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Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufacturer - XVIII century


Home  /  Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufacturer - XVIII century
Foundation of porcelain production in Saint-Petersburg became possible in 1744, thanks to D.I. Vinogradov, Russian scientist, who invented the porcelain mass composition for Russia. More than a century and a half ago the factory belonged to the Romanovs ruling dynasty. It provided the imperial family and its immediate society with the porcelain. The luxurious gala dining sets with more than thousand of items ordered by Ekaterina II has become the height of glory of the Emperor's factory.


Manufacture foundation D.Vinogradov, creator of Russian porcelian Catherine I porcelian


The Lomonosov (Imperial) porcelian factory founded in 1744 in Saint-Petersburg by decree of Empress Elisabeth, Peter the Great's daughter, became the first enterprise in Russia and the third in Europe.

It is the place where D.I.Vinogradov, talented Russian scientist (1720-1758), solved the secret of "white gold" manufacturing. He was the first in the hisory of ceramics to form a scientific description of porcelain manufacturing, which occured to be close to the new foundations of ceramics chemistry. The porcelian created by D.I.Vinogradov was just as good in its quality as Saxon, and in its mass composition it was close to the Chinese one.

Initially the Nevskaya porcelain manufacture specialized in producing small items, mainly, snuff boxes for Empress Elizabeth, which she used to present to her favourites and to send as diplomatic gifts. Since 1756, when D. Vihogradov managed to design a large furnace, it became possible to produce large items. Just in that time the first set "Sobstvennyi" by name was manufactured especially for Empress Elizabeth. Since the 1750s the first porcelain dolls, i.e., figures of animals and human beings, had been produced. Despite the increase in porcelain output, these items were accessible only to a narrow circle of favourites. In XVIII the porcelian items , being prestigious, were kept in special storages, along with other treasurous things, and only dozens years later they came into use for arranging the table.

As far as its status and development is concerned, the enterprise was mainly dependent on regard and the needs of the Emperor's court, and most of all, of the monarch himself.

With coming Catherine II to the reign (1762 - 1796) , the manufacture was rearranged , and since 1765 it had been called the Emperial Porcelain factory, with the task "to please all the Russia with porcelain". The Russian porcelain was greatly affected by the work of G. D.Rachette, the talented French sculpture, who was invited to the Factory as a model master. With him, the French art classicism became predominating . The end of the XVII century was the time of Russian porcelain flourishing state, and the Emperial Porcelain Factory became one of the leading enterprises in Europe. The top glory came to the Factory due to the luxury tableware sets , "Arabeskovyi", "Yakhtinskii", "Kabinetskii", which comprised as many as a thousand of items, all being ordered by Catherine II. The table decorating sculptures glorifying the Empress's deeds were their central parts . Allegoric paining also served to glorify her virtues and to demonstrate the events of her reigning. By the Empress's approval, the Factory began producing a series of sculptures "Russia's peoples" (about one hundred figures), which was later extended by the characters of Saint-Petersburg manufacturers, craftsmen and street sellers. A great number of various vases were also produced. Painting was in harmony with form and emphasized porcelain whiteness and shining glaze warmness.

Contemporaries highly appreciated the "Catherine porcelain" and positioned it as paintings and sculptures of outstanding masters. "The today's porcelain is beautiful in consideration of mass purity and taste and of form and painting", wrote I. G. Georgy, the well-known ethnographer and traveller."Displayed in the shop, you may find rather large and perfectly manufactured things".

When came to the reign, Paul I (1796 - 1801) inherited his mather's interest in the Porcelian Factory. He provided it with large-scale orders, used to visit and demonstrate it to his honourable guests. The Paul's period sets were not so ceremonial and magnificent as those of the Catherine's period, they were intended for a narrow circle of favourites. The sets for two persons, so-called de jeuneur, also came into fashion in that period.

The management by Prince B.Yusupov, who was an expert in art, facilitated the artistic trend development of the Paul's porcelain , which became a brilliant top of the Emperial factory activity.

The last set manufactured in the XVIII century occured to be the one ordered by Paul I for the Mikhailovsky palace, his new residence. It served the table on the eve of the Emperor's death. In the recollections of one of the court pages of that period, it is said , "The sovereign was in raptures, he kissed the paintings on the porcelain again and again and said that it was one of the happiest days in his life."

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Lomonosov Porcelain
Lomonosov Porcelain is the first and the most famous Russian porcelain manufacturer. It was Tsar Peter the Great's big dream to produce Russia's own porcelain.
In 1744 his daughter Empress Elizabeth established the first porcelain factory in St. Petersburg, Russia.
266 years have passed - 266 years of unique, remarkable, difficult and highly interesting history for the first Russian porcelain manufactory.
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