The letters IZD which preceed the inventory numbers to the reverse of this cheval mirror stand for Imperatorskii Zimnii Dvorets, which translates to Imperial Winter Palace.
THE WINTER PALACE
Zsar Peter I commissioned the Winter Palace in 1711, only eight years after St. Petersburg was founded. Initially a very modest two story building it was enlarged ten years later by the German architect Georg Johann Mattarnovi and again by Domenico Trezzini before 1731. The lasting enlargement started with Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli (1700 - 1771) who had the limited brief of 'making modifications'. Although he started in 1732 and enlarged it by incorporating noblemen's palaces in the process, he was only able to fully rebuild it when his plans were approved in 1754. The project was so vast that Rastrelli personally had to argue for the release of the necessary funds before the Senate. The new palace with 1500 rooms was finished in 1760. A.B. Granville, when visiting in 1827, commented that the Palace occupied an area of 400,000 square feet and that upwards of 2000 people resided in the palace and even more when the Emperor lodged in St. Petersburg.
This cheval mirror with its exquisite use of brass-inlay and verre églomisé is reminiscent of Heinrich Gambs (1765-1831). Little Russian furniture of this period is signed and Gambs is not believed to have signed any of his work, so that any attributions rely on the recurrence of verre églomisé plaques and bronze decoration.
In Russia, this style of furniture is known as the "Jacob Style" (stil' zhakob) in reference to the celebrated French chair maker Georges Jacob who was the first to manufacture mahogany chairs. What defines Russian Jacob furniture is the use of mahogany (or mahogany veneer) and brass strips or rosettes.
Gambs began his career in his native Germany under David Roentgen, later moving to Russia where by 1793, he became a leading figure amongst the cabinet-makers of St. Petersburg. Gambs was principally employed in supplying the Imperial residences, including Pavlovsk, Tsarsköe Selo and the Winter Palace. By the end of the 18th Century, Empress Maria Feodorovna was one of his most important clients. Gambs had one section of his workshop devoted solely to the casting and gilding of bronze, distinguishing him from many of his contemporaries.