The Mariia (Mariinskii) Palace was built in 1839-44 by Andrei I. Shtakenshneider for Grand Duchess Mariia, daughter of Nicholas I.
The Russian vogue for stone-cutting led to the creation of some of the most beautiful objets d'art. Of the Russian stone-cutting factories Peterhof, just a few miles from St. Petersburg, was the oldest, however the huge distances from the mines and quarries meant that it was soon joined by two further factories. Firstly the new imperial factory at Ekaterinburg, in the heart of the Ural Mountains, and then the most famous of the factories, Kolyvan in western Siberia, which specialised in colossal pieces made from the stones extracted from the Altai Mountains.
The wonderful light grey porphyry of these vases can also be found on a large ormolu-mounted 'Korgon' porphyry tazza by the Russian master stone-cutter F.S. Strijkov at the Kolyvan factory around 1809-11, now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg (see A. Chenevière, Russian Furniture: The Golden Age 1780-1840, London, 1988, p.276).
The ormolu mounts for the offered vases were almost certainly also executed in Russia, most probably after French prototypes, a practice consistent with the work of the German-born bronzier Friederich Bergenfeldt, for instance, who is known to have copied elements from designs executed by the Parisian bronzier Claude Galle. In spite of the Russian embargo on French gilt-bronzes and clocks, architects and bronziers such as Andrei Voronikhin and Bergenfeldt were strongly influenced by the work of such eminent Parisian bronziers as Claude Galle.