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Two Pieces from the Raphael Ceremonial Dinner and Dessert Service, 1883-1903

St. Petersburg, Imperial Porcelain Factory
Porcelain, overglaze painting, polychrome, gilding on mastic
Shallow hors-d'oeuvre plate with grisaille depiction of Venus and Cupid in the center framed by grotesque ornaments and garland (right)
Marks: underglaze green, stencilled monogram A II beneath a crown, red with gold, hand painted interwoven monogram A III beneath a crown below hand painted in gold 1885.
Porcelain, overglaze painting.
2.3 x 21.2 cm
Shallow cake plate with grisaille depiction of a woman in a veil, framed by grotesque ornaments and landscapes in reserved panel (left)
Marks: underglaze green, stencilled monogram A II beneath a crown, red with gold. hand painted interwoven monogram A III beneath a crown below hand painted in gold 1884.
1.9 x 17.4 cm.

The Raphael Service, the most significant formal service from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was commissioned in 1883 for the Great Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. The design was developed under the direction of the head of the painting workshop of the Imperial Factory - Leonard Leonardovich Schaufelberger. Emperor Alexander III personally supervised the making of the service and made his own corrections to the designs. Items of the service were presented to the Emperor on completion every year as Christmas gifts. In all, the service took 20 years to complete. In 1903 the service amounting to 50 covers was completed and put into the palace storerooms.

Nicholas and Alexandra - The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia

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