Monumental Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory vase

By Imperial Porcelain Factory (Russian, founded 1744)


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Created in St. Petersburg during the first two years of Tsar Alexander II’s reign, this magnificent Imperial Porcelain Factory vase is designed in the manner popular during the reign of Alexander’s predecessor, Nicholas I. The reign of Nicholas I saw the Imperial Porcelain Factory flourish, the state-sponsored institution reaching unseen levels of technical and artistic development. The current piece exemplifies the culmination of the Factory’s production of vases; soon after, as Alexander’s reign progressed, new tastes would take hold, and monumental painted vases would cease to be as fashionable as they once were. During the reigns of Nicholas I and Alexander II, vases such as the present piece functioned as gifts designed to impress: whether as diplomatic gifts to neighbours, friends, and allies, or personal presents given by the Tsar and his family to those held in favour.

This vase is of monumental amphora form, raised by a spreading socle above a square ormolu base and culminating in a wide flared neck. The socle of the vase is parcel gilt, the porcelain foot of the vase delicately embossed and the stem decorated with gilt foliate patterns over cream porcelain ground. The socle meets the vase with an ormolu mount, which complements the profusely gilt porcelain belly of the vase. This lowest register is moulded in the round with acanthus leaf and berry motifs.

The central register of the vase is decorated to the front with a painted panel, this panel contained within a gilt cartouche architecturally formed of a rounded arch springing from twin baluster-form columns. The spandrels of this gilt arch are decorated in imitation of diamond-point bossage, further emphasising the architectural context of this fictive frame. The framed painting is after The Virgin Mary as a Child Praying of 1658–60 by Francisco de Zurbarán, held, then as now, in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. As is expected of works produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, the quality of the painting is exceptionally fine. The reverse of the central register is painted with stylised gilt branches interlocking a circular floral garland over cream ground, the garland inset with five putti heads.

The top register of the body of the vase is gilt with a geometrical diamond-form design. This register is surmounted by the parcel gilt neck, painted throughout, over cream ground, with gilt foliate and putti forms. The vase is mounted with twin porcelain scrolled foliate handles, each handle issuing from an acanthus leaf mount and terminating in a tightly wound floral finial.

The painted panel is signed lower right in Cyrillic ‘E. Daladugin 1857’ and inscribed lower left, also in Cyrillic, ‘After the picture by Zurbarán’.


Artist / Maker
By Imperial Porcelain Factory (Russian, founded 1744)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Old Master, Royal / Monarchy, Russian Interest
Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Porcelain
Cream, Gold, Multi-coloured


102 cm / 40.2 inches
41 cm / 16.1 inches
33 cm / 13 inches


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