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A Russian porcelain cabinet tea cup & saucer Imperial Porcelain Factory, ST Petersburg, period of Catherine II (1762-1796). Both the cup & dish-form saucer reserved with landscapes against a pink ground with gilt scrolling acanthus leaf borders. The underside of the saucer with blue cypher mark of Catherine II & with impressed marks near the foot, including the number 2 with a partial circle with a dot &, on the opposite side, the number 2, 6, or 9. The cup apparently unmarked. Height of cup: 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm). Diameter of saucer: 5 3/8 in. (13.6 cm).
The pink ground & the shape of the cup suggest that this set was made late in the reign of Empress Catherine II. The landscapes are of particular note: instead of the typical, even generic, Italianate landscape, the cup is centered with a scene of an eighteenth-century manufactory. Catherine prided herself on the encouragement of Russia’s manufactures & development of her economy, so the cup probably depicts one of the institutions in which she took a particular interest, such as the Imperial Porcelain Factory or the Imperial Glass Factory. Both factories, & most manufactories requiring heating of kilns or similar devices, had to be situated outside of cities both to protect from fires & to give access to fuel to heat the kilns. The large brick chimney certainly is typical of a kiln. The saucer is centered with a landscape in which the tower of a church can be seen in the distance. Again, we can speculate that it might be related to the church built for the large staff of the Imperial manufactories situated just south of Saint Petersburg.
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