Tea glass holder

ARTIST / MAKER: Pavel Ovchinnikov (maker)
DATE: 1886 (made)
PLACE: Moscow (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver-gilt and cloisonné enamels

Pavel Akimovich Ovchinnikov founded his Moscow silversmithing firm in 1853. He was the first Russian silversmith working with polychrome enamels to embrace the Pan-Slavic revival style, which was considered particularly tasteful for the decoration of teawares. In 1868, nearly two decades before Fabergé, the firm received the title of court supplier, allowing it to incorporate the imperial double eagle in its trademark. This silver-gilt tea glass holder by Ovchinnikov’s firm is embellished with cloisonné enamels in varicoloured scrolling foliage, typical of Pan-Slavic ornament. Tea in Russia was served in glass vessels rather than porcelain, and the ‘podstakannik‘ (metal holder) would have contained the ‘stakan‘ (tea-glass) to insulate the heat emanating from the tea.