Both sides of the present vase are painted with portraits after originals executed by Franz Krüger (1797-1857), the esteemed Prussian court painter and favorite portraitist of Emperor Nicholas I.
The front depicts King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia (1770-1840) with Luisen-Mausoleum in Charlottenburg in the background, after an 1836 portrait by Krüger which is usually on exhibit at Schloss Grunewald (see exhibition catalogue, Der Maler Franz Krüger (1797-1857), Berlin, 2007, p. 161, No. 122, illustrated).
The reverse depicts Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1795-1861) after a portrait by Krüger executed in the 1840s.
Friedrich Wilhelm III was the father of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (1798-1860) of Russia, née Princess Charlotte of Prussia, wife of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia (1796-1855). The princess married the then Grand Duke Nicholas in the Chapel of the Winter Palace on July 13, 1817, on her nineteenth birthday. Nicholas would succeed to the throne in 1825 and reign until his death in 1855.
Led by Friedrich Wilhelm III, the Prussian army suffered defeat to France in the Napoleonic wars and the royal family was forced to flee to Memel in East Prussia where they were under the protection of Emperor Alexander I of Russia. After the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, Prussia took part, along with Russia, in the Sixth Coalition and Prussian troops would make a critical contribution to the Battle of Waterloo and the final victory over Napoleon.
The present vase is closely related to a number of a works by the Imperial Porcelain Factory painted with portraits by Franz Krüger.
An important campana vase painted after Krüger's 1831 portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm III is preserved in the Hermitage (Inv. No. ERF: 6861). Dated 1836, the vase is a copy of the full-length equestrian portrait of the king, which was commissioned by Emperor Nicholas I for the War Gallery of 1812 in the Winter Palace.
A related vase depicting Franz I (1768-1835) of Austria was sold at Christie's, London, 26 November 2018, lot 238.
The portraits on both vases were executed by the factory master painter Alexander Nesterov, who also painted the portrait on the present vase.
Alexander Nesterov became a master painter at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in 1834 and remained at the factory until 1859. Considered one of the factory's finest painters during the reign of Nicholas I, he reproduced a number of pictures on porcelain vases.