bulbous form, on a circular spreading gilt foot, the lid finial shaped as a double-headed eagle sitting on a sceptre with an orb next to it and holding in its claw the blue sash of the Order of St Andrew, the body painted with the stylized foliate monogram 'E2', framed within a puce, rose garland cartouche, with handle, together with similarly decorated circular saucer, gilt rim, marked under base with impressed Imperial eagle and incised circle with arrow
    Cup 4½ in. (11.5 cm.) high

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    The signs of Imperial Regalia on the cup allow us to date it to 1762. Evidently, the cup was designed to celebrate the Coronation of Catherine II which immediately followed the state coup of the 28 June 1762.

    The specific initials of Catherine II painted on this cup and saucer have a singular significance. The majority of porcelain pieces dating to Catherine's reign feature the Imperial initial E followed by the Roman numeral II. The initial E juxtaposed with the Arabic numeral 2 occurs only sporadically on individual objects produced in the first years of her reign, such as the cup, saucer and plate with laced rim from the collection of Prince Dolgorukii, see Wolf, 1907, p. 70-71, illustrations 89 and 91.

    Alexander Popoff was the first to suggest in the 1930s that the cup was produced in 1762. Circumstantial evidence allows us to date the commemorative cup to the beginning of Catherine's reign. Details on the handle are similar to the ones on the foot of the tea-pot from the Private (Sobstvenny) Service of the Empress Elisaveta Petrovna (now in the State Hermitage Museum) and dating from the second half of the 1750s to the beginning of the 1760s (see Beneath the Royal Monogram, 2007, p. 68, catalogue no. 16). These similarities can also be observed on the tea-pot dated from the second half of the 1750s to the beginning of the 1760s from the collection of the Russian State Museum (see Emme, 1950, p. 67). See also a photograph of the vase in Masterpieces of Russian 18th Century Porcelain, from the collection of Popov & C°, Moscow, 2009, p. 342, illustration 1.

    The present porcelain covered cup and saucer are unique. This item has no counterpart in any Russian museum, not even in the collections of the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

    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.

    Saleroom Notice

    The Pushkin Museum, Moscow, has requested that this lot be included in their forthcoming exhibition of works from the Imperial Porcelain


    N. B. von Wolf, The Imperial Porcelain Factory 1744-1904, St Petersburg, 1907, pp. 70-71, illustrations 89-91.

    I. R. Bagdasarova et al., 'Heraldry in the art of Russian porcelain from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum', Exhibition catalogue, Heraldry on Russian porcelain, St Petersburg, 2008, the present covered cup and saucer listed p. 17.

    B. N. Emme, Russian Artistic Porcelain, Moscow, 1950, p. 67.

    Masterpieces of 18th c..., number 105.