This silver tea kettle and canister were made by the Russian workmaster Johan Olsonius, and were probably retailed by Grachev. The Grachev firm was established in 1866 in St Petersburg, and became the ‘Grachev Brothers’ in 1873. As the firm did not have an official mark until 1889, the pieces they retailed before then usually bore the mark of the craftsmen who created them. Grachev was renowned for producing high quality work, and received a number of important commissions from European royalty and nobility.
These pieces were once part of a silver travelling service and bear the monogram of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch of Russia (1847- 1909), son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. Although the Grand Duke had a prominent military career, he showed great interest in literature and the arts throughout his life. He was a keen painter, patron of many Russian artists, sponsor of the Imperial Ballet and President of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts from 1880 until his death in 1905.