REF No. 6781 GG
GG: Par of Chinese armorial small fruit plates, arms of Catherine the Great of Russia
Qianlong period circa 1785
Diameter: 7½ inches; 19cm
from the Golden Gate Collection
A pair of Chinese export porcelain armorial small fruit plates with a reticulated border decorated in famille rose, with the central arms of Russia in sepia, and a border of ribbon and flowers.
This is the second of three Chinese porcelain services known with the arms of Russia, one from about 1750-70 (dating uncertain) and a third one that is early 19th century. This one was ordered for Catherine the Great, who also collected many porcelain services from European factories.
She ordered two services from Wedgwood, the 'Husk' service in 1770 and the 'Frog' service (some stylistic similarities to this one) for her Palace of Grenouillère at Tsarsköe Selo, St Petersburg, in 1773 which suggests that this Chinese service was probably ordered through the English East India Company as Russia had very limited direct trade with China at this date.
The central image is the Arms of Russia which has a double headed eagle on whose breast is the arms of Moscow, a red shield with St George slaying the dragon. Around this is a collar for the Order of St Andrew, the highest order of chivalry in Russia.
References: porcelain from this service of 1785: Howard & Ayers 1978, Vol II, p455, No 461, a dinner plate; a tureen and stand sold at Christie’s in 1964; a fruit plate exhibited at The China Institute, New York, 1973-4 (Cat 54); Coleman Brawer 1992, p53, pl29; porcelain from the earlier service: Hervouet & Bruneau 1986, p332. No 14.23, a dinner plate; Beurdeley 1962, p199, cat 210, a dinner plate from the Pierre Blazy Collection; Le Corbeiller 1974, pp110-112, a dinner plate from the earlier service and a fruit plate from this service, fig 60; Arapova & Menshikova et al. 2003, Cat 62 a dinner plate; a similar plate in the Metropolitan Museum bears the inventory mark of Gotchina, the summer palace of the empress.