Silver tray in the Russian style of the 18th century, 1758.



Silver tray in Russian style 18th century with side handles, 1758 Russian Empire (Russia), 1758 Maximum dimensions: 35 x 28 cm. Weight: 782 grams of silver 12 zolotniks Hallmarks: Russian assay mark of 1758, including: Initials of the assay master There is also a mark with the initials of the master DIG.

Silver trays have confidently entered our lives. They are a sign of status and good taste; serving food in this way looks impressive, and the dishes themselves become much tastier under the shine of precious metal. The first trays appeared in Japan over 1300 years ago. But they looked quite different from the ones we can see on store shelves today. Japanese trays looked like ordinary wooden planks. Later, they began to be covered with black lacquer, decorated with stones and landscapes made of white quartz, and these products are now known as bonsai. They were used in Japan for tea ceremonies, renowned for their beauty and sophistication.

In Russia, trays appeared much later - in the 16th century. Initially, they resembled simple wooden dishes that were painted with bright and colorful patterns. Later, boards with borders of gold and silver began to be distinguished, which were decorated with intricate engravings.

The first iron trays were produced in the 18th century in Nizhny Tagil. Tin models were distinguished by their enormous size and were called skatertnye trays; over time, they were reduced to our familiar size but did not lose their functionality. In the 19th century, trays began to be painted with bright floral patterns.

It should be noted that trays were not always used specifically for serving food. They were also produced as stands for samovars, hung on walls instead of paintings, and even taken on trips to use as a surface for writing down impressions. In wealthy homes, there was always a silver tray at the entrance where guests could leave their visiting cards. This tradition is still maintained at sophisticated events and social gatherings to this day.

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Silver tray in the Russian style of the 18th century, 1758.

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Russian silver products of the XVIII – first third of the XIX century

Russian silver products of the XVIII – first third of the XIX century
Russian silver products of the XVIII – first third of the XIX century
Russian silver products of the XVIII – first third of the XIX centuryAt the beginning of the XVIII century, the influx of foreign jewelers in Russia. A significant part of them settled in the new capital, having a noticeable influence on the formation of tastes and artistic style of Russian masters. In Moscow, their influence was not so noticeable.Individual masters who came from abroad remained in Russia for a long time, sometimes until the end of their days, but many returned to their homeland, probably most often those who could not stand the competition. At the beginning of the XVIII century Moscow silversmiths continued the traditions of the previous century, reproducing the old forms of dishes and church utensils, turning to the usual ornamental motifs - a curly stem, bundles of fruits, flowers. The further development of the secular principle in the decor was embodied in the major sound of the decorative structure of many works, the desire for a realistic depiction of human figures and landscape, in increased attention to the surrounding world, in particular to household details. One of the best masters of this time was Timofey Ilyin, a talented artist who mastered various processing techniques silver, who felt the proportions of the product, the beauty of the overall structure of the decor and its details. The chalice of 1704 is an outstanding work of the master, distinguished by ornamental richness, sophistication and perfection of form. It is curious that T. Ilyin tried his hand at painting enamel. The pulpits of the chalice of 1708 were painted by him, although usually silversmiths turned to professional enamellers.This is obvious when comparing the painted enamel images with similar engraved drawings on other works of the master. Amazing are the openwork embossed shirts of chalices with a whimsical interlacing of stems in the drawing. At a cursory glance, it may seem that they are the same, but they are not. Staying true to the chosen technique, Timofey Ilyin creates various patterns that are not inferior to each other in beauty. The skill of the ornamentalist was also reflected in the engraving of inscriptions that complement the decorative decoration of the chalices. Images of human figures were less successful for the silversmith, although here the skill of the engraver is indisputable.Highly professional possession of the cutter allowed T. Ilyin work in the technique of the rabble. In the collection of the Armory there is a black water-holy cross, and in the State Historical Museum there is a glass with a black fine-herb background.Many masters of the first half of the XVIII century mastered the technique of engraving, decorating products with ornamental motifs, such as, for example, a glass with an enamel portrait of Peter I, a ladle from 1700, and plot compositions. The holy water chalice of 1721 and the tabernacle are decorated with great art . A tray with compositions on the themes of the parable of the prodigal son of work Ilya Zolotarev is of undoubted interest, although the engraved drawing of the images is made in places clumsily.At this time, the art of coinage is still a favorite. Masters prefer high relief, curly stems with lush leaves and large flowers, heavy bundles of fruits predominate among ornamental motifs. The outstanding coiner of the first half of the XVIII century was Ivan Semenov Shchetkin (in another spelling - Shchukin). His along with Ivan Nikolayev Belyakovsky, Fyodor Kozmin-Razumov and Fyodor Nikiforov the headman of the "proboval tent" of the Silver Row, Semyon Petrov, in his denunciation in 1724, calls the masters of "crockery and hammered works", artists and reports that they are "in the election of the Chief Magistrate to look over the masterful people to their skill as guild elders." The works of I. Shchetkin - a salt shaker and two glasses with a hammered pattern made in high relief, are distinguished by a variety of elaboration.The decor on the holy water bowl of 1721, a dish of the middle of the XVIII century, a glass made by Ilya Slyuny is beautifully executed.These things are among the outstanding in skill execution. The nameless master who created the dish skillfully builds its composition, combining images of birds with a floral pattern. The ornament located on the wide side is made in very high relief, carefully worked out. Vodosvyatnaya the bowl differs from similar products of the XVII century in a more complex shape and elegant decor.Examples of magnificent coinage are five medallions from the royal gates.The figures of the Evangelists are made by them in high relief with an unusually diverse plastic development characteristic of the Baroque style. Many the works of the first half of the XVIII century are decorated with images borrowed from the popular publication "Symbols and Emblemata". As a rule, these are household utensils made for sale - glasses, cups.In the 1740s-1750s, Moscow craftsmen often used Western European products of the XVII century as samples: glasses, mugs, cups. However, they do not copy them, but most often change the elements of the decor, introducing creativity into the created work. An example is the work of Mikhail Klushina is a dish and a jug made in 1745. Originals when they were created The dish was made by the Danzig master Peter Ratzen Kramer (1625-1650) and a jug made in Augsburg by the master David Schwester-Muller (1640-1670). Both items were presented in 1647 to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich by the Swedish Queen Christina, and in 1656 the tsar granted them to Patriarch Nikon.The dish is decorated with a relief image of "The Death of the Phaeton". M. Klushin somewhat rethought the composition: its construction and interpretation of individual elements are close to the traditions of Russian icon painting, certainly more understandable to the master. The level of performance of M. Klushin's works is high, despite errors in the modeling of human figures.Vasily Kunkin's factory played a big role in the history of the Moscow silver business . An enterprising merchant, in 1751 he obtained from the government a monopoly on the production of silver religious products in Moscow. In this regard, many silversmiths were forced to work with Kunkin, including such talented craftsmen as Yakov Maslennikov, Mikhail Klushin, Peter Afinogenov, Stepan Kalashnikov. The inability to independently perform silver cult products caused dissatisfaction of the masters. However , the work at Kunkina undoubtedly shaped the creative tastes of silversmiths, contributed to improving their skills, mastering by that time in Moscow the almost forgotten reception of the rabble. Vasily Kunkin owned the "monopoly" until the end of his life -1761. Not only cult items, but also secular ones came out with the brand of his factory. These are the bucket 1759 by P. Afinogenov and a glass of 1748 made by V. Kunkin. V. Kunkin's glass was created by him at the age of 22, nevertheless, it is a product of a mature master who knows complex techniques of coinage and casting.Since the 1740s, Russian silversmiths have been working in the style of rococo, which is characterized by a complex asymmetrical ornament with stylized shells and whimsical curls. If for the best St. Petersburg masters of foreign origin, such as Zachary Deichman or Johann Friedrich Kopping, the appeal to this style was natural, then Russian jewelers in Moscow mastered this style gradually, with difficulty moving from baroque ornamentation to purely rocaille motifs. But, having mastered the principles of building a rocaille ornament, many masters have achieved virtuosity, as well as in the main technique of its execution is coinage. The 1760s-1770s can be considered the heyday of rococo in Moscow and provincial cities. During this period , many first-class works were created. I would like to highlight some of the works in particular.The work of the famous St. Petersburg silversmith Zachary Deichman - bouillotte is marked by the highest class skill. He skillfully subordinates the decor to the shape of the object, perfectly knows the techniques, finds an individual artistic solution to the thing.A broth that is viewed from a close distance, it is decorated with a pattern made by embossing on the front side, carefully worked out, elegant in pattern.The dish of 1748, created by Yakov Maslennikov, is decorated with baroque bundles of fruits - favorite motifs of Russian masters of the late XVII-early XVIII century and elements of rocaille ornaments, not yet arranged in a continuous pattern.In this work, the young master appears as one of the best Russian coiners. The decor of the dish is distinguished by its plastic richness, the author equally easily owns both low and very high relief, the drawing is free and as it would be painted with the smallest embossed patterns - its elaboration is so diverse.Maslennikov's skill as a coiner was fully manifested in the dish he created in 1766. This is a magnificent example of purely rocaille ornamentation, where individual motifs, organically connected with each other, form a continuous pattern. However, even here the artist introduced his favorite motif - bundles of fruits. The chalice of 1759, decorated by engraving with transparent enamel of turquoise and lilac colors, is very interesting. There are no brands on the chalice, but in the fine engraving of baroque cartouches and figures, in the exquisite combination of enamel tones, the general compositional structure, the high professional level of the author is visible. Apparently, the chalice was made in Moscow. He was a great coiner Alexey Polozov. The tray dish made by him in 1762 is marked by the features of the highest professionalism - a free mastery of the plastic relief and the variety of its textural elaboration. A. Polozov made several similar dishes used to decorate palace halls. Among the silversmiths of Moscow, Fyodor Petrov should be noted. Quite a lot of dishes with his brand have been preserved. The oldest Russian art center was the Great Ustyug. Quite a lot of Ustyuzha snuffboxes have been preserved.The snuffbox by P. Torlov has a complex shape characteristic of the Rococo style, and is decorated with images of "gallant" scenes. The background on the lid is a two-dimensional design. In the early nineteenth century, the technique of the rabble in Veliky Ustyug, as in other cities, begins to simplify. Masters are increasingly abandoning background studies, preferring a smooth rough engraving. This is how the glass is decorated by I. Zhilin, a master from the dynasty of famous silversmiths. A major center of silversmithing in the second half of the XVIII Tobolsk has been the capital of the Siberian province for centuries, its cultural center. Black products of Tobolsk work are known. Many of them were made by order of the Governor D. I. Chicherin. These items either depict the coat of arms of Chicherin, or his monogram. Probably, by order of Chicherin, a curious snuffbox was made, on the lid and bottom of which there is a map of Siberia, where "again the found Aleutian Islands". On the walls of the snuffbox are images of representatives of Siberian nationalities. Similar images can be seen on the Tobolsk cups of the original shape - the halves of the fruit with a twig. Among the masterpieces created by them are items from the service of D. Chicherin, stored in several museums of our country. A stamped box with a "gallant" scene on the lid and a box in the form of a wicker teapot for transporting tea reveal new facets of the talent of these masters who have found a kind of artistic solution for household products. Work an outstanding silversmith with the initials DES, a water-holy bowl with an unusual decoration for products of this kind - embossed tulips and handles in the form of sirens - also attracts attention with highly professional technique of its execution in various techniques: embossing, casting, engraving. This master felt subtly the beauty of clear relief lines, with which he managed to create an original decor of candlesticks made in 1785. Among the provincial masters , it is impossible not to single out the Yaroslavl silversmith Afanasy Korytov -a magnificent coiner, standing on a par with Muscovites Ya. Maslennikov and A. Polozov. His work - an openwork crown from an icon - is complex and at the same time elegant in design, carefully worked out. Maxim was a skilled silversmith Zolotarev from Kaluga. A glass made by him with a rocaille pattern is marked by features of high professional skill. Silversmiths' products are interesting in their own way Kazan, Kostroma, Novgorod. Their works - cups, glasses, as well as similar products of the capital's masters, were just household items and did not pretend to be unique. More often they attract attention by the immediacy of the artistic solutions and artlessness of the decor, in which the features of the style of its time, the peculiarities of its local interpretation or imitation of Moscow models are visible. Only by the brand can you recognize the Kostroma snuffbox with a black pattern in the style of classicism, which does not differ from the Moscow ones either in decor or in the level of skill.St. Petersburg silversmiths often turn to the classicism style.Sometimes the classical motifs of the pattern are combined with elements of rocaille. Apparently, everything was determined not so much by the difficulties of mastering a new style, as by the tastes of customers characteristic of Moscow and provinces, since the same masters during this period create works in "pure" classicism, sometimes freely interpreting it, and in the Rococo style. An example of this is the work of Y. Maslennikov of the 1780s-1790s. Along with strict products in the style of classicism, he created works that surprise with ornamental generosity. Among them is a deep dish with an image The Sign of the Mother of God, made in high relief, with a floral ornament and a characteristic of classicism "pearl" - embossed beads. One of the outstanding masters of the last quarter of the XVIII-first decades of the XIX century were Alexey Ratkov, who was well-versed in coinage, casting, engraving, black, well-felt proportions in the overall composition and details, had the gift of a sculptor. The dish of 1780 was made by A. Ratkov by official order for a gift to Catherine II. The decor of the dish is saturated with a variety of ornamental motifs typical of classicism, the black images are made in the graphic manner inherent in A. Ratkov. In the salary of the gospel of 1795 attracts modeling of saints' faces, plasticity and liveliness of their poses. The high professional level and sense of style are also distinguished by the prize cup created by him in 1795.The same talented master station wagon was Semyon Kuzov. The discos he created in 1797 is an example of strict classicism. The diskos is decorated with a beautifully worked engraved composition, cast details, hammered pattern and enamel overlays with paintings in gray-brown tones on a blue background (grisaille). It is unlikely that S. Kuzov himself made enamel miniatures. Usually enamel overlays were made by other artists. However , the unusual shape these plates, which have the appearance of a concave trapezoid, and the proportionality of all the details of the discos indicate the careful development by the author of the general artistic idea of the work. S. Kuzov is also known as a wonderful master of the black art .In the second half of the XVIII century, Moscow craftsmen, unlike the silversmiths of a number of provincial cities, where they created interesting black works in the rococo style, successfully used black engraving in the classic decor of a wide variety of products. Among the unique Chernev's works belong to the salary of the gospel of 1794.Abandoning the usual method of decorating salaries, when only small overlays with black images were used, the masters created complex black engravings on large silver sheets, combining various plot images and ornamental motifs into whole compositions. It is possible to reproach the authors with insufficiently skillful engraved drawing, but their creative idea and technical skill delight the viewer. Unfortunately, very few famous works of the XVIII century have been preserved. By the end of the century , silversmiths more often they turned to this technique by dressing household and cult products in blue shirts. This is how the chalice of 1799 by Timofey Siluyanov is decorated. On the censer, the geometrically clear lace pattern of the scan enriched with grain stands out against a gilded smooth background. The salary of the book "The Apostle and the Gospel" is decorated with a complex gold pattern with applied flowers and leaves. Less often, the masters created things entirely from filigree.In the first third of the XIX century , classicism in Russia enters its the final stage, the formation of which was greatly influenced by the Empire style.Works in the style of late or high classicism are decorated with images of swans, cupids, characters of ancient mythology, stylized acanthus leaves predominate in the floral ornament. In the artistic solution of household products, especially tableware, considerable attention is paid to mechanical methods of decoration -stamping, rolling, which reduced the cost of production. There is an increasing interest in artistic casting, which at this time it often comes to the fore among other technical techniques. Silverware of the gallant age.The luxurious silverware of the gallant century (1714-1789), which has survived to the present day, surprises with its beauty and elegance. We know almost nothing about its production in those distant times. Our generation can only speculate about this. Remembering the immutable fact that similar products are obtained by using similar materials, tools and equipment, we can observe the modern production of silverware and with a high degree of it is possible to assume that the same high technologies were used for its production 300 years ago.Silver dining utensils were made in ancient Rome and ancient Assyria. Silver was also used later: by the 13th century it had become a favorite material for making tableware. Initially, metal cutlery served as a distinctive feature of the nobility, which separated itself from the plebs in such a revealing way that it used clay or wooden dishes for centuries.But the mass use of silver for the production of not only jewelry, but also tableware, began only in the middle of the 18th century, which led to the creation of delightful products that have been pleasing the eye for the third hundred years. Since then , such a concept as "family silver" has entered people's lives. (Mass production is possible only with the industrial extraction of silver from ore and the industrial production of silverware in manufactories). A variety of dining items and utensils made of this metal can amaze even the richest imagination. This candlesticks and cigarette cases. Spoons, forks and knives, tureens and plates, figurines with vases, snuffboxes, dishes and trays, teapots and coffee pots, jugs, sugar bowls and butter dishes. Mugs and stacks. Napkin rings and silver samovars. Made by famous masters of the past and the century before last, antique tableware is almost always signed and has the original brands of the authors themselves or their firms. For many years, silver dining sets served as an indicator of the family's well-being, its social status. It was considered good form to give a daughter a dowry set silverware. Silver items that could tell the story of several generations of the family played the role of a kind of talismans. It was believed that they protect the genus. "Family silver" was served on the table to dear guests and was inherited. Having become exhibits of collections in our time, antique silver cutlery has remained a household item, for which it was originally created. And this is evidenced by a lot of details that are invisible to the layman's eye. For example, there is always a thermal insulation insert on the handles of kettles and coffee pots made of wood or bone, which was necessarily added by the masters, so that, taking hold of the object, they would not burn their hands. Or another feature – there are always porcelain inserts on tea and coffee pairs (as well as on silver cup holders). And this is also proof of their ancient origin, confirming that we are not just looking at a beautiful expensive thing, but a thing with its own and very long history.It is the little things like these that help the specialist to determine whether it is really an antique product or an artificially aged fake. At the beginning of the 18th century, the fashion for table setting in a single style conquered all European royal courts and penetrated into Russia. The production of silverware has been successfully developing throughout Europe. At this time, forks with four prongs instead of three appeared. With the development of table etiquette, gilded cutlery for dessert came into use. At the end of the 18th century, the production of cutlery was mechanized. The factory in Sheffield, for example, produced a large number of different models of forks and spoons made of silver. The most popular models were the "Violin" and the "King" model and the "Queen". The spoons were decorated with a pattern of shells and floral curls. Since the end of the 18th century, silverware sets have been valued much higher if they are sold in special boxes-cases for silver. The main producers of silverware: In Europe, the palm of superiority in the production of silverware rightfully belonged to French masters. And initially they did not pursue any aesthetic goals. Silverware was valued at that time more for its antiseptic properties and the cost of the metal itself. (Silver can kill 650 species it has an antiseptic and healing effect, which is why dishes made of this precious metal are so useful for health.) It was only during the reign of Louis XIV that their craft turned into a real art. A talented jeweler, Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot, worked at his court, under whose name not only silver tableware, but also other products were produced. The silver masterpieces of this famous brand are still synonymous with French taste for silverware today.Among the connoisseurs, the products of the French factory Ercuis are also appreciated, which is based on for more than one century, it has been producing dishes and silver-plated objects with glass elements. Having fixed silverware in everyday life, it gave rise to some traditions and rules. For example, you can not mix the salad with a silver spoon – only with a wooden spatula. Due to the fact that vinegar is used in the recipe of many salad sauces , a spoon can oxidize and the taste of metal will spoil the dish. Or, the French custom. Unlike other countries, where it is customary to put the fork with the teeth up when serving the table, so as not to damage the tablecloth, in France they put it the other way around. This is due to the fact that the coats of arms of the French nobility were engraved on the underside of the devices, and the vain owners really wanted to show them to the guests. And another feature is that the silver forks from the royal sets are almost twice as large as usual. And nothing that is inconvenient, but how it increased the level of importance of the owner."In France, from the XVI to the end of the XVII century, the silver was branded by the guild of silversmiths. And only after the French Revolution of 1789 were 2 established state standards (95 and 80% pure silver, respectively). There was a state stigma. At first, all silver objects were marked with a brand depicting a French rooster in a shield, and the numbers 1 or 2 (95 and 80%, respectively). Since 1833, a stamp with the image of Minerva has been applied to large objects instead of a rooster ."Head Minerva — a brand on French products made of 950 silver Unfortunately, most of the silverware in Europe was melted down after The French Revolution. "Marcel Brion writes: "It was necessary to know the Viennese poorly in order to believe that they will succumb to Francophile and revolutionary propaganda at the moment when the French Revolution has just beheaded a Viennese princess. The vast majority of Viennese were wholeheartedly on the side of the volunteers who went to fight against the army of the Republic, and even usually not at all militant common people enthusiastically marched with them. Those who for some reason did not have the opportunity to participate directly in the war helped in any way they could. Following the example of the emperor, who gave his gold dishes to be melted down, the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie donated silverware. Even the guild corporations carried their ancient regalia and stamped cups into the smelting, many of which have been carefully preserved since the Middle Ages"The process of silver mining, its extraction from ore and purification are incredibly complex technologically, require huge energy costs. It is necessary to have solid knowledge of mining in order to find silver deposits and determine its content in the ore, so that the development of this mine brings profit. Sophisticated equipment is also involved in the production of silverware, CNC machines, heavy presses-1000 tons! But the result is silverware of the highest quality, which, with proper use, can serve for a very long time and be passed down from generation to generation. It is not known whether the archives have preserved descriptions of ancient technologies used to make silverware in the gallant century-before the French Revolution, but with a high degree of confidence we can say that many modern products are approaching in beauty and elegance to the luxurious masterpieces of the past.

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