A Russian porcelain platter from the banqueting service of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Nicholas I. The center of the shaped platter decorated with a finely painted flower bouquet of roses, daisies, forget-me-nots, and morning glories, the border with six shaped cartouches with scrolling Neo-Rococo gilt ornament enclosing a lion, a dog, a goat, a trophy of the arts, a group of three fruits on the stem, and a bouquet of brightly-colored daisies and a white peony, all reserved against alternating blue, green, and magenta grounds. The reverse with the blue underglaze mark of Nicholas I, a gilt inscription reading 2. 4. M., probably the mark of a gilder, and a later black alphanumeric collection number inscription, apparently in Cyrillic. Diameter: 12 ¼ in. (31.2 cm).
The origins of this service were a mystery throughout the twentieth century. Because the borders are relieved with Neo-rococo cartouches decorated with wild and domesticated animals as well as symbols of the arts, it was suggested that it might have been commissioned for use in one of the Imperial hunting palaces. In 1999, Anne Odom published new information indicating that Duke Georg Mecklenburg (1899-1963) sold a large part of the service to American collector Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) in 1952, he supplied her with an affidavit stating that according to family history, the service had been a gift from Emperor Nicholas I to his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1798-1849) around 1835. His daughter Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna (1827-1894) brought it with her in 1850 or 1851 on the occasion of her marriage to Duke Georg of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1824-1876). The transfer of the entire service to Germany at that time might explain its absence from Russian state museum collections today. See Anne Odom, Russian Porcelain at Hillwood, Washington, D.C., 1999, pp. 8, 72-73.
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