A porcelain pot à creme (custard or ice cup) from the Grand Duke Paul Petrovich Service, Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, Berlin, circa 1778. The cup on spreading foot, with a small handle modeled with scrollwork in low relief, the front painted with a black double-headed eagle holding two shields, one painted with the armorials of the Russian empire, the other with the armorials of Holstein-Gottorp, with polished gilt bands on the rim, foot, and base of the bowl, details of the molded scrollwork on the handle also highlighted with gilding, the underside with the factory’s blue mark. Height: 2 1/2 in. (6.5 cm)
Frederick the Great of Prussia presented a large porcelain service to Grand Duke Paul of Russia (later Emperor Paul I) in 1776 on the occasion of his marriage to Sophie-Dorothea von Württemburg (the future Empress Maria Feodorovna). The couple first met in Berlin and Frederick had a hand in arranging the match. The decoration of this first table service celebrates Russian military victories, while the second portion made in 1778 and of which this cup is a part, recalls Paul’s father, Peter III, who was born Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. (He was also a grandson of Peter the Great.) Frederick’s luxurious gifts of Berlin porcelain to the heir to the Russian Imperial throne were in recognition of the favor he had already shown Prussia and in hopes of mutually advantageous future relations. Today part of this service can be seen at Pavlovsk Palace, including several other examples of the rarely seen pots à creme (custard or ice cups). For published examples, see Von Sanssouci nach Europa: Geschenke Friedrichs des Grossen an europäische Höfe, Potsdam: Stiftung Schlösser und Gärten Potsdam-Sanssouci, 1994, pp. 127-131; L.V. Koval, et al, Imperator Pavel I, Sankt-Peterburg: Palmira, 2004, pp. 64-65; and, Sotheby’s New York, 21 April 2010, lot 239. On the service as a whole, see N. Kazakevich, Zapadnoevropeiskii farfor v Ermitazhe. Istoriia sobraniia, Sankt-Peterburg: Nestor-Istoriia, 2003, pp. 145-147 and Shedevry russkogo farfora XVIII veka iz sobraniia galerei “Popov i Ko.,” Moscow: Pinakoteka, 2009, pp. 332-333.
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