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Made by: Wiener Porzellan Manufaktur

On view in: Russian Porcelain Room

About this object

Decorated with a black double-headed eagle on gold, this cup and saucer (26.280.2) are from the so-called Tsar's Service, one of the earliest porcelain services made in Europe. It is thought that Austrian emperor Charles VI presented the service to Empress Anna of Russia around 1735, possibly in recognition of the alliance against the Ottoman Empire that he had signed with Catherine I in 1726. The border of these pieces is a diaper pattern, or, a repetitive checkerboard design that was typical of Western design in the 1730s.

This handleless cup and saucer is from a Vienna Du Paquier period Service known as the Tsar's Service or the Vienna Service. On the front of the cup is a large gilded shield surrounded by narrow and thick black bands. In the center of this is a black double-headed eagle. The configuration of the crowns is somewhat unusual. Above the two heads floats an unusually large King's crown in red with gilt, a gilded band, and stones rendered in blue. Two twisting gilt rope-like forms extend out from either side of the crown. The eagle holds in its left claw a gilt scepter and its right claw the orb. Around its "shoulders" hangs the chain of the Order of St. Andrew (based on Andrew cross) and on its chest is a large shield depicting St. George slaying the dragon. St. George and the dragon are rendered in black and white against a red background and a green ground. To the left of the eagle are the crowned shields of the cities or territories of Kiev, Novgorod, and Astrakhan. On the left are the crowned shields of Vladimir, Chernigov, and Siberia. On the reverse is a flower on its side, floating against the white background. From the single green stem grows a still-closed bud, a long thin leaf and an iron-red, partially opened bloom. The leaves and stem are finely detailed and shadowed with black lines. The upper register of the outside of the cup is decorated with a varicolored Laub- und Bandel-werk (foliage and scroll work) typical of Vienna in the mid-1730s. Artists tended to fill in the various tiny "arms" of the decorative structure with contrasting colors and tones, all set against the pure white background of the glazed porcelain. The outermost lines of the upper decorative band are made up of alternating scrolling lines of blue and purple, outlined in magenta. The lower, framing scrolls are rendered in a pale greenish-grey, also outlined in magenta.

Object name:
Made from:
Hard paste porcelain
Made in:
Vienna, Austria
Date made:
2 7/8 × 2 3/4 in. (7.3 × 7 cm)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
mark N on underside of cup Incised mark resembling a Latin N or Z in paste, underglaze?, partially covered by the remnants of a glued on label. Note: Natalia Kazakevicha, in Katharina Hantschmann, Du Paquier contra Meissen: Frühe Wiener Porzellanservice (Munich: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, 1994), cat. No. 4.16, 63 notes that the underside of the Hermitage's cup bears a similar mark. inscription 831a on inside of foot of cup painted in black on underside of cup Yellow-orange outline of where tape or glue once affixed a label over most of the underside is still visible. label Vien- / 173 affixed to the underside of saucer A partial white label with red borders orange-yellow colored remnants of tape still apparent on underside of saucer inscription 831b on inner side of foot of saucer in black
Credit line:
Museum Purchase, 1999
Featured in publication:
"Hillwood: Thirty Years of Collecting, 1977-2007"