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A SOVIET PROPAGANDA PORCELAIN PLATE
A SOVIET PROPAGANDA PORCELAIN PLATE
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PROPERTY OFFERED BY THE DESCENDANTS OF TALLIS AUGUSTUS AVIS
A SOVIET PROPAGANDA PORCELAIN PLATE

BY THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY, ST PETERSBURG AND THE STATE PORCELAIN FACTORY, PETROGRAD, 1921

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A SOVIET PROPAGANDA PORCELAIN PLATE
BY THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY, ST PETERSBURG AND THE STATE PORCELAIN FACTORY, PETROGRAD, 1921
Circular, painted after a design by Sergei Tchekhonin, the cavetto depicting with hammer, sickle and cog on white ground, the border with blue, red, black and yellow geometric shapes within purple and gilt ciselé borders, marked underbase with masked Imperial Porcelain Factory mark and blue overglaze hammer, sickle and cog, and the date '1921'; also with impressed numeral '1'
9½ in. (24.2 cm.) diameter

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Aleksandra Babenko
Aleksandra Babenko

Lot Essay

The following collection of Important Soviet Porcelain (lots 320-331) is offered by the descendants of Tallis Augustus Avis (1886-1966). 'Gus' Avis was an active Socialist, who worked at County Hall as a local government officer and was secretary of The Union of International Authorities in London. In the early 1920s he attended a sale held to raise funds for Russia following the famine of 1921. It was there that he acquired the following collection of Soviet porcelain plates and figurines. When Gus died in 1966 the collection was bequeathed to his two sons, Peter and John Avis.

Peter Avis (1929-2012) was a bon vivant, raconteur and, like his father, an advocate of the political left. He worked as a journalist, ,notably for The Morning Star, The Observer, and as the British correspondent for the French national paper L'Humanité. As a young man, Peter joined the Communist party and remained active in politics throughout his life. The collection of Soviet porcelain he inherited from his father thus held particularly profound resonance for him.

Over a decade, he wrote a popular guide to the town Dieppe in Normandy called 'The Taste of Dieppe'. He also organised university visits as well as annual trips for fellow English members of the left wing in Dieppe. When Peter died in 2012, the Dieppe Council named a street after him, 'Place Peter Avis', to honour the role he played as an unofficial ambassador for the town.

Peter's brother, John Avis, is an artist. He attended both Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, and the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. John spent his early career in Africa, becoming Head of the School of Art and Design at Evelyn Hone College in Zambia. He returned to England in the 1970s and eventually worked as a Head of Department at Chelsea Art School, consulting, co-ordinating and compiling programmers in Art and Design.

His family portrait reproduced above depicts 'Gus', his mother 'Violet' and brother Peter. It was painted in their family home in Stockwell, London in the 1950sJohn is currently exhibiting his work at The Grange Gallery in Rottingdean, near Brighton. His exhibition, 'PEOPLE AND PLACES', runs until 24 June 2013.

For a similar plate after a design by Sergei Tchekhonin, dated 1919, see N. Lobanov-Rostovsky, Revolutionary Ceramics, New York, 1990, pp. 78-79, no. 67. For another similar plate, see T. Kudravtseva, Circling the Square, London, 2004, p. 94, no. 27.

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