SILVER CUPPER IN PRE-REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA.
In the history of antiques, a special position is occupied by the XVIII century, the time when the first European samples of dining and tea utensils appeared. And the forerunner of these events was a wonderful fact from the history of tea, when in the middle of the XVII century it was brought from China to the countries of the West and began to drink first in special coffee houses, and then at home.
A huge variety of tea utensils speaks of the respectful attitude and love of Europeans to tea. Lovers of antiques are given an endless selection of objects of different shapes, materials, countries, factories and craftsmen – tea items seem to be located on the conveyor belt.
The world of antiques fascinates with its secret, which they carry through the centuries. And not all collectors are given a chance to solve it. From the whole variety of tea “particulars”, which are of particular interest and so far little studied, is the cup holder – one of the most unusual and beautiful objects of decorative and applied art.
It is curious that the cup holder, as an element of tea drinking, arose precisely in Russia in the middle of the 19th century. And in the culture of Russian tea drinking, a glass in a beautiful cup holder occupies its own niche.
Tea drinking in pre-revolutionary Russia is a colorful and peculiar ritual, in contrast to the eastern tea ceremony. In the East, the preparation of tea and its serving is a whole philosophy aimed at self-deepening of a person who, during tea drinking, is estranged from all the bustle. In Russia, the tea tradition is of a different, opposite nature. People gather at a table all together, and over a cup of fragrant tea discuss the news, solve family affairs, share their impressions.
The first cup holders were simple in shape and handling. However, over time, the cup holder has become a considerable artistic value. Made of silver, it becomes one of the indicators of the well-being of the owner of the house. Until the 19th century, silver was generally a privilege of the aristocracy. By the number of silver items in the home collection, one could judge the position of its owner in society. The rarity of silver and its high prices have contributed to the status of this universal, practical and beautiful precious metal.
Of course, the artistic development of the cup holder was influenced by the general situation in the jewelry market of Russia in the period from the second half of the XIX-XX centuries. This is the time of the incredible rise of Russian art. It was then that the so-called Russian style appeared, on the basis of the then revived national school, the golden and silver business flourished.
A variety of cult objects and secular items of the time – cutlery, silver utensils, small masterpieces of jewelry, exquisite gift items – demonstrate all the richness and variety of artistic movements, ornaments and “styles”. The best jewelers of that era – Pavel Ovchinnikov, Ivan Khlebnikov, Karl Eduard Bolin, Gustav Klingert, Fedor Lorie and many others, left a brilliant legacy, becoming the brightest representatives of the silver age in the history of jewelry art.
Petersburg and Moscow – these two cities become the epicenter of the main events taking place in Russian culture in that era. Each of them has its own art school.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Petersburg was the legislator of fashion and style, a city in which exceptional jewelers and unusually talented craftsmen work, including the brilliant jeweler Karl Faberge, who founded one of the leading jewelry companies. And to the credit of this worthy master, in 2007 the 120th anniversary of the famous enterprise was celebrated.
It should be noted separately the Faberge factory in Moscow – it was it that was famous for its silver production, which was “much more extensive and better delivered” than in St. Petersburg. Cutlery items, including cup holders, were made in various styles – rococo, classicism, empire, works in the so-called Russian style.
In Moscow, the school developed in a different, national way. For the first time, jewelers “spoke” in pure Russian, the main theme of the plots is the life of the people and true Russian art. This was the main difference between the St. Petersburg and Moscow schools of gold and silver.
One of the brightest representatives of the Moscow art school is the famous and talented jeweler – Sazikov Ignatius Pavlovich, who worked in the middle of the XIX century.
On the site of the Antiques of the County City are presented cup holders made in the period from the end of the XIX – beginning of the XX centuries, clearly demonstrating the main trends, styles and techniques. Any professional collector who wants to find out the true price of a particular piece of jewelry always pays attention to the mark with which it is supplied. It is the stigma that helps to accurately determine the time and place of manufacture (such a marking system has no analogues in applied art).