Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Maria Semenova (maker)
DATE: 1893-95 (made)
PLACE: Moscow (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver-gilt decorated in niello

Maria Semenova was one of the few women who owned a silversmithing and enamelling workshop in Russia at the end of the 19th century. She had inherited her father’s workshop after his death in 1896 and went on to specialise in the production of exquisite silver items decorated using niello and hand crafted enamels. This set is decorated with niello views of the Kremlin including the Palace, Saviour’s tower and Water tower, surrounded by scrolling floral and foliate motifs. Niello is created when a mixture of silver, lead, copper and sulphur, which has a low melting point, is used to fill incised decorations on silver. Silver teawares decorated with niello views of important Moscow landmarks were produced and sold in large numbers by the leading Russian manufacturers during the late 19th century.