Selections from the Soviet Union's collection of table porcelain made for the czars went on display in the United States for the first time last month at a Fifth Avenue store specializing in Russian antiques.
More than 500 pieces of porcelain made by the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory for rulers from Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, to Nicholas II, the last Romanov czar, were loaned to La Vieille Russie for display through April 20. A few examples of ceramics made by private firms also is included.The porcelain comes from the State Museum-Reserve at Petrodvorets, the Versailles-like palace outside Leningrad better known as Peterhof because it was built by Peter the Great.
The collection survived the 1917 Revolution intact and is one of the top attractions at Peterhof, a prime tourist stop in Russia.
Included are individual tea services made for several czars and czarinas, examples of banqueting services which ran to thousands of items, special services for nine imperial yachts, and decorative pieces such as vases and urns. Many are decorated with hand-painted miniatures of public buildings, peasant life, and military scenes.
The exhibition marks the 140th anniversary of La Vieille Russie, a Fifth Avenue firm which specializes in Faberge objects and period jewelry. It was founded in Kiev in 1851.