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A monumental gilded silver & shaded cloisonné enamel three-handled cup, Feodor Rückert, retailed by Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1899-1908. The exterior of the raised flared bowl divided into three panels, each centered with a roundel enameled with figures depicted in Konstantin Makovsky’s A Boyar Wedding Feast (1883): the reluctant bride & patient groom; the bearded father of the bride toasting the couple with a chased silver beaker; & the mother of the groom toasting with a kovsh, their clothing highlighted with gold foil, within red frames on grounds of shaded polychrome foliage on stippled surfaces, the borders with further flowerheads within blue leaf scrolls, the handles formed as dragon necks with flowers & scales, each surmounted by a gilded silver Russian Imperial eagle, the bulbous feet painted with griffins, symbols of the House of Romanov, struck with Cyrillic initials FR & P. Ovchinnikov in Cyrillic beneath the Imperial Warrant. Height: 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm). Weight: 2948 grams.
The three medallions with scenes from Makovsky’s painting depicting a bridal party of seventeenth-century Muscovy, as well as the extraordinary quality & magnificence of the work in shaded cloisonné enamels, suggests that this vessel was a wedding gift to a prominent young couple from a member of the Imperial family. The Ovchinnikov firm secured numerous commissions for the design & production of dowry silver services for Russian grand duchesses & grand dukes, & the decoration, reserved by protocol for members of the Imperial, strongly suggests it was a gift for a member of the House of Romanov. The artist depicted the wedding party using serving & drinking wares of the period, including examples of the charka, bratina, & stopa, as well as walrus ivory jewel caskets & swan-formed presentation cups, & the three-handled cup would be in keeping with the painting’s composition.
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