In 1826, Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich (1796-1855) succeeded his brother, Alexander I, as Emperor Nikolai I of Russia. Both he and his brother Mikhail patronized the leading Parisian silversmiths of the day. This service, which is applied with Nikolai's cyrillic monogram, may have been produced at the time of his marriage in 1817 to Alexandra Feodorovna, daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia. A. E. Foelkersam's Inventaire de l'Argenterie Conservée dans les Gardes-Meubles des Palais Impériaux, 1907, indicates the service included, in part, a samovar, three tea and coffee services, seven trays, four baskets, 96 teaspoons, 100 ice-cream spoons, and two liquor stands with four small bottles and eight labels.
The service was produced by the French Imperial goldsmith, Martin- Guillaume Biennais, who also supplied part of a massive dinner service to Mikhail Pavlovich. Foelkersam records that Grand Duke Nikolai's service passed in October 1866 to his son, Alexander II. A decanter stand from the service sold at Christie's, New York, 19 April, 2002, lot 80.