This wine-cooler is from the hunting service which was commissioned by Empress Catherine The Great, who was a passionate huntswoman and capable rider. Commissioned in December 1766, it was one of the largest hunting services ever produced at Meissen, comprising one thousand pieces and it took two years to complete. Ulrich Pietsch discusses the design and production of the service, noting that twenty-nine individual painters have been identified in the decoration of the service. He also records that the Empress was 'so captivated by its quality that she ordered the Imperial Russian Manufactory to add to the service', see Meissen for the Tsars, Dresden, 2004, p. 95. Lydia Liackova discusses the commission of this service, suggesting that it was highly likely that it was given as a gift by the Empress to her lover, Count Grigori Orlow, himself an enthusiastic huntsman. The author records the gift of the hunting palace Gatschina, to the Count in 1765. Extensive building works on the palace and grounds continued to 1777 and the author notes that the service was housed and used in Gatschina following its initial commission, see Porzellan Parforce, Jagdliches Meißner Porzellan, Munich, 2005, pp. 49-53, cat. nos. 80-82 for two footed coolers from this service. After the death of the Count in 1783 the Empress bought the hunting palace and its contents, including the service. She gave the service to her son Pavel Petrovitsch, later Tsar Paul I and in 1890 all of the Meissen pieces and some of the Russian replacement pieces were sent to the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. In 1911 the service was moved to the Hermitage and for a short time formed part of a museum display. One hundred and thirty-two pieces of the service were sold in Russia in 1930 and a further 124 pieces were sold at Lepke in Berlin. A pair of candlesticks from this service was sold in an anonymous sale by Bonhams, London, on 14 May 2008, lot 86, and a bowl, probably from this service was sold, in an anonymous sale by Christie's, London, on 12 May 2010, lot 124.