The Porcelain Manufacture
Elizabeth was the founder of the Porcelain Manufacture, as it was called then. The first porcelain piece made at the factory was a snuffbox. Snuff was in vogue, and the Empress commissioned numerous porcelain snuffboxes as gifts to her courtiers and foreign guests. In 1756, the director of the Porcelain Manufacture, Dmitry Vinogradov, designed a large kiln, and the first Russian dinner set was made that came to be known as Her Majesty’s Own Service. The production was expensive, and precious porcelain tableware was used for grand events; on other occasions the court dined on silver and gold. Known as the Vinogradov porcelain, the early Russian porcelain is extremely rare.
The Fibonacci Pattern
On Her Majesty’s Own plate, the spiraling net of tiny rose flowers radiates from the center, imitating the Fibonacci pattern. The thirteenth century Italian scholar Leonardo Fibonacci discovered the mathematic sequence that governed many natural patterns such as pinecone and flower head structure. Early modern alchemists, scientists and artists were fascinated with the Fibonacci pattern reflecting the living geometry of the plant world.
The objects on display here were made under the supervision of Dmitry Vinogradov, the inventor of Russian porcelain and first director of the Porcelain Manufacture. Known as the Vinogradov porcelain, the early Russian porcelain is extremely rare.