ARTIST / MAKER: The Gardner Factory (maker)
DATE: late 19th century (made)
PLACE: St Petersburg (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain printed, painted and gilt

The Gardner Porcelain factory, founded in 1766 by Frances Gardner, enjoyed relative success as a direct competitor of the Imperial Porcelain factory producing high-quality wares. Gardner, an English merchant, located the first private porcelain manufactory in Russia, in Verbilki, a village outside of Moscow. Its reputation was reinforced when, in the late 1770s, Empress Catherine II commissioned four Order porcelain sets to celebrate the receptions of the Knights of the Imperial Orders, such as the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called and the Order of St. George the Victorious.

Supplying to both a national and international market, The Gardner Factory was permitted in 1785 by the Moscow governor, to feature the image of St. George the Victorious ‘in appreciation of its merits by the Court’ and its standing was further enhanced when it received the title of ‘Supplier of his Imperial Majesty Court’ in 1856 through to 1896, eventually being merged with the Matvei Kuznetsov factory.

The decorative pattern of stylised Chinese flowers derives from the trend of Chinoiserie styles that became popular in Russia from the late 18th century due to Russia’s fascination with French styles. Chinoiserie decoration was popular in Russia for a short time during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796) and was often combined with French Rococo and other European motifs, such as the Greek key pattern on this example.