ENGLISH POTTERY IN RUSSIA. In the 18th and 19th Centuries

Darya Tarligina

Article: 
HERITAGE
Magazine issue: 
#2 2016 (51)

The reign of Catherine the Great saw English faience in all its diversity take the Russian market by storm. Its attractive price, compared to porcelain, and superior artistic design made English faience extremely popular with the Russian nobility: indeed, as the natural scientist and diarist Andrei Bolotov wrote, by 1796 many had started “buying, and filling their homes with English faience crockery”.[1] It was accepted as perfect for everyday purposes, combining quality, practicality and elegance, and by the 1830s faience was commonly found in many households. Unlike porcelain, which was reserved for special occasions, “Faience dinnerware is not a luxury: it is used every day,” the writer Yevdokim Ziablovsky wrote in his work “Russian Statistics”.[2]

Vase with Heraldic Badge of the Prince of Wales

Vase with Heraldic Badge of the Prince of Wales
Sergei Poskochin factory, Morye Village, St. Petersburg Province, Russia. 1830s
Creamware. Height: 24 cm, diameter of body: 11.2 cm. Impressed mark reads
“S. Poskochin”, impressed markings read “F.P.”
Entered the State Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately
owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One
(1914-1918) and never reclaimed. State Historical Museum

At that time, the Russian market was attractive to English makers of faience, with many of the best names producing sets and individual pieces for export to the country, among them Josiah Wedgwood, Josiah Spode, the Clews brothers, Charles J. Mason and Leeds Pottery. Later, they were joined by companies such as Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co. and Wedgwood & Co. Pieces from these factories could be purchased in diverse ranges, including a wide variety of styles, materials and decoration. The creamware, ironstone, earthenware, Jasperware and Basalt ware were finished with painted patterns, relief-work, overglaze and underglaze decor, lustre and other decoration.

The faience produced by the English factories was also intended for a wide range of customers. Some of the sets were made to order for the elite: one famous example was the Wedgwood "Green Frog” Service created for Catherine the Great herself.[3] Plenty of ordinary everyday items were also on offer to suit the tastes of Russia’s lesser nobility and merchants. At the end of the 18th century, English factories began to produce a range of pieces specially designed for Russia. Among the first such items were, most likely, the Wedgwood plates decorated with images of the statue of Peter the Great and of the transportation of the Thunder Stone under Catherine the Great, made in the late 1770s and 1780s.

In the mid-19th century, Russian trading houses began to sign contracts with English faience factories, obtaining patents which allowed them to trade in selected goods on special terms. Thus, many English items bear the trademarks of the Brothers Korniloff, A. Kniajevsky, V. Kulkov, S. Grigoriev and others. Some feature the marks in Cyrillic script, which, in the absence of clear marks from the original factory, can significantly complicate the process of proper attribution.

The appearance of such a broad range of items from England eventually led to the beginning of faience production in Russia herself.[4] The first Russian items were specifically created to imitate English pieces, with Russian factories intent on mastering the art of faience-making to rival their English counterparts. Among those involved were the Kiev- Mezhegorsky factory overseen by the Emperor’s Chancellery from 1822, the private factories of Franz Gardner, Andrei Auerbach, Sergei Poskochin and Fedor Ginter, as well as the Terekhovs-Kiselev and Novy Brothers peasant factories of Gzhel.

Plate with the Allegory of PeacePlate with the Allegory of Peace
Spode factory, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. 1820s-1830s.
Overglaze transfer printing and painting on earthenware. Diameter: 25 cm
Impressed Spode mark and impressed marking 17. Entered the Historical
Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privatelyowned items submitted
for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed.
State Historical Museum

Plate with the “Geranium” patternPlate with the “Geranium” pattern
Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co, Hanley, Staffordshire, England. 1870s-1880s
Overglaze transfer printing on faience. Diameter: 26.3 cm
Round green underglaze BWM&C mark surrounded by the words“By Order of Korniloff Brothers St. Petersburg’, next to the Royal Coat of Arms.
Donated by A. Elkina in 1874. State Historical Museum

Between 1861 and 1904, the William Ridgway works in Cauldon Place, Hanley were owned by Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co. The shapes and designs favoured by the previous owners remained in active use during this period. The Geranium pattern was registered on 17 March 1847. Items with floral décor were extremely popular with Russian buyers. The Historical Museum has in its collection several plates made by the company to orders from the Brothers Korniloff and Kulkov, intended for sale in specialized stores in St. Petersburg.

Plate “Transportation of the Thunder Stone in the Presence of Catherine the Second”Plate “Transportation of the Thunder Stone in the Presence of Catherine the Second”
Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. Late 1770s-early 1780s
Underglaze transfer printing and lustre on earthenware. Diameter: 19.2 cm. Impressed Wedgwood mark
Donated by Maria Zabelina in 1909. State Historical Museum

The transfer-printed design was inspired by the engraving “View of the Thunder Stone during Its Transportation in the Presence of Catherine the Second on the 20th Day of January 1770” by Jakob van der Schley, after a drawing by Yury Felten (1770). Found one mile outside St. Petersburg, the massive Thunder Stone was used to form the pedestal for the famous Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great by the sculptor Etienne Falconet (1716-1791). Moving the 2,400-ton stone to the centre of the city was a truly herculean task. During transportation, 46 stonemasons laboured to shape the huge rock into a suitable pedestal. On 26 September 1770, the mighty Thunder Stone finally rolled into St. Petersburg’s Senate Square to cheers from a massive crowd.

Plate “Battle of Borodino. 1812”»Plate “Battle of Borodino. 1812”
Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1820s-1830s
Overglaze transfer printing on Queen’s ware. Diameter: 25.2 cm
Impressed Wedgwood mark and impressed marking in the form of four dots
Donated as part of Pyotr Shchukin’s collection in 1905. State Historical Museum

This Queen’s ware plate with overglaze transfer printing depicts the second medallion from a series on the 1812 French Invasion of Russia. The famous series was created by the artist Fyodor Tolstoy (1783-1873). The plate’s design was based on a book published in 1818, containing prints of all 19 medallions made by the engraver Nikolai Utkin (1780-1863).

Warming Plate Showing a Steam Engine and Coal WagonWarming Plate Showing a Steam Engine and Coal Wagon
William T. Copeland & Sons Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. 1859-1875.
Overglaze transfer printing and painting on earthenware. Diameter: 25.5 cm. Oval green underglaze mark showing a buckled belt with the word“Copeland” in the centre, surrounded by the inscription “By Order of A. Kniajevsky”. Acquired in 1936 from Artistic Technology Classroom 1 of Moscow. State University. State Historical Museum

The Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience factory, founded in 1798 on the site of the former Mezhyhirya Monastery near Kiev, was the first Russian factory to start producing faience fine. After lengthy trials, in the first decade of the 19th century the factory began to make coloured faience, Agate ware and fine creamware.[5] In his drive to improve the quality of production, in 1818 the head of the factory N. Borodin wrote to Osip Kozodavlev, the Minister of the Interior, who was a benefactor of the establishment: "In order to enable the Russian factory workers to faultlessly create exquisite faience of different colours every time, it is necessary to conduct trials with pieces from the English factories that are considered to be the finest. For this reason, it was necessary to order several pieces of different shapes and colours from the world-renowned Wedgwood factory.”[6]

Despite all such efforts, however, it seems that for the first two decades of the century Russian pieces remained vastly inferior to English faience. A review of the 1829 First Industrial Fair in St. Petersburg rates items produced by the very best Russian factories way below their English counterparts: "It is not so long since we paid but two rubles for a dozen plates made of beautiful Wedgwood faience. Yet today, we pay six rubles and even more for poor-quality faience, simply because it is Russian-made.”[7].

Pitcher with “Wisdom and Providence” PatternPitcher with “Wisdom and Providence” Pattern
Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience works, Kiev, Russia. 1849
Coloured glaze on faience. Height: 16.3 cm, diameter of body: 9.4 cm
Impressed mark in the centre of the underside reads “Kiev, May 1849”,
impressed marking “41”. Acquired in 1936 from Artistic Technology Classroom 1 of Moscow State University.
State Historical Museum

This item was created as a copy of the “Wisdom and Providence” milk jugs made by a number of English factories such as Minton & Co., Samuel Alcock & Co. and Charles Meigh. The design was inspired by the decoration of the pendentives in the Common Council Chamber in London’s Guildhall. Created by Jean-François Rigaud, a French artist who had settled in England, these depicted allegorical emblems of Providence, Innocence, Wisdom and Happiness in the Italian baroque style. The work was commissioned and funded by Alderman John Boydell, a wellknown publisher and patron of the arts. Created in 1794, by 1819 the emblems had, sadly, been practically destroyed by the exceptional damp of the building. A guidebook to the Guildhall published that year states that “these Paintings never dried perfectly and turned black. They exist no longer.”14 In 1799 Boydell published prints of the paintings, having commissioned Benjamin Smith to create that of Providence and Innocence, Jean Pierre Simon to make the print of Wisdom, and Thomas Burke that of Happiness. These prints served as the source for relief decorations on chinaware.

 

Mug. Kiev, RussiaMug
Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience factory, Kiev, Russia. 1830s
Coloured glaze on faience. Height: 7 cm, diameter: 7.5 cm
Impressed mark in the centre of the underside reads “Kiev 9”
Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed. State Historical Museum

The relief decoration on the mug shows Venus floating in a large shell drawn by dolphins, accompanied by Cupid on a dolphin and the flying Iris, goddess of the rainbow, accompanied by Cupid on an eagle. The group symbolizes the elements of air and water. The decoration was most probably created by a designer from the John Turner factory. Together with Josiah Wedgwood and William Adams, Turner was one of the main pioneers of jasperware production in the second half of the 18th century. Indeed, George and Frederick Rhead have suggested that Wedgwood deliberately instructed Turner in the art of jasperware-making, so as Turner could further improve the practice.15 Usually regarded as one of Wedgwood’s best-known imitators, Turner nevertheless also developed his own unique subjects, totally unconnected with any of the relief decorations used by the Etruria Works. Such allegorical representations of the natural elements in the form of deities were copied not only by other English factories, but also by Europeans and Russian ones.

This failure, however, provided the impetus necessary for Russia’s ceramics industry to make a huge leap forward in the 1830s and 1840s, a period rightfully considered the Golden Age of Russian faience. The private factory of Sergei Poskochin and the best of the Gzhel peasant factories - that of the Terekhovs and Kiselev - both began production in 1829.

Under Poskochin, who had acquired his factory in 1817, production advanced so significantly that the enterprise eventually became able to compete with many Russian and Western rivals in both quality and range. The Poskochin factory was known for its coloured faience imitating Jasperware and stoneware, its creamware, lustreware and excellent modelled pitchers, including Toby Jugs.

Plate with Italian ViewPlate with Italian View
Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience factory, Kiev, Russia. 1831
Underglaze transfer printing on faience
Diameter: 24.5 cm
Impressed mark in the centre of the underside reads “Kiev 1831 November”
Acquired in 1987 from Moscow City Court. State Historical Museum

The design is based on the print “Ponte del Palazzo” by Elizabeth Frances Batty, from the book “Italian Scenery” published in London in 1820. The prints in this edition gave rise to the Italian Scenery series of transfer-printed designs for dinner services made by John Meir, Enoch Wood & Sons, and Leeds Pottery.

 

Mug with Lid Decorated with Fox-hunting SceneMug with Lid Decorated with Fox-hunting Scene
Sergei Poskochin factory, Morye Village, St. Petersburg Province, Russia. 1830s
Relief decoration, coloured faience, faience
Height: 8.5 cm (with lid: 11.3 cm), diameter: 8.1 cm
Impressed mark reads “S. Poskochin”, second impressed mark reads “B.S.”
Donated by L.F. Pyrina in 1964. State Historical Museum

Fox-hunting scenes are among the most common designs used in English pottery. Josiah Wedgwood was the first to use a fox-hunting relief decoration for his jasperware.

 

 

Founded in 1821, the outstanding Terekhovs-Kiselev factory had few rivals in Russia. The country’s Department of Appanages regularly furnished the factory with English faience "to be reproduced in quality and form”.8 After mastering the methods of reproducing English faience, the establishment was also to produce recommendations for other Gzhel factories to enable them to follow suit. With the aid of such methods, Russia’s factories were finally able to satisfy the demand for low-cost faience among all social groups, from merchants and the middle class to wealthy peasants.

“Hearty Good Fellow” Toby Jug“Hearty Good Fellow” Toby Jug
Andrei Auerbach factory, Kuznetsovo Village, Korchevsky Uyezd, Tver Province,
Russia. 1817-1833
Overglaze painting on faience
Height: 26 cm, base measures 11.5 by 10.5 cm
Impressed mark reads “AK”

Entered the State Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed. State Historical Museum The “Hearty Good Fellow” Toby Jug shows a simple, jovial country man. The jugs were based on a satirical print attributed to Francis Hayman (1708-1776), inspired by a poem of the same title.

 

 

 

George Whitfield (Night Watchman) Toby JugGeorge Whitfield (Night Watchman) Toby Jug
Sergei Poskochin factory, Morye Village, St. Petersburg Province, Russia. 1830s
Underglaze and overglaze painting and lustre on faience
Height: 23.5 cm, base measures 10.2 by 13.5 cm
Impressed mark reads “S. Poskochin”, impressed markings read “N”
Donated as part of Nikolai Mironov’s collection in 1917.
State Historical Museum

Toby Jugs are pottery jugs, usually in the form of a seated figure in 18th century costume. The first such jugs appeared in the 1760s and have been widely copied by ceramics factories all over England up until the present day. Dozens of different designs exist, from Sailors and Coal Miners to Squires and Planters. In the late 18th-early 19th century, Toby Jugs parodying historical figures became especially popular. One of the founders of the Methodist movement, George Whitfield (1714-1770) helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain and America.

 

 

Despite these technological advances, however, the most admired type of decoration continued to elude Russian faience-makers. They long remained unable to master the art of transfer printing, used to finish tea and coffee sets and dinner services of earthenware. Not only did this method considerably simplify the process of decoration, it was also quicker, and ultimately cheaper, than hand-painting or relief- work.

Teapot with Heraldic Badge of the Prince of WalesTeapot with Heraldic Badge of the Prince of Wales
Wedgwood factory, Staffordshire, England. 1810s
Black Basalt ware. Height: 24 cm, base measures 12.5 by 9.5 cm
Entered the State Historical Museum collection in 1925 from the Museum of Old Moscow. State Historical Museum

This elaborately shaped teapot is decorated with rich relief-work. The middle of the body features oak boughs with acorns. Above these, a laurel wreath encircles the Prince of Wales’s feathers – the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. The spout is in the form of a lion’s head, with the handle in the shape of a dolphin. Just as the lion is king among beasts, in the heraldic sense, the dolphin was considered the king of fishes. The decoration shows Britain’s special status as an empire and a seafaring nation. The top of the lid is shaped like St. Edward’s Crown – the centrepiece of the British regalia, used to crown new monarchs.

 

Tea Service. Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1830sTea Service. Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1830s

Tea Service
Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1830s
Underglaze transfer printing on pearl ware. Impressed Wedgwood mark
Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed. State Historical Museum

 

Developed in England in the second half of the 18th century,[9] transfer printing involved laying special sheets of lightweight paper etched with a drawing on unglazed faience items and firing the pieces together with the paper at 600800° C. As the oil-based component of the paint burned up, the glaze could cover the piece evenly.[10] Paint was applied to the paper by lithography using a copper etching plate. Each plate could produce up to 100 prints, and the same design could be applied to both flat and curved surfaces.

Vase. Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1800-1810sVase
Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1800-1810s
Queen’s ware. Height: 27.5 cm, diameter: 18.5 cm. Impressed Wedgwood mark
Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed.
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

 

Creamer with LidCreamer with Lid
Terekhovs and Kiselev factory, Rechitsy Village, Bronnitsky Uyezd, Moscow
Province, Russia. 1830-1840s. Coloured faience with relief decoration.
Height: 8 cm, diameter: 9.5 cm. Impressed mark reads “Terekhova i Kiseleva” (Terekhovs and Kiselev) . Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed.
State Historical Museum

 

 

The designs themselves were drawn from popular prints and book illustrations of the time. Romantic landscapes, for instance, would be selected from books containing views of the Italian or English countryside. Ancient and antique subjects were frequently taken from prints by Thomas Kirk from the catalogue of Sir William Hamilton’s collection of antique vases.[11] Besides the main design, all pieces were also decorated with opulent borders in the form of flower garlands or geometrical patterns: this particular type of English faience was always completely covered with transfer-printed decor.

Plate. Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience factory, Kiev, Russia. 1830s-1840sPlate
Kiev-Mezhegorsky faience factory, Kiev, Russia. 1830s-1840s
Underglaze transfer printing on faience. Diameter: 24 cm. Impressed mark reads
“Kiev”, underglaze green mark in the shape of the Royal Coat of Arms reads “Mezhygoriye”.
Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed.
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

“Winter Palace” Saucer“Winter Palace” Saucer
M.S. Kuznetsov Company, Kuznetsovo Village, Korchevsky Uyezd, Tver Province, Russia. 1889-1900s.
Underglaze transfer printing on faience. Diameter: 15.5 cm
Red underglaze mark in the form of the Royal Coat of Arms with the words“Manufactory M.S.K.”, red underglaze mark in the form of a shield reads“M.S.K. Tverskoi gub.” (M.S.K. Tver Province)
Donated by E.P. Eliseeva in 1968. State Historical Museum

 

 

 

 

Plate “Statue of Nicholas I in St. Petersburg”Plate “Statue of Nicholas I in St. Petersburg”
Wedgwood & Co, Tunstall, Staffordshire, England. 1870-1880s
Underglaze printing on ironstone ware. Diameter: 27 cm
Brown underglaze patent mark in the form of the Royal Coat of Arms surrounded by the initials “D.W.”
Purchased from R.M. Leonova in 1951.
State Historical Museum. Pattern patented under the name “St. Petersburg”

 

 

 

 

Plate with Pattern Imitating Folk EmbroideryPlate with Pattern Imitating Folk Embroidery
Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co, Hanley, Staffordshire, England. 1870-1880s
Underglaze transfer printing on ironstone ware. Diameter: 27 cm. Red underglaze mark in the form of a shield with diagonal inscription that reads“BWM&C”. The shield is surrounded by the inscription “Moskow” and the Royal Coat of Arms. Purchased from A.A. Izhorskaya in 1983.
State Historical Museum
Décor patented on 25 September 1868 under the name “Moscow”

 

 

 

 

Plate “Acropolis”
George L. Ashworth and Brothers, Hanley, Staffordshire, England. 1860s
Underglaze transfer printing on ironstone ware. Diameter: 27 cm
Impressed Ashworth mark, purple underglaze mark in the form of a sarcophagus with the word “Acropolis” inside and the words “G.L.A. & Bros.” underneath.
Patent mark in the form of the Royal Coat of Arms with the initials “DW”
to either side. Entered the museum collection in 1940 from the Alexandrovskaya Sloboda Museum.
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

Plate with “Acropolis” PatternPlate with “Acropolis” Pattern
M.S. Kuznetsov Company, Kuznetsovo Village, Korchevsky Uyezd, Tver Province, Russia. 1889-1900s.
Underglaze transfer printing on faience
Diameter: 15.5 cm. Impressed mark in the form of a double-headed eagle with the words “fmr. Auerbach”, red underglaze mark in the form of the Royal Coat of Arms with the words “Manufactory M.S.K.”, trademark with the words“S.I. Velikanoff a Rostoff sur le Don”. Purchased from A.I. Bavakina in 1958
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

The Kiev-Mezhegorsky factory was among the first in Russia to begin using transfer printing to decorate faience. As the “Northern Post” newspaper wrote on 12 May 1812, the factory “made its first attempt at transfer printing on faience”, thereafter presenting the Emperor with a faience glass, “decorated in this new fashion”.[12] The factory went on to produce transfer-printed faience services for Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich (the future Nicholas I), Commander of the Don Cossacks Matvei Platov, military leader Count Alexei Arakcheyev, Prince Yevgeny Golitsyn, Prince Sergei Volkonsky and many other high-ranking figures.

Coffee Service with Pattern Imitating Folk EmbroideryCoffee Service with Pattern Imitating Folk Embroidery
Brothers Korniloff factory, St. Petersburg, Russia. 1880s-1890s
Overglaze transfer printing, painting and gilding on porcelain Multicoloured overglaze transfer mark in the form of a double-headed eagle with the words “Bratiev Kornilovykh v SPeterburge” (Brothers Korniloff in St. Petersburg).
Purchased from N.N. Tretyakova in 1995
State Historical Museum
The decoration uses a fragment of the English transfer-printed Moscow design

 

 

 

At first, producing original etched designs was problematic, as only the largest Russian factories could hire their own professional engravers. The English factories were reluctant to hand over all their know-how, preferring instead to send their trade representatives to the larger Russian cities. This was profitable for the English, and soon in cities like St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa, English trade representatives were established, selling readymade sheets of paper printed with designs to the Russian faience factories.

ТарелкаPlate
Brothers Novy factory, Kuzyayevo Village, Bogorodsky Uyezd, Moscow Province, Russia. 1840s.
Underglaze transfer printing on faience. Diameter: 25.3 cm
Impressed “bratiev Novykh” (brothers Novy) mark, black underglaze mark in the form of a basket of flowers, with the words “bratiev Novykh” (brothers Novy)
Entered the Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

One factory that made ample use of such purchased designs was that of Shirobokov, Dipedri and Borisov. The faience fine, and yellow faience from there were totally covered with transfer-printed designs created at the Wedgwood factory, observing all the English principles of composition and of rich decor. Russian faience-makers that used the readymade English designs would often take things one step further, attempting to sell their goods as English ware. Even major factories such as the Kiev-Mezhegorsky, or M.S. Kuznetsov Company used marks deliberately designed to obfuscate, imitating the British Royal Coat of Arms, a necessary attribute of English faience.

Plate with “Acropolis” PatternPlate with “Acropolis” Pattern
Brothers Samsonov, Kosherovo Village, Bogorodsky Uyezd, Moscow Province, Russia. 1850s-1875.
Underglaze transfer printing on faience
Diameter: 25 cm. Impressed oblong mark with the initials “B.S.”, black underglaze mark in the form of a caduceus with the words “FB Zamzonof”
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

 

Plate with “ Zodiac” PatternPlate with “ Zodiac” Pattern
Wedgwood factory, Etruria, Staffordshire, England. 1840s
Underglaze transfer printing on pearl ware. Diameter: 24.5 cm
Impressed Wedgwood mark and green underglaze mark bearing the name of the pattern (“Zodiac”). Entered the State Historical Museum collection in 1922 as part of a group of privately owned items submitted for safekeeping during World War One (1914-1918) and never reclaimed.
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

 

Plate with Bouquet DesignPlate with Bouquet Design
Andrei Khrapunov-Novy factory, Kuziayevo Village, Bogorodsky Uyezd, Moscow Province, Russia. 1850s-1890s.
Underglaze transfer printing on faience
Diameter: 24.5 cm. Black underglaze mark in the form of a basket of flowers, with the words “Khrapunova Novago”. Purchased in 1974 from Ye.S. Shaposhnikova
State Historical Museum

 

 

 

 

In 1833, faience-makers in Gzhel mastered the art of transfer printing, with the head of the Moscow Appanage Office informing the Appanage Department that the "peasants Terekhov had successfully tested new improved methods at their factory. They seemed to have particular success with transfer printing on faience of designs from engraved copper plates.”[13] Not possessing professional drawing skills, however, the self-taught engravers of Gzhel would merely copy the designs on English pieces, with the results frequently reminiscent of the lubok style.

The collection of English and Russian faience from Russia’s Historical Museum offers a wonderful opportunity to observe all the above characteristics. The design on a plate made by the Shirobokov, Dipedri and Borisov factory is an exact copy of a Wedgwood transfer print, while a soup tureen by the Terekhovs and Kiselev is decorated with a copy of the design. Not possessing the skills to adapt the design for such a large, curved surface, the ceramicists of that factory opted instead to reproduce the same design four times.

Soup Tureen. Terekhovs and Kiselev factory, Rechitsy Village, Bronnitsky Uyezd, Moscow. 1840sSoup Tureen
Terekhovs and Kiselev factory, Rechitsy Village, Bronnitsky Uyezd, Moscow
Province, Russia. 1840s. Underglaze transfer printing on faience
Height: 27.5 cm; 42 x 27 cm. Green underglaze mark in the form of a basket of flowers decorated with the words “Terekhova i Kiseleva” (Terekhovs and Kiselev)
Purchased in 1987 through a commission shop.
State Historical Museum

 

Worthy of particular attention is a unique plate from the Novy Brothers’ factory. Made to show off the skills of the engravers, this piece was also intended to serve as an advertisement for the Novy Chinaworks. The central composition is essentially English, but with some added extras. The images of the man and woman descending a staircase, for instance, were clearly added after the main design had been finalized. The decor running along the edge serves to frame the composition, highlighting the main subject. It features four edifices in the Empire style, two vases with flowers and fruit, and two elaborate compositions with symbols and military attributes. The vases are inscribed with the letters B.N., initials of the Brothers Novy - a rarity in Russian faience. One of the compositions features the inscription "Glory to Russia”, encircled by military attributes, flags of the Russian Empire and standards bearing the monograms of Emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I.

Plate. Shirobokov, Dipedri and Borisov factory, Gorodische Village, Vyshnevolotsky Uyezd, Tver Province, Russia. 1844-1854Plate
Shirobokov, Dipedri and Borisov factory, Gorodische Village, Vyshnevolotsky Uyezd, Tver Province, Russia. 1844-1854.
Underglaze transfer printing on yellow faience. Diameter: 25.7 cm.
Impressed “Shirobokov Depedri Barisov” mark, black underglaze mark in the form of a vignette, with the words “F Shirobokova Depedri Barisova v Gorodische” (Shirobokov Dipedri Borisov in Gorodishche).
Stamped mark in the form of the number “10”, stamped mark in the form of a rosette with seven petals and stamped black underglaze mark with the letter “K”.
Purchased from M. Riabova in 1936. State Historical Museum

 

 

Combining English source elements as the basis of the decor with their own details, Russian ceramicists were able to start producing faience of the high quality to which they had aspired. Their study of English faience enabled them to grasp their own possibilities, to develop their own artistic touch, and to gain new skills in the making of ceramics. Taken all together, this was the main fruit of the Anglo-Russian collective endeavour in faience-making.

Photographer Vasily Lozhnikov

  1. Bolotov, A.T. "Pamiatnik Pretekshikh Vremyan, ili Kratkiye Istoricheskiye Zapiski o Byvshikh Proisshestviyakh i o Nosivshikhsya v Narode Slukhakh” (A Monument to Times Past, or Brief Historical Notes on Events Gone By and on Rumours among the People). Moscow, 1796. Taken from Saltykov, A.B. "Izbranniye Trudy” (Selected Works). Moscow, 1962. Pp. 209-210.
  2. Ziablovsky, Ye.F. "Rossiyskaya Statistika” (Russian Statistics), Part II. St. Petersburg, 1832. Taken from Dulkina, T.I. "Gzhel. Tonky Faience” (Gzhel. Faience Fine). Moscow, 2000. P. 31.
  3. Catherine the Great commissioned the Wedgwood factory to create the service in 1770. The faience was intended for the Kekerekeksinensky Palace, which took its name from the surrounding area, known in Finnish as the "Frog Marsh”. Situated near Tsarskoye Selo, the residence was renamed the Chesme Palace in 1780. The creamware service was decorated with 1,222 unique English landscapes. Every item in the service also bore a small green frog as part of the rim. The dinner service consisted of 680 items, with an additional 264 pieces for serving dessert. The Green Frog service is currently in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
  4. Heikki Hyvnen. "Russian Porcelain. Collection of Vera Saarela”. The National Museum of Finland. Helsinki, 1982; Bubnova, E.A. "Stary Russky Faience” (Old Russian Faience). Moscow, 1973; Dulkina, T.I., Asharina, N.A. "Russkaya Keramika I Steklo 18-19 Vekov” (Russian Ceramics and Glass in the 18th and 19th Centuries). State Historical Museum collection, Moscow, 1978; Dulkina, T.I. "Gzhel. Tonky Faience” (Gzhel. Faience Fine). Moscow, 2000; "Marki Rossiyskogo Farfora I Faienca” (Marks on Russian Porcelain and Faience) compiled by Dulkina, T.I. Moscow, 2003; Novikova, O.D. "Faience Zavoda Poskochina v Sobranii GMK kak 'Entsiklopedia’ Istorisma v Oblasti Russkoi Keramiki” (Faience from the Poskochin Factory in the State Ceramics Museum Collection as an Encyclopaedia of Historicism for Russian Ceramics). Taken from the Viktor Vasilenko academic readings, Issue II. Moscow, 1998.
  5. Coloured faience was made to resemble the highly popular Jasperware created by Josiah Wedgwood in the mid-1770s. Jasperware is stoneware coloured by metallic oxides to produce common hues such as blue, lavender and green, or less common ones such as mauve or yellow. Jasperware was often decorated with raised designs which remained white. Agate ware is stoneware imitating the natural structure of stone. It was made by interspersing strips of clay of different colours, twisting and cutting them. The mixture was then shaped in a mould or on a wheel. In later pieces, this effect was achieved by painting the clay, by mixing it, or by layering still-wet clay of different colours on an ordinary base of solid clay. In England, Agate ware began to be produced by the Staffordshire Chinaworks in the 1740s. Creamware was made from white clay and ground silica pebbles. The resulting earthenware varied in colour from cream to yellow. In England, this type of faience was in production from the 1730s onwards. In 1759 Josiah Wedgwood perfected the process and in 1765, upon receiving the approval of his patroness, the wife of George III Queen Charlotte, he named his creamware, Queen’s ware.
  6. Taken from Dulkina, T.I. "Gzhel. Tonky Faience” (Gzhel. Faience Fine). Moscow, 2000. P. 15.
  7. Description of the First Public Exhibition of Manufactured Goods in St. Petersburg, 1829. St. Petersburg, 1829. Taken from Dulkina, T.I. "Gzhel. Tonky Faience” (Gzhel. Faience Fine). Moscow, 2000. P. 17.
  8. Dulkina, T.I. 'O Zavodakh D.N. Nasonova, Terekhovykh I Kiseleva’ (On the Factories of D.N. Nasonov, the Terekhovs and Kiselev) // "Pamiatniki Kultury. Noviye Otkrytiya” (Cultural Landmarks. New Discoveries). Moscow, 1977. P. 297.
  9. Robert Hancock was the first to use this method at the Worcester factory in 1756. By the 1790s, Josiah Spode had developed underglaze blue transfer printing on faience, which subsequently became popular all over England. His son Josiah Spode the Younger further developed this trend in ceramics, introducing his famous transfer-printed designs which remain highly popular to this day.
  10. After the first stage of firing, when the temperature is slowly raised, the paint is extremely wet and easily smudged. Careless handling of the process can result in blemishes and staining.
  11. Neale, J.P. "Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland”. London, 1818-1829, in 11 vols.; Britton, J. "Picturesque Views of the English Cities”. London, 1828; Hoare, R.C. "A Classical Tour through Italy and Sicily”. London, 1819, in 2 vols.; Mayer, l. "Views in Egypt, Views in the Ottoman Empire, Views in Palestine”. London, 1801-1804, in 3 vols.; D’Hancarville, Baron P. "A Collection of Etruscan, Greek and Roman Antiquities from the Cabinet of the Hon. William Hamilton”. Naples, 1766-1767, in 3 vols.; Kirk, T. "Outlines from the Figures and Compositions upon the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Vases of the Late Sir William Hamilton, with Engraved Borders”. London, 1804.
  12. Dulkina, T.I. 'Mastera Kievo-Mezhigorskoi Fabriki’ (The Masters of the Kiev-Mezhegorsky Factory) // "Sbornik Trudov GIM” (Collection of Works from the State Historical Museum). Issue 62, Moscow, 1986. P. 36.
  13. Dulkina, T.I. "Gzhel. Tonky Faience” (Gzhel. Faience Fine). Moscow, 2000. P. 36.
  14. Nichols, J.B. "A Brief Account of the Guildhall of the City of London”. London, 1819. P. 39.
  15. Bros. Rhead G.W. and F.A. "Staffodshire Pots and Potters”. London, 1906. P. 243.

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