This unusual Russian jardinière is first recorded in the magnificent Winter Palace in a dated watercolor by Eduard Hau of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna's Salon Blanc in 1850. Located on the second floor of the North West Wing of the palace, the Salon Blanc was originally conceived as the Pink Drawing Room by Alexander Bryullov in 1837 after the disastrous fire that destroyed much of the palace.
The salon was subsequently refurbished by Andrei Ivanovich Stakenschneider (d. 1865) in the fashionable Rococo style for Alexandra in 1847. The room was flanked by the famous Malachite Room which was created by Bryullov.
Alexandra Feodorovna (d. 1860) was born Princess Charlotte of Prussia in 1798, the eldest daughter of King Freidrich Wilhelm III and Louis. She married Nicholas Pavlovitsh (d. 1855), later Tsar Nicholas I, in 1817 and had seven children with him. When she converted to become Russian Orthodox, she changed her name to Alexandra Feodorovna. It is possible that the Salon Blanc was inspired by her nickname Blanche-Fleure.
Andrei Stakenschneider was a trusted architect for the Russian nobility. He bacame architect to the Imperial Court in 1848 and worked at the Winter Palace, the Small and Great Hermitages, Tsarskoje Selo and Peterhof, both for Nicholas I and Alexander II and their wives. Amoung his many surviving non-imperial projects the best known include the Mariinshy, the New Mikhailov and Nicholas Palaces, and many private mansions including his own in Millionaya Street.