Tea canister

ARTIST / MAKER: Carl Johan Tegelsten (maker)
DATE: 1852 (made)
PLACE: St Petersburg (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, internal cork lid

This silver tea canister is engraved with the crowned cypher and initials of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich, a Russian general during the First World War and the third son of Tsar Nicholas I. The simple and elegant bulbous form emphasizes the high quality of Russian craftsmanship during the 19th century, as well as the influence of the rococo style that initially became fashionable during the mid-18th century. The rococo revival style remained popular in England, France and Russia until the 1870s, characterised by curvaceous forms and naturalistic motifs. The silversmith Carl Johann Tegelsten came to St. Petersburg from Finland in 1817 and became a master in 1833. He produced many of the dowry services for the Tsar Nicholas’s children. A very similar canister exists as part of a service in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.