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Regimental platesRussian Empire
Russian Empire

Set of cutlery for 4 persons, Zlatoust

11 250 $
1820-30-e gg
The original.
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11 250 $
Dating:1820-30-e gg
The original.

A very rare and interesting lot made by a high-level craftsman in the early years of the Zlatoust factory. Steel, jade; forging, etching, gilding. The total length of knives is 247 mm, forks - 192 mm.

A knife with a forged steel blade of a wide rectangular shape, with a rounded end, the parallel edges of the blade are slightly curved relative to the axis of the handle. The connection point with the handle is in the form of a faceted, two-tiered quadrangle, partially gilded. The blade on both sides is completely decorated in the technique of etching with partial gilding. The decorative ornament is built vertically in the form of a multi-stage frame with a pointed end. Inside the frame on the background "under foot-and-mouth disease" are inscribed palmettes and ananthus curls, in the center of which on one side is a circle with a six-pointed star, on the other side is a circle with a monogram of Russian letters "YO." Above the pointed frame, laurel branches are depicted on one side, oak branches on the other. Near the handle, the ornament is gilded. The handle is made of dark green jade, four-sided, with beveled edges, straight shape. The handle is fixed to the shank of the blade in a mounted way, at the end of the handle there is a rivet with a round steel cap. At the bottom of the handle is a narrow steel sleeve.

Fork with steel three curved expanding teeth. The base of the teeth is rectangular, the podvilochnik is in the form of a baluster on a stepped base. The base of the blade and the podvilochnik are decorated in the etching technique with the image of palmettes on a gilded background. On the basis of the teeth, a circle with a monogram is applied on one side "EO", in the spelling identical to the monogram on the knife. The handle is made of dark green jade, four-sided, with beveled edges, straight shape. The handle is fixed to the shank of the blade in a mounted way, at the end of the handle there is a rivet with a round steel cap. At the bottom of the handle is a narrow steel sleeve.

The presented set - a table knife and fork are attributed as products made at the Zlatoust Arms Factory in the 1820s and 30s. Attribution is based on the stylistic analysis of objects. The nature of the ornamental pattern, its compositional structure, artistic design techniques fully correspond to the original style of the Zlatoust engraving of the period of its formation and heyday - 1820-30. Especially visual is the decoration of the blade of a table knife. In its decoration there are stylistic and technical techniques, as well as the general composition of the decor, which were used at the Zlatoust arms Factory when creating decorated weapons. Thus, the Zlatoust gunsmiths emphasized the fractional length of the blade with the help of a vertical composition, which was built on the basis of elongated pointed or oval multi-stage frames with an elegant ornament of palmettes, acanthus, curls. Among the ornamental motifs, five— and six-pointed stars were often used, located both in the center of the ornament and among the repeating elements. No less characteristic of the Zlatoust weapon was the image of laurel and oak branches as symbols of glory and courage. Zlatoustovskaya "business card" until 1835 (practically, before the death of I. Bushuev and the closure of the shop of decorated weapons), a peculiarly worked-out background of the ornament is considered — "under foot-and-mouth disease." This became possible thanks to the innovation of Russian masters in the technology of artistic processing of steel: artists did not work with a chisel, but with a brush painted images with cinnabar, and in this case, after etching the background, the drawing, covered with cinnabar and not exposed to acid, became relief, retaining its luster of polished steel.

All the listed decorative elements are stars, oak and laurel branches combined on one product, the completion of multi-stage frames elongated in the center and curls in their edging, background study "foot-and-mouth disease" is characteristic only of the early period of Zlatoust engraving (1820s-30s) and are associated with the works of V.I.L. Shafov, I.Bushuev, I. Boyarshinov. In the design of the knife blade there is such a distinctive element as a peculiar-shaped acanthus curl with a dot in the center, lined up in a row in one of the tiers of the pointed end of the frame.

An analysis of well-known museum collections makes it possible to say that with all the variety of similar elements, such an acanthus curl placed in a row in the edging chamber is not common and the use of this element is limited by the time frame — the 1820s. So, a direct analogue is present in the design of a hunting dirk dating from the 1820s ( "Zlatoust art weapons from the collection of VIMAIViVS", 1986, No. 60-61), sabres from the Hermitage collection made by Shaf and his sons in 1825, sabres by I.Bushueva 1823 from the collection of the Zlatoust Museum of Local Lore.

The image of the owner's monogram on the knife and fork, or rather its monogram form, does not contradict the dating of the items presented in the 1820s and 30s. It should be noted that the image of the monogram, consisting of the letters of the name and surname of the owner (or customer), has become a common phenomenon among the Russian noble aristocracy since the second half of the XIX century. The artistic execution of the monogram changed over time. The "monogram" version of the monogram on the presented fork and knife consists of Russian letters "EO", enclosed in a circle. The lettered graphics and its circular framing are distinguished by the clarity, conciseness and simplicity of the images, which corresponded to the Empire style prevailing in Russian art in the 1820s and 30s. In the presented set, Zlatoust artists harmoniously included a golden circle with letters written in gold in the general ornamental solution of the object. Given the proximity of the decorative solution of the dining set with the techniques of weapon design, it can be assumed that the monogram "YEO" could belong to a Russian officer who was familiar and understood the artistic techniques of the design of officer weapons created in Zlatoust in memory of the Patriotic War of 1812.

As a rule, it is impossible to decipher the monogram, especially in the absence of any additional "hints" (crowns or coats of arms, inscriptions, historical legends, etc.). One of the possible versions may be based on the fact that the initial letter of the name "E" may correspond to a rather rare name "Eugene". Among the Russian aristocracy of the first quarter of the X1 century , we met only once the combination "E.O." by the name of Evgeny Petrovich Obolensky (1796-1865). He came from a princely family, his father, Prince Pyotr Vasilyevich Obolensky, was a real state councilor, Tula governor, ruler of the Voznesenskaya province. His eldest son is Major General Prince V.P. Obolensky. (1780-1834) participated in campaigns against the French and in The Patriotic War of 1812. The youngest son is captain of the Guards, Prince Yevgeny Petrovich Obolensky. He left his mark in history as one of the leaders of the Northern Decembrist Society and an active participant in the uprising on Senate Square. On December 14, 1825, he was arrested, sentenced to deprivation of all rights and to death, commuted to hard labor for life, which he served in Transbaikalia, then lived in a settlement in Siberia. After the amnesty of 1856, he settled in Kaluga, the dignity of nobility was returned to him, and the princely title was given to his children. Possible belonging of the presented dining set to Prince E. Obolensky (before 1825) is attractive, but not provable.

When dating the object from the 1820s to the 30s, the question arises about the possibility of manufacturing cutlery at the Zlatoust arms Factory in this early period. There is an opinion that the first functional household items (cutlery, trays and plates, caskets, candlesticks and caskets) Zlatoust factory began to produce only in the 1840s. However, this is not the case. During this period, the demand for expensive Zlatoust decorated weapons was significantly falling, and in 1834 a special workshop of decorated weapons was closed. In an effort to preserve the art of engraving and the team of highly qualified master engravers, the Mining Chief of the Zlatoust factories and the Director of the weapons factory, P.P. Anosov, significantly expands the range of things produced at the factory. In this regard, the Zlatoust factory brings not only wonderful weapons with damask blades to the next Moscow manufactory exhibition in 1843, but also shows a magnificent exposition of household items, among which candlesticks and trays, razors, knives and forks with a gold notch stood out. This suggests that P.P. Anosov understood that Zlatoust engraving could not exist only as an elite weapon art focused on the needs of the royal house and the highest military aristocracy. I.e., the processes taking place in Zlatoust in the 1840s should be considered as the "democratization" of the art of engraving.

At the same time, household items made of metal — nails, compasses, tools, scythes, axes, coffee mills, knives and scissors, household items, etc. were created in Zlatoust during the existence of a private enterprise of the late HUSH-early X|Hvv. — "German fabrication", owned by the Moscow merchant A.Knauf. With the organization of the state enterprise — Zlatoust Arms Factory, where Zlatoust steel engraving was born as the art of decorating weapons, the tradition of making household items was preserved, which was not difficult for qualified craftsmen "workshops for etching and gilding blades of the decorated weapons department." At the armory factory, household products in the 1820s and 30s were made according to individual orders and, obviously, in small quantities. Moreover, it should be taken into account that receiving orders from individuals for the purchase or manufacture was encouraged.

Documentary information is known about the manufacture of household items during this period. So, in the statement for the production year from May 1828 to May 1829. in the arsenal department of the factory "turned out to be on the face" along with weapons "penknives, cutlery knives and forks, scissors and inkwells." At the First All-Russian Manufactory Exhibition held in St. Petersburg in 1829, the Zlatoust Arms Factory for the first time showed its products to the general public, among which a dagger and a garden knife made of platinum steel were specially awarded with a commendable review and a cash prize. At the exhibition of 1839, Zlatoust, in addition to decorated weapons, also presented several household items — candlesticks, trays, mirrors, sets of table knives and forks decorated with technology developed for decorating cold weapons. It is also known that at the end of the 1820s, the preparation of stone stalks for table knives and weapons at the factory was carried out by a special tmaster Afanasy Potapov, who studied at the Imperial Yekaterinburg Lapidary Factory for this purpose.

In the scientific research that exists to date on the Zlatoust factory and the art of Zlatoust engraving of the first half of the X| X Century, the main attention is paid to decorated edged weapons. There are no special studies of household products of this period, they are not in catalog and exhibition publications, museum collections show Zlatoust household items dating no earlier than the end of the X1Xv. Thus, cutlery of the 1820s-30s are extremely rare items, are of great interest as unique historical monuments belonging to one of the earliest examples of Zlatoust household products.


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