Author Topic: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime  (Read 31581 times)

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Offline Sanochka

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China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« on: September 05, 2012, 01:34:48 AM »
I have not seen any message strings devoted to this topic.  The closest I have found is the string concerning dining at the palace, but that appears to be limited to meals, menus and foods.

What china, crystal and silver was used for daily meals by the IF at the Alexander Palace?  Years of research have turned up little more than the fact that  much of the china used at table was made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, but not much more than that.  What patterns were used?  Where were the table items stored when not in use?  Who cleaned it?  Where was it cleaned?  I believe it was Robert Massey who described Tsesarevitch Alexei being taken on a tour of the palace basement and being shown a room in which two men were engaged smashing pieces of cracked and chipped china so that nobody else could have it.  Cases of new china and glassware must have been kept on hand to replenish broken pieces - do large lots of it survive in Russian state repositories?

If information about specific china and glassware patterns is scarce, information about table silver used day to day by the imperial family is practically non-existent.  Does anyone know of purveyors of table silver to palace?  There must have been multiple flatware services of various patterns.  The services must have been large - and valuable.  Where would it have been stored?  Does any survive?
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 01:38:24 AM by Sanochka »

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 08:54:52 AM »
We have six plates from the "Everyday" service of the Alexander Palace in the Nicholas II period. Here is a photo of a similar one.


Alexandra Feodorovna had a more ornate service as well, known today as the "Purple Service", however it was almost never used.


Here is an example of the glassware used. Simple Imperial Cypher design:


and another, more ornate:


an example of one of the napkins used daily (we have seen dozens of these)


The flatware we have seen was made by Ovchinnikov under Imperial Warrant.  The everyday flatware was very simple, adorned only with the Imperial cypher of Nicholas II, engraved. Here is a photo of what the flatware looked like, although not with the Nicholas II cypher, otherwise exactly the same.



There were specific rooms in the basement for porcelain, glassware and silver (meticulously counted and recorded by the way!). Dishes were supplied by the Imperial Porcelain Factory. Anytime one was chipped or broken, yes the pieces were destroyed and replacement pieces were constantly made in anticipation of the need.  Silver was from a number of suppliers, as Palace needs could sometimes be too much for one company at the time needed. Most silver came from Ovchinnikov, or Faberge. There was a specific service for specific uses.  The one shown would have been everyday for just the family and regular Court visitors.  There would be more and more ornate services for events such as special guests, or Gala dinners or State dinners. Glassware came from the Imperial Glass Factory, again as needed but replacement pieces were always on hand to meet demand to replace broken ones.  Typical service sizes would be enough for 250-500 persons, at four forks, four knives, four spoons, small zakuski plates, salad plates, side plates, dinner plates, dessert plates, tea, coffee service plus serving pieces, and water, red wine, white wine, champagne and cordial glasses.  So, yes there were vast amounts of the stuff, which accounts for the fact that it isn't so impossible to find the china, glass or napkins.  The silver, of course, was confiscated by the Bolsheviks and mostly melted down, with only a very few and now rare examples, sold to foreigners at Antikvariat.  The only silver flatware we have seen personally was that taken out by Empress Marie Feodorovna and GD Xenia when the left Yalta.  Other members here will have more details I'm sure.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 09:01:02 AM by Forum Admin »

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 02:39:09 PM »

 Dishes were supplied by the Imperial Porcelain Factory. Anytime one was chipped or broken, yes the pieces were destroyed and replacement pieces were constantly made in anticipation of the need.  

  I might add that whenever later replacement plates originating FROM ANOTHER REIGN were made, the Imperial Porcelain Factory marked them on the reverse with the cypher of the PRESENT Emperor.  

  Thus plates in my collection show, for example, an Imperial Porcelain Factory "Winter Palace/Coronation Service" plate (originally of the Alexander III era) marked with the crowned cypher of  NICHOLAS II, indicating a later made replacement piece.  Various color marks were used for different reigns, as well.

                                                                     Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 02:43:31 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 12:22:28 AM »
Thank you for the informative replies and breathtaking pictures!   I've seen pics of the china and glassware on Romanov Russia (I really do need a desktop shortcut to that magnificent site!).  I have not seen pictures of the linen and silver.  The napkin is particularly arresting.  

Research shows the white plate with blue rim to be part of the Coat of Arms service, manufactured by the Imperial Porcelain Factory and consisting of 47,000 pieces.

According to Greg King in his "Court of the Last Tsar," the Purple Service was commissioned in 1903 and consisted of 1,690 pieces.  It, too, was made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory.

Below are photos gleaned from ekaterinas.com of the Raphael Service, begun in 1883 by Alexander III.  Production continued for 20 years, with new pieces presented to Nicholas II each Christmas.  In 1903, the service, ultimately consisting of 50 place settings, was completed at a cost of 125,000 rubles. During production, the service was stored at the Winter Palace.  Appropriate numbers of place settings were sent to the Alexander Palace when required.  In 1904, the entire service was transferred to the Anitchkov Palace for use by the dowager empress.





Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 11:46:19 AM »
Another photo of the Purple Service, obtained from Angelfire.  According to Bob in "Dining With the Tsars," this service was used only twice, for luncheons in 1909.


Offline amelia

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 03:48:48 PM »
Where is all this china now? And the service given by Wilhem II to Alix and Nicholas when they were married? I saw some pieces in the Delaware exhibition a few years ago. Is there anything in Russia?
Amelia

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 03:56:48 PM »
Much of the china was broken by Bolsheviks as they trashed many of the palaces during the Revolution.  Much of what remained was sold to tourists at the Antikvariat stores in Petersburg and Moscow in the 1920s-30s...Armand Hammer sold a large amount at his Gallery in NYC and at his traveling sale "exhibitions" at department stores across the US in the 30s.  Marjorie Merriweather Post bought a huge amount, which is at Hillwood Museum.  The Germans stole a lot during WWII. 

Frankly, it is scattered across the globe these days, in private collections and some museums.  It was illegal for private people to own it in Soviet times.  Some does still remain in Russia, but hard to tell exactly how much.  I'm certain the Alexander Palace has some, but not sure how much is there

Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 03:58:38 PM »
According to Greg King, remnants of the Orlov Service were used.  I've done some research and found that this service - in the style of Louis XV - was commissioned by Catherine II in 17-1770-1771 for her beloved Orlov.  The original service was made by Roettiers of Paris and consisted of 3,000 pieces.  In 1793, the two had a falling out and Catherine ordered the service returned to the Winter Palace.

Throughout the 1800s, the service was added to by successive courts.  Even so, a 1907 inventory recorded only 1,000 pieces.  Here are some I found:

A pair of wine coolers with mark of Roettiers, 1770.  Sold at Christies on April 19, 2002 for $933,500.



A pair of scalloped shell dishes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Both bear the mark of Roettiers and are part of a set of 22 that belonged to the original service.



A group of silver-gilt plates and serving pieces bearing marks of Carl Tegelsten, Nicholls & Plincke, and Ivan Morozov, Saint Petersburg.  These are examples of later pieces and date from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.  This lot was sold at Christie's on June 8, 2010 for $115,071.  Another 15" oblong serving platter similar to the one propped up behind the round plates recently sold at a separate sale at Sotheby's for $10,000.




Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 08:11:42 AM »
I've become obsessed with researching AP tableware and court suppliers.  One thing is clear:   I erred in one point above.  The white plate with blue border posted the Forum Administrator in the initial set of photos is known by various names but the most common is the "Alexander Palace Service."  For the sake of consistency, I'm going to go with that. 

Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 06:18:33 PM »
More dinnerware.  

A silver spice container.  1891



Pedestal serving bowl from the Coronation Service, aka Coat of Arms Service



A rimmed soup bowl from the same service.  1911



3 goblets from the Imperial Glassworks.  1914



8 dinner plates from the original Orlov Service.  1770.  Provenance:  Count Orlov, Catherine II, Imperial Collection (until 1917), Soviet Government (until 1930), private collection.

« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 06:21:58 PM by Sanochka »

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 06:38:03 PM »
You are bringing in many services that gave nothing to do with the AP.  Please keeP this to AP services. The Coronation service was never used at the AP

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 07:29:47 PM »
The Coronation service was never used at the AP
[/quote


  Correct.  It was used at the Winter Palace, and is sometimes  called by that name.  It was originally made for Emperor Alexander III.  If the soup bowl has "1911" on the reverse, then it is a replacement piece made during the reign of Nicholas II. I have owned 4-5 of the larger plates.  Gave some away and sold some. I think that I have one left. They can still be purchased from well-known dealers, as can the blue-ringed Tsarskoye Selo "Everyday Service" and others. If one is willing to accept a "less-than-perfect" specimen, then the prices are rather reasonable. 
                                                                                                                                                      AP.

Offline Sanochka

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 07:35:33 PM »
You are bringing in many services that gave nothing to do with the AP.  Please keeP this to AP services. The Coronation service was never used at the AP

Which services, other than the Coronation Service, were not used at the AP?

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 09:53:32 PM »
You are bringing in many services that gave nothing to do with the AP.  Please keeP this to AP services. The Coronation service was never used at the AP

Which services, other than the Coronation Service, were not used at the AP?

     Just to give a further note to the porcelain services apparently used/housed at AP Tsarskoye Selo, three single examples of the "Purple Service" (mentioned recently in this topic previously) plates, are presently for sale by a respected dealer of Russian items here in the USA.  The comment accompanying them is "A plate from the Purple Service, Imperial Porcelain Factory, 1906.  This pattern was the last major commission made for the court of Nicholas II."
     They are apparently perfect specimens and priced at US $2,800 - 2,850 each.  The dealer also has a set of 12 soup bowls of the same pattern and era for US$ 30,000.                                                     AP.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 09:58:46 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Alan

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Re: China, Crystal, and Silver Used at Mealtime
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 03:33:52 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that they were allowed to take their own china and bed linen into exile. Whether it was returned from the Ipatiev House is anyone's guess. Perhaps another reader knows the answer?