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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, & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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; &, 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 & Shedevry russkogo farfora XVIII veka iz sobraniia galerei “Popov i Ko.,” Moscow: Pinakoteka, 2009, pp. 332-333.
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