This magnificent pair of Imperial Porcelain vases finely painted with scenes by the porcelain artist P. Shchetinin, one after Philips Wouwerman, 'Departure for the Hunt', demonstrating Wouwerman's vivacious treatment of figures and skillful animal painting. The original is still in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg and was acquired in 1772 by Catherine the Great, from the Crozat Collection in Paris. (A.Somov: Katalog Kartinoi galerei, St. Petersburg, 1902, p. 102, no. 1033). The second is depicting a woodland scene after Both.
THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY
During the reign of Nicholas I, the Imperial Porcelain Factory produced a remarkable number of vases, many decorated with copies of old master or 19th Century paintings. The vases, frequently presented by the factory as gifts to the Emperor and Empress at Christmas and Easter, were used to adorn palaces, mansions and pavilions. They were also used as grand presentation gifts by the Emperor to foreign diplomats or to heads of foreign Royal families, such as the House of Oldenburg. The vases were normally constructed from four parts - the neck, main body, stem and foot. The joints are concealed by gilt bronze bands and the handles are affixed to the body of the vases by slots formed by acanthus leaves.
In line with the European trend to use academic paintings to decorate porcelain, the flat surface in the middle section of the vases was treated like a blank canvas. The miniature works were often copies of paintings in the Hermitage, the Academy of Arts or from collections in the Imperial Palaces in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. The names of the original artist and factory artist are sometimes added to these miniatures.
PAUL FRIEDRICH AUGUST, GRAND DUKE OF OLDENBURG (1783-1853)
The Grand Duke's younger brother George (1784-1812), was married to Grand Duchess Ekaterina Pavlovna, daughter of Paul I and Maria Feodorovna.
RUSSIA AND OLDENBURG
One of the oldest German dynasties, the House of Oldenburg is first recorded in 1088, and has since played a leading role in the history of Northern Europe. In 1448, Count Christian of Oldenburg (1425-1481) became King Christian I of Denmark. Apart from the Royal Danish line, the dynasty was divided into two further branches: the senior Holstein-Gottorp branch, later linked to the Emperors of Russia, and the cadet Holstein-Gottorp branch, later Duke and Grand Dukes of Oldenburg. Oldenburg fell under Danish rule from 1667-1773, when Catherine the Great exchanged the Gottorp part of Schleswig-Holstein with the King of Denmark for the Dukedom of Oldenburg. She re-instated her Oldenburg cousins as rulers of the area when Friedrich August (1711-1787) became Duke of Oldenburg in 1777. The Grand-Duchy included the principality of Lübeck, one of their earliest lands, the counties of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst, Knyphausen and Jever and the estate of Birkenfeld.
A pair of monumental two-handled porcelain vases
THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN ROYAL FAMILY
Each of amphora form, on square ormolu sockle, the domed foot, rim and dividing bands gilt, with moulded foliate calyx and reeded foliate scroll handles of burnished and ciselé gilding, with broad borders of grisaille and ciselé gilt scrolls on white ground, the body of each painted with an Old Master painting, dated, inscribed and signed in Cyrillic, one depicing 'Departure for the Hunt' after P. Wouverman (lower left) and further inscribed in red in the inner rims of the body mai 1844, the other with a Woodland road, after BOTH (lower left), both painted, signed and dated by P. Shchetinin 1844 (lower right), marked inside necks
53¾ in. (139 cm.) high (2)
A gift from Emperor Nicholas I.
Paul Friedrich August, Grand Duke of Oldenburg.
Thence by descent.