A Pair of large silver toilet boxes from the Dowry Service of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna
By Nicholls & Plincke, workmaster Carl Tegelsten, St. Petersburg 1839
Width 24.1cm, weight 2954g, 95oz
Oval, of bombé form, on four pairs of paw feet, issuing from lions’ masks, surmounted by fluted pilasters and military trophies, the lower scroll border centering the cypher of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna beneath an Imperial crown, the hinged domed cover with bands of strapwork and beads, with gilt interior, marked under bases and inside covers, the first casket further scratched ‘No. 1’ and with weight ‘3 _ 62½,’ and with further indistinct letters, the second casket further scratched ‘No. 2’ and with weight ‘3 – 78’
Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaievna of Russia (Мария Николаевна, 1819-1876) was the eldest daughter of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. In 1839 she married Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg. She was an art collector and President of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg.
It is interesting to note that these boxes are designed after a box from the Gold Toilet Service, commissioned from Augsburg in 1730 by Empress Anna Ivanovna and today at the Hermitage Museum. The Gold Toilet Service is visible in a watercolour by Hau dated 1859 of Empress Alexandra’s bedroom.
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