Russian Art



Christina ROBINSON

Spécialiste Maroquinerie, Objets d'Art Russe et Icônes

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An exceptional Russian two-color gold, enamel and diamond imperial presentation snuff-box by Keibel set with a portrait miniature signed D. Bossi. 
The box chased with foliage and flowers in relief on a matte ground, the hinged cover set with a miniature of Tsar Alexander I of Russia (1777-1825) wearing a black coat with red and gold embroidered collar, a blue moiré sash and the breast star of the Imperial order of Saint Andrew, signed by Giovanni Domenico Bossi (1767-1853) and dated 1803, framed with a gold garland and 32 rose cut diamonds interspaced with 32 smaller rose-cut diamonds (approx. 28 carats), the cover set with 4 further diamonds, one at each corner (approx. 8.8 carats) and bordered with a royal blue champlevé enamel baguette. The rounded corners are flanked by rosettes in royal bleu and sky blue champlevé enamel and the underside reveals circular enamel banded motifs around a central rosette on the chased ground. 
Maker's mark Otto Samuel Keibel, St. Petersburg, circa 1803, 9x7,5x1,5 cm, 253g, scratch inventory numbers 79 and 641, with fitted case cover in green silk velvet and gold embroderies.

Provenance: Descendant of Prince Antonio Comuto of Zantes, Greece

The Comuto family arrived on the Peloponnesian island of Zante towards the 1500s. They entered the Livre d'Or of Zante nobility in 1580 and in 1626, Dr Stamatello Comuto was elevated to the title of Count. By 1803, the title was held by Count Antonio Comuto, a highly educated man who studied Law, Philosophy, Literature at the Universtiy of Padua, receiving a Doctorate in Law in 1767. On his return to Zante he was named member of the Grand Council, Inspector of local schools and then appointed as Deputy of the Ionian Parliament, Senator, and President of the Senate.

The Ionian Islands of Greece, which had been under Venetian authority for centuries, were handed over the French in 1797 under the Treaty of Leoben and liberated by a Russo-Ottoman alliance as the 'Septinsular Republic' in 1800. On 7th December 1803, Count Antonio Comuto was appointed Prince of the Septinsular Republic by direct order of the Russian Emperor, Alexander I. Considered a Russian protectorate, the Emperor conveyed his congratulations by presenting him with this gold snuffbox. The object has been passed down through the generations to the present owner.
An important and exquisite Russian tea service by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory painted with soldiers and military figures in a landscape, gilded frieze borders comprising: 4 cups, 4 saucers, sugar bowl, waste bowl and oval tray, underglaze blue mark for Catherine II with star, St Petersburg, 18th century
A magnificent pair of Russian Imperial Porcelain vases, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, period of Nicholas I (1825-1855), each of Medici form mounted on a circular waisted fluted foot on a square ormolu base, lower body applied with gilt acanthus leaves issuing two handles of reeded calyx form, the central panels finely painted after the works of Franz Jansz van Mieris the Elder (1635-1681) ‘Young Lady in the Morning’ signed and dated I. Morozov 1849 and ‘Entertainment with Oysters’ signed and dated I. Artemiev 1849, the reverse of each gilded with three scrolled foliate motifs with floral sheaths. The three porcelain elements are joined by a metal key and screw device. As a pair only one vase is marked: ‘1849 FT’ in gilt Cyrillic for Ornamentalist Feodor Telyatnikov and ‘NS’ in cyrillic, incised mark to inside rim indicates they were moulded in 1848. Heights: 66 cm with diametre 55 cm, 66.5 cm with diametre 56 cm. With a square marble socle.

Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Gift exhibition room, Winter Palace, St Petersburg
Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, Mikhailovsky Palace, St Petersburg
Private Swiss Collection. This pair of vases has been in the same family since the 1960s.

Certificate from Anna Vladimirovna Ivanova, Curator of the Russian Imperial Porcelain Museum, The Hermitage, St Petersburg. 
The certificate states: [...] we can confirm the authenticity of the two given vases. All technical and artistic processes applied in the creation of these vases, the quality of the porcelain and bronze, as well as the signatures of the Master artists, correspond exactly to articles produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in the 1840s.

Each year at Christmas time, a collection of potential gifts from various Imperial factories was displayed at the Winter Palace for the Emperor and Empress to view. According to the Curator of the Russian Imperial Porcelain Museum at the Hermitage, St Petersburg, the Russian State Archives show two vases of the second size Medici shape were ordered from the Imperial Porcelain Factory for display in Emperor Nicholas I’s cabinet for Christmas 1849. The entry reads as follows: “Vases of Medici form of second size with paintings of figures from Mieris done by masters Artemiev and Morozov decorated over a gold background – 2 » (RSHA f. 468, op.10, ed. hr. 613, l. 5).

This pair of vases depicts two paintings by Franz Jansz van Mieris the Elder (1635-1681). Ivan Morozov was the master painter charged with recreating “Lady at her Toilet”, 1660 and Ilya Artemiev « Oyster Eaters », 1659. These paintings originally entered the Hermitage collection in 1769 when Catherine II bought the rather large collection of Count Heinrich von Brühl, German statesman for the court of Saxony and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a few years after his death.

In the summer of 1849, Emperor Nicholas I’s brother Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich Romanov passed away. His widow, Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (1807-1873, born Princess Frederika Charlotte Maria of Württemburg) was a well-educated and respected lady and now lived alone at Mikhailovskiy Palace with their daughter Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna (1827-1894). It is most likely that the Emperor and his Empress wanted to convey their appreciation and affection for their sister-in-law that year, especially having suffered such a loss, by offering a gift of considerable value. The Imperial Porcelain Factory received an order from the Minister of the Imperial Court: “The Empress demands to know which gift has been created for Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, please send immediately some suitable creations for their Imperial Highnesses to choose from. 26 December 1849, General Count Volkonskiy.” (RSHA, f.468, op.10, 613, l.8)

Once the Christmas exhibition was over, the Imperial Porcelain Factory was charged with preparation for the delivery of items selected as gifts. From the collection displayed at the Winter Palace in 1849, the following instruction was given for distribution: « To their Imperial Highnesses Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna and Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna: vases of Medici form of the second size with paintings of figures and gold decoration – 2 » (RSHA f.468, op.10, 613, l.42). This pair of Imperial porcelain vases was delivered to the Mikhailovskiy Palace along with other gifts. At a later date, the vases left the Mikhailovskiy Palace not appearing in the palace’s cabinet inventories after 1894. With the marriage of Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna to Duke Georg August of Mecklenberg-Strelitz in 1851, the vases were likely relocated to another residence.

We would like to thank Anna Vladimirovna Ivanova, Curator of the Russian Imperial Porcelain Museum for all archival information and authentication.

5 photographies de l'Empereur Nicolas II: 4 montées sur carte par Levitsky le représentant enfant et adolescent (16x10cm, dont une coupée 8x6cm) et 1 montée sur carte signée du studio J. Danielsen avec Nicolas II en compagnie de ses cousins dans le
Grand album de photographies avec couverture en cuir rouge portant les initiales FT de Ferdinand Thormeyer, précepteur des enfants du tsar Alexandre III de 1886 à 1899, comprenant 53 photographies officielles ou photographies portraits de la
A Russian gold, enamel and diamond locket pendant, Karl Fabergé 1899-1908, of circular form with the front in guilloché white enamel in a waved sunburst pattern overlayed with chased rose gold branches, yellow gold leaves and set with rose cut diamonds and rubies as berries. Opening sideways, the inside is set with a mirror and a glass-covered keepsake compartment. Hallmarked as follows: kokoshnik head partially visible on the lone branch on the left side, kokoshnik head marked 'IL' in cyrillic to the reverse of the guilloché enamel, suspension ring with KF and kokoshnik head, reverse of pendant KF and kokoshnik 56 with 'IL' in cyrillic, scratched inventory number below 24260 and repeated on the mirror frame. diam. 5 cm
Provenance:  Julija Mikhailovna Rogatkina-Ezhikova, wife of Dmitrij Mikhailovich Rogatkin-Ezhikov, Moscow;
- Count Bioglio, Rome (second husband of J. M. Rogatkina-Ezhikova),  thereafter his second wife, America D. G., Rome to her successors.

Julija M. Rogatkina-Ezhikova was considered the most beautiful woman in Moscow. Wife of the important Muscovite fur trader Dmitri M. Rogatkin-Ezhikov, Julija was travelling in Italy when the Russian revolution broke out. She never returned to Russian and married her second husband, Count Bioglio in Rome. After the death of Julija, the count re-married America D.G. who bequeathed the locket to the current owner.

A pair of Russian silver mounted cut-glass decanters sculpted with a winged horse, laurel leaves and grapevines, hallmarked Bolin, workmaster Konstantin Linke, Moscow circa 1885
A Russian silver-gilt and ice-blue guilloché enamel circular desk clock by Fabergé, workmaster Henrik Wigström, St. Petersburg 1908, scratched inventory number '10312'. Inscription on the back "Bonjour philipine" dated 1908. diam. 11.5 cm, diam. clockface 5 cm