|Plates from the Raphael Ceremonial Dinner and Dessert Services from Tsarskoye Selo Palace
Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St. Petersburg
Designed by S. P. Romanov (?)
Porcelain, overglaze polychrome painting, gilding on biscuit ware
This is one of the most interesting ceremonial services of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was commissioned for the Alexander Palace in Starskoye Selo in 1883. The design was developed under the supervision of Leonard Schaufelberger, head of the Imperial Art Workshops. Emperor Alexander III personally oversaw the process and ordered alterations to be made.
The pieces are decorated with ornamental and allegorical compositions based on motifs from the Raphael Loggias in the Hermitage. The rich and vivid decoration leaves very little of the white ground visible. There are numerous variations in the motifs, although the overall pattern remains the same. This exceptionally luxurious and complex service has a unique hand-written and richly ornamented stamp. As parts of the service were completed they were presented to the Emperor as Christmas gifts every year. In 1903, the service for 50 persons was completed.