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gold plate
Period Of Empress Elizabeth (1741-1762)

Covered cup and saucer. Porcelain, gold leaf, polychrome painted over glaze. Height of cup: 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.), diameter of saucer 13.6 cm. (5 7/8 inc.).

An Imperial Fascination - Porcelain
Table Setting at Peterhof

above: The Guriev Service set out in the Yellow Room of the Catherine House of Monplaisir Palace.


This website is derived from the book, An Imperial Fascination: PORCELAIN, published by A La Vieille Russie. The book is a supplemental guide to a loan exhibition from Peterhof, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the USSR, Ministry of Culture of the RFSFR and the State Museum-Reserve in Peterhof, which was held at ALVR from March 15 through April 20, 1991. All the the objects in the exhibition were graciously loaned from the collections of the State Museum in Peterhof.

The 164 page catalog is the authoritative guide in the USA on Russian porcelain and is available from A La Vieille Russie for $65.00 plus applicable taxes and shipping. It was edited by Paul Schaffer with text by Nina V. Vernova, Vadim V. Znamenov and Tamara N. Nosovich. Translation was done by Robert Whittaker and photography was by Helga Photo Studio. Exhibition design was done by Purpura & Kisner and the catalog was designed by Bob Cihi.

To order a catalog call A La Vieille Russie at (212) 752-1727 or email ALVR.

The website was built by Pallasart Web Design. Text and graphics are copyrighted by A La Vieille Russie and may not be reproduced without the express permission of ALVR.


Decorative porcelain is justifiably considered the pride of Russian national culture. As one of the oldest in Europe, in terms of its founding, Russian porcelain production has given the world a multitude of works which, although created in the mainstream of general European culture, bear a striking individuality of form and decorative technique. Russian porcelain is easily identified and remembered, and its traditions have not disappeared even today.

Services and table decorations comprised the basic part of porcelain products of the greatest ceramic factories in St. Petersburg as well as in the provinces. The most magnificent, of course, were the services prepared at the order of the imperial court, whose purpose and formal themes often bore official state significance.

The finest craftsmen were employed in the creation of these services which were made to order and which at times comprised an entire epoch in the history of national porcelain factories, which fact lends particular value to these beautiful works of art surviving to this day. The richest repositories of Russian services are the palace museums of the former summer imperial residences near the Russian capital, St. Petersburg. Among them is Peterhof with its multitude of palaces and pavilions.

This online exhibition of imperial porcelain will assist those interested in Russian art to appreciate more fully the wealth of its artistic heritage. The exhibit has been made possible in large thanks to A La Vieille Russie, which has contributed greatly to the study of Russian art and its popularization, and thanks to the personal efforts of Mr. Paul Schaffer.

Vadim V. Znamenov, Director
State Museum in Peterhof

above: view of the Farm Palace in Alexandria Park
Henri-Pierre Blanchard (1805-1873)
watercolor. 30.7 x 46.9 cm. (12 1/8 x 18 1/2 in.).

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From the service of His Majesty's Own Datcha in Peterhof

Plate. Porcelain, overglaze polychrome decoration, gilding. Diameter 24.9 cm. (9 3/4 inc.). Reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855).

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