This silver teapot is decorated with neoclassical ornament in emulation of the fashionable, decorative objects produced in France at this time. The central cartouche likely depicts the Roman God Mithras in profile. His Phrygian cap is dotted with stars which symbolise the other planetary gods in the Mithraic cult. The cap also stands as a symbol of liberty due to its association with freed slaves in Ancient Rome and in 1790 was adopted by French Revolutionaries.
The Russian silversmith and jeweller Ignaty Sazikov was born in Moscow province in 1793. He moved to Moscow with his family and was apprenticed to his father Pavel Fedorovich Sazikov. When his father died in 1830, Sazikov inherited the workshop and dedicated his life to his father’s business. He opened a professional school for 80 goldsmiths and silversmiths in 1842, expanded the firm by opening a factory in St. Petersburg and introduced labour specialisation for his workers. Conscious of evolving silversmithing techniques, Sazikov was eager to implement Western technologies, investing in modern equipment to progress his business. In 1846 the firm received the Imperial Warrant and became official supplier to Tsar Nicholas I. Sazikov’s firm gained international acclaim through exhibiting at world fairs, receiving the gold medal at the Great Exhibition in 1851, as well as earning the unofficial title of the ‘Russian Benvenuto Cellini’, in reference to the celebrated 16th century Italian goldsmith.