Industrial tea service in sale

Industrial motifs, such as cranes and lengths of chain, are the distinctive design features on an early Soviet porcelain tea service that exemplifies the Constructivist style coming up for sale in Bonhams Russian Art sale later this month.

An early Soviet porcelain tea service decorated with industrial motifs Lomonosov Porcelain Factory, Leningrad, 1931The service, made at the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory in Leningrad in 1931, has an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000.

The service was a collaboration between the leading ceramicist Sergei Chekhonin – also the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory director during the 1920s – and the illustrator L. V. Protopopova, who was responsible for the ornamentation.

Bonhams Russian Art specialist, Daria Chernenko, said, “This rare service is an excellent example of the pervasive influence of Constructivist design in Russia during the 1920s and early 1930s. It was a gift from the Soviet Government to a group of German Trade Union officials during a visit to the USSR.”

The Lomonsov Porcelain Factory has a long and interesting history. It was founded in 1744 under Empress Elizabeth as the Imperial Porcelain Factory. Following the 1917 Revolution it became the State Porcelain Factory, acquiring the name Lomonosov in 1925 to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Academy of Science by the scientist and writer, Mikhail Lomonosov.  Although the company was privatised in 1993 and formally reverted to its original Imperial name in 2005, it is still popularly known as Lomonosov.

Other highlights of the sale include:

  • A monumental silver sculpture –  Russian Warrior with his Stallion at Rest – produced in 1854 by Ignaty Sazikov (1793-1868) at his factory in St. Petersburg. Estimate: £200,000-300,000.
  • Still Life with Cabbage by Mikhail Larionov (Russian/French, 1881-1964). Estimate £120,000-180,000.
  • The Herzegovian on Lookout by Vasilii Polenov (1844-1927).  The painting represents Polenov’s response to the outbreak of the Serbo-Turkish war in June 1876.
  • Sanctuaries and Citadels by Nikolai Roerich (1874-1947). One of 27 paintings from a series entitled Sanctuaries and Citadels completed by the artist in 1925-1926. Estimate: £50,000-70,000

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