ALVR Blog:
Russian Teatime Traditions

… }

.wishlist_saved{

color:#db0a5b !important;

}

From “Russian Tea-houses and Tea-drinkers” in Chatterbox, 1867

How greatly tea is used in England by every class of society, we all know… But greatly as tea is used in England, it is still in Russia more common. From the palaces of the great and wealthy nobles, down to the wretched hovels of the poor peasants, tea is the universal beverage. – James F. Cobb

James F. Cobb noted the …

Permalink: /5194/alvr-blog-russian-teatime-traditions/

Tags: 19th Century Russian

World War I Era Fabergé

0
Faberge copper pot

At the time of the Great War, the sons of Russian nobility wrote to their mothers that they had food at the front, but had nothing to cook it in. In response, their mothers commissioned cookware by Fabergé, not knowing of any other sources.

For the centennial of World War I, we present one such object: a copper and brass soup pot lined in pewter, with the imperial warrant and “K. Fabergé/war/1914” stamped in Cyrillic on its underside. Simple and utilitarian, lacking ostentation and splendor, it is an object unexpected from the jeweler’s workshops.

Fabergé adapted to the drop in orders and wartime austerity measures by making items out of less expensive metals like copper and gunmetal. However, some of these items merely feigned austerity and there are some silver objects ‘gilded’ to resemble copper and brass.

Nonetheless, Fabergé contributed much to supporting the war effort. Early in the war Fabergé offered his workshops for making munitions, but did not begin doing so until a year later when he finally received a response to his offer. His silver factory in Moscow produced hand grenades and casings for artillery shells and his Petrograd workshops made syringes and other smaller items.

Fabergé lost much of his workforce to conscription and pleaded with the authorities to allow twenty-three to remain who were particularly vital to the business, including the only master enameler remaining.

Fabergé wartime objects like this soup pot represent a turning point in history. The revolution and civil war that followed ensured there would not be a return to the opulence of preceding centuries. And so this soup pot, a Fabergé piece stripped of the gilding, enameling, and fine jewels long associated with that name, is made out of practicality rather than ornament, marking the end of an era.

For all our ALVR Blog posts, please click here.

Nicholas & Alexandra, a Romanov Romance

0
1901 photograph of Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia

Photograph from the Illustrierte Zeitung, 1901, via Wikimedia Commons

“I never saw two people more in love with each other or happier than they are,”

wrote George, the Duke of York, to Mary in England regarding the wedding of the Russian Tsarevich Nicholas II and Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Some of the greatest love stories exist in history books, and the romance of Nicholas and Alexandra is quite the page turner, set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Russian Revolution.

They first met at the ages of 12 and 16, when Alix’s sister, Ella, married Grand Duke Serge, the younger brother of Tsar Alexander III. The two could not help but exchange glances.They did not see each other again until five years later, when Alix spent six weeks in St. Petersburg and they began spending more time together.

The romance, at first, was not without conflict, as the shy and awkward Princess did not make the best impression on Russian society. Nicholas’s parents, Alexander III and Empress Marie, expressed anti-German sentiments, instead having their sights set on the daughter of the Comte de Paris, Princess Hélène. But Nicholas only had eyes for Alix.

Princess Alix, torn about giving up her Lutheran faith to become Russian Orthodox, tearfully turned down Nicholas’s first proposal. Her hesitancy to abandon her faith did not last long, however, as she conceded the next day, at the convincing of her father, her grandmother, Queen Victoria, and, ultimately, her own heart.

Among the most touching aspects of their story, is their correspondence. Not long after their betrothal, Alix discovered Nicholas was keeping a diary and began writing her own entries. These included prayers, poetry, and other notes, including,

“I am yours, you are mine, of that be sure. You are locked in my heart, the little key is lost and now you must stay there forever.”

After their wedding she wrote,

“Never did I believe there could be such utter happiness in this world, such a feeling of unity between two mortal beings. I love you, these three words have my life in them.”

Such a happy and affectionate marriage lasted the rest of their lives. While they met a tragic end, in the words of Alexandra, they would

“meet again in the other world and remain together for eternity.”

(Quotations from Robert K. Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra).

For all our ALVR Blog posts, please click here.

Kvasniki

0
Kvasniki

Kvas, a mildly alcoholic drink made from bread, has a long history of being a drink of the common people. The recipe involved soaking leftover dark bread in hot water and left to ferment for a few hours, adding honey, fruit, or sugar for sweetener as desired. Kvas was cheap to make and the yeast provided nutritional benefits to an otherwise limited diet, so becoming a staple for the Russian peasantry.

In the 19th century it became more popular than in earlier times, even enjoyed by the nobility on occassion. The degree of ornament applied to these kvasniki, pitchers for kvas, hints at the newly elevated status of the beverage. Of the askos form, modeled after ancient Greek goat-skin containers, they recall a renewed interest in classical art. In the second half of the nineteenth-century, applied decorations like flowers or bright red coral, as seen here, became fashionable. These decorative yet functional vessels attest to how a simple beverage transcended class boundaries, to the extent that the Russians, in the words of Pushkin, “like fresh air they loves kvass”.

Antique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits

0

Finely and elaborately carved coconut mounted as a tankard with silver gilt mounts and gilded interior. Features the profiles of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Elizabeth

Russian, 19th Century
Height: 6-1/4 inches

$18,000

Antique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side bAntique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side cAntique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side d

Russian Antique 11th Artel Enamel Kovsh

0

Gilded silver and shaded and cloisonné enamel kovsh with geometric and floral motifs on a blue ground. A kovsh is a traditional Russian drinking cup, originally carved out of wood in the form of a duck. In this decorative kovsh, the bird-like form is clearly evident.

By the 11th Artel, Moscow, ca. 1910
Length: 4-1/8 inches; height: 2 inches

$18,500

Russian Antique 11th Artel Enamel Kovsh

Russian Antique Decorative Arts and Jewelry

0

The most noted Russian jeweler from the late 19th century to 1917, the year of the Revolution, was Carl Fabergé. He produced some of the world’s finest enamel work, featured on many different types of items, ranging from clocks to frames to jewelry.  Works of art included sculpture such as hardstone flower studies and miniature animals, and household items such as bellpushes, often made for the Tsar and other wealthy Russian families. Original Fabergé works of art have become some of the most coveted antique items on the market.  (More to come.)

Russian Pan Slavic Silver Bogatyr Beaker

0

Antique Russian silver beaker with repoussé and chased design depicting two bogatyrs, heroic warriors from Slavic folklore. Cyrillic inscription along bottom: “zastava bogatyrskaya,” meaning “bogatyrs’ outpost.”

Russian, ca. 1900.
Height: 3 7/16

text detail 1, Russian Pan Slavic Silver Beakertext detail 2, Russian Pan Slavic Silver Beakertext detail 3, Russian Pan Slavic Silver Beakermarks detail, Russian Pan Slavic Silver Beaker

Antique Russian Enamel Kovsh

0

Russian gilded silver and enamel kovsh, decorated with a polychrome scrolling floral design and twisted rope border, the bowl terminating with an acorn finial.

A kovsh is a type of Russian drinking vessel, the oval shape modeled from a boat, with some versions designed as birds and ducks. Originally made of wood, silver versions emerged in the 16th century as the form increasingly assumed a ceremonial status.

Moscow, late 19th century.
4-3/8  x  2-1/4  x  2-1/4

$3,400

top view, Antique Russian Enamel Kovshside view, Antique Russian Enamel Kovshdetail view, Antique Russian Enamel Kovshmarks, Antique Russian Enamel Kovsh

Antique Russian Diamond Brooch

0

Old mine diamond brooch set in 14k gold.

By Lorié, Russian, ca. 1895.
Length: 2 inches
(approx 6 cts)

$14,500

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

angled view, Antique Russian Diamond Broochback view, Antique Russian Diamond Brooch

Antique Russian Crucifix Pendant

0

Gold reliquary crucifix pendant with Mary on verso.

Russian, ca. 1890.
Length: 2 in. (incl. bail)

$1,500

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

back view, Antique Russian Crucifix Pendant

Antique Russian Lacquer Tray

0

Antique Russian lacquer tray with decoration of two peasants drinking tea.

By the Lukutin Factory, Moscow, 1888-1894.
Width: 7-3/8 in.

$2,800

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

other view, Antique Russian Lacquer Traysignature, Antique Russian Lacquer Tray