This magnificently decorated Imperial period Kovsch (or Kovsh, an ornamental drinking vessel or ladle) was produced by the workshop of Maria Semenova during the first decade of the twentieth century. Made of solid 875 silver, the interior, base, underside of the handle, and applied ropework ornament is silver-gilt. The body is of traditional oval form and features a hooked handle and a raised and peaked prow. Shaded polychrome cloisonné enamelwork decorates the exterior of the Kovsch in scrolling foliate motifs atop a grey-black ground. The painted cloisons, enclosed within applied rope twist cloisonné wire, feature pastel shades and a bold violet colour, typical of Semenova’s work. The sides of the handle and the border of the base are decorated with sequences of turquoise blue beads.
The underside of the Kovsch is marked '84' to signify 875 grade silver, includes the Cyrillic mark 'MC' for Semenova, and the inscription 'Made in Russia'.
Maria Semenova, the daughter of the silversmith Wasilij Semenov, inherited her father's factory upon his death in 1896. The works produced in her factory between 1896 and 1914 are considered to be preeminent examples of the craftsmanship of this period. Her factory is known for its production of Kovsches, of which this is a wonderful example. Her works are noted for their traditional style and the use of violet tones, attributes seen in this piece.