A Russian porcelain soup plate from the Order of St Andrew Service made by the Gardner Porcelain Factory, Verbilki, 1778-1780. The plate, with molded rim, finely painted in the center with the star of the Order, the border painted with the collar & the cross of the Order, gilt rim. The underside with blue factory mark (Latin letter G) & impressed star near foot. Diameter: 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm).
The Order of St. Andrew the First Called was the most prestigious of all the Russian Orders. In Catherine II’s reign (1762-1796), the Russian Imperial court had access to the Meissen St. Andrew Service given as a diplomatic gift to her predecessor, Empress Elizabeth I (Elizaveta Petrovna). The project of creating new services for the cavaliers of the Russian orders was important enough that Catherine chose to commission an entirely new service, made of Russian soil & Russian clay, to harmonize with those for the Orders of St. George & St. Alexander Nevsky rather than simply continuing to use the Meissen St. Andrew Service. This service, completed near the end of 1780, was for eighty covers. The various pieces were quite difficult to mold because the primary design device was the order’s unique chain, rather than the sash, as was used on the Order services. Emperor Peter I founded the order in 1698 “as a reward & tribute to some for loyalty, courage, & all manner of meritorious services rendered to Our person & country.” Unlike the Order of St. George, which could be awarded to those who did not hold noble rank, the Order of St. Andrew was strictly limited to the well-born who held at least the title of Count.
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