This magnificent jardiniere is without doubt one of the most extraordinary confections to be produced by the Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufactory in the early 191h century. Such impressive porcelain objects of extremely high quality and sophisticated design, mounted in gilt-bronze, were mostly produced upon royal commission only. They would have been part of a dowry when one of the Russian Grand Duchesses was married, or gifted to the Emperor and Empress by the factory on Christmas or Easter to adorn their several palaces and mansions. Such lavish objects were of course produced on behalf of the Emperor as presentation gifts for foreign diplomats, heads of state and other European royal families. The decoration of many of these examples, particularly large vases, follow the trend during the period of decorating the porcelain with meticulous copies of old master paintings. This is an extremely rare and important example to have survived, considering the multiple elements in its manufacture.
The upper four jardinieres on this centerpiece, depicting allegories of the arts and humanities, were borrowed from paintings by the Dutch artist, Jacob de Wit, a follower ofP.P.Rubens, a sought-after specialist at ceiling and wall painting who worked in many of the parishes of the city of Amsterdam and wealthy merchants.
There is a related centerpiece currently in the collection of the Palace ofHet Loo in Apeldoom, Netherlands (see image to the right). Although probably altered from its original design, the existence of that centerpiece leads us to believe that the present example was very likely made as its pendant and therefore was very likely a royal gift. It has been suggested that this was indeed part of a dowry; either to Emperor Nicholas I's sister, Anna Pavlovna, Queen Consort of the Netherlands (1795-1865) and wife of King Wilhelm (1792-1849). Or possibly to Maria Pavlovna (1786-1859), Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1786-1859).
Purchased by Thomas J. Gill in Europe, 1921 . (Gill was a buyer for a retail store in Kansas City, Emery, Bird, Thayer, which sold fine antiques on the their
Purchased by Judge Ralph Latshaw (1865-1932) and Mrs. Nellie Latshaw (1865-1939).
Descended to one of their six daughters, Mary Latshaw Caldwell, then given to one of her sisters when she moved.
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Miller of 5926 Lockton Lane, Johnson County, Kansas.
We have a 7-page research material available in PDF. Please contact us if you are interested in further reading.