Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Vasily Agafonov (maker)
DATE: 1896-1908 (made)
PLACE: Moscow (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver-gilt and cloisonné enamels

During the late 19th century, a richly decorated tea set such as this example was of central importance to the Russian tea ceremony. Tea sets decorated with cloisonné enamels in bright colours became especially fashionable in Russia due to the trend for traditional techniques and ornament in Russian decorative arts, known as Pan-Russian and Pan-Slavic styles. This silver-gilt set, made by Vasily Agafonov, comprises a teapot, covered sugar bowl, milk jug and caddy spoon. Stylised floral decoration was fashionable for enamel wares at this time and each piece is decorated with scrolling vines and large multi-colour flower heads against a stippled gilt ground within bands of white enamel beads.