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AN IMPORTANT SILVER-MOUNTED PORCELAIN IMPERIAL PRESENTATION VASE
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-MOUNTED PORCELAIN IMPERIAL PRESENTATION VASE
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PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK COLLECTOR
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-MOUNTED PORCELAIN IMPERIAL PRESENTATION VASE

BY THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY, ST. PETERSBURG, PERIOD OF NICHOLAS II, THE SILVER MOUNTS MARKED FABERGÉ WITH THE IMPERIAL WARRANT, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF JULIUS RAPPOPORT, ST. PETERSBURG, 1908

Details
AN IMPORTANT SILVER-MOUNTED PORCELAIN IMPERIAL PRESENTATION VASE
BY THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY, ST. PETERSBURG, PERIOD OF NICHOLAS II, THE SILVER MOUNTS MARKED FABERGÉ WITH THE IMPERIAL WARRANT, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF JULIUS RAPPOPORT, ST. PETERSBURG, 1908
Of urn-form, on a spreading circular foot molded with gilt palmettes, with silver rim mount, rising to an egg and dart molded knop, the lower section of the body molded with a band of gilt stiff leaves, the upper section centering on one side a gilt ciselé cypher of Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna beneath an Imperial crown within a laurel wreath above ribbon-tied laurel branches, the reverse similarly decorated and centering a gilt ciselé Imperial double-headed eagle, the shoulder mounted with a silver band repoussé and chased with oak leaves and acorns, the sides with two silver handles cast and chased as Romanov griffins, the everted rim molded with gilt stiff-leaf border, silver mounts marked throughout, the porcelain unmarked and incised with modeler's signature 'A. Luk.' on foot and body, the underside of foot and silver foot mount with traces of painted museum accession number; together with the original invoice from Armand Hammer dated 1949
19 in. (48.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Recorded in the ledgers of the Russian Imperial Cabinet in 1908.
With Hammer Galleries, New York.
Acquired from the above by India Early Minshall (1885-1965) in February, 1949.
Bequeathed to The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, circa 1965.
The India Early Minshall Collection sold on behalf of The Western Reserve Historical Society, Christie's, New York, April 12, 1988, lot 96.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

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Anne Bracegirdle
Anne Bracegirdle

Lot Essay

The Imperial Russian court was renowned for presenting lavish gifts to Russian and foreign dignitaries, a tradition that flourished especially during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II. The responsibility of purchasing and allocating these gifts, under the strict supervision of the Emperor, was given to the Imperial Cabinet, which maintained detailed ledgers. These ledgers contain the description of each item, its cost, the name of the Court supplier and the name of the recipient.
The present vase was manufactured by the Imperial Porcelain Factory during the reign of Nicholas II. The incised signature A. Luk. is almost certainly that of Anatoly Lukin, a sculptor and modeler, who was active at the factory in the early twentieth century.

The vase was first entered in the Imperial Cabinet's ledgers on December 2, 1908 under the stock number 324 at a cost of 200 roubles.

As discovered by Dr. Valentin Skurlov, a decision was made to increase the value of this vase, and other similar porcelain vases in the Imperial Cabinet stock, by adding silver mounts. The artist and teacher at the Stieglitz School of Technical Drawing, Pavel Dolgov, was commissioned to create a design for the silver mounts based on the Russian state coat-of-arms. The completed design was then sent to the workshop of Fabergé's head silversmith, Julius Rappoport, which produced the silver mounts.

Once completed and fitted with the silver mounts, the vase was re-entered in the Imperial Cabinet's ledgers on December 2, 1908 under stock number 326 with an increased cost of 560 roubles. Subsequently, the vase was assigned the new stock number 87 and finally re-entered in the Imperial Cabinet ledgers as: Porcelain vase, pink with griffins, work of Imp.[erial] Porcel.[ain] fact.[ory], decorated in silver [by the] jewel.[er] Fabergé (fig 1).

The Imperial Cabinet ledgers faithfully record the dates of all outgoing gifts and the names of their recipients. Interestingly, this vase was never presented by Emperor Nicholas II and it remained in the Cabinet's stock until the Revolution in 1917. By the late 1940s, the vase had found its way to Hammer Galleries in New York. Armand Hammer famously acquired quantities of Russian works of art from the Soviet authorities in the 1920s and 1930s, and it is likely the vase was one of the many works acquired by Hammer during this period. In 1949, Hammer Galleries sold the vase to India Early Minshall (1885-1965), the renowned American collector of Fabergé, part of whose important collection, which includes the Imperial Red Cross Egg (1915), was donated to the Cleveland Museum of Art. The remaining part of the Minshall collection, including the present vase and other Russian works, was donated to The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, which eventually deaccessioned the works. The present vase was among those deaccessioned works sold at Christie's in 1988, where it was acquired by the present owner.

We are grateful to Dr. Valentin Skurlov for his assistance with the research of the present lot.

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