Tea caddy

ARTIST / MAKER: Antip Kuzmichev (maker)
DATE: 1888 (made)
PLACE: Moscow (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver-gilt decorated with cloisonné enamel

During the 18th and early 19th centuries, Russian silver design was dominated by European aesthetics. Between 1849 and 1853 Fedor Solntsev, a young graduate from the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, produced a six volume catalogue examining native Russian art from the 11th and 12th centuries, which encouraged a renewed enthusiasm for Byzantine and traditional styles in Russian decorative art. These styles became fashionable among Russia’s wealthy aristocratic community and burgeoning industrialist families, and Russian silversmithing firms, and the workmasters they employed, began specialising in enamelling techniques and decorative styles which derived from Medieval Russian ornament. This silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel tea caddy was made by the firm of Antip Ivanovich Kuzmichev, a small cooperative renowned for its cloisonné enamel work. Of traditional form and ornament, the caddy features polychrome ‘cloisons’ and scrolling foliate motifs often found on traditional Russian decorative art.