Alexander’s victory over Napoleon was celebrated on a grand scale and commemorated in numerous works of art, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace being the most famous. Upon his return from France, the Emperor was presented with the famous Guriev Service designed in the Empire style.

The triumph over France spurred national pride, of which the Guriev Service stands as evidence. For the first time, the Guriev plates and decorative figurines featured Russian people and towns rather than customary French or Italian scenes. The Guriev Service was intended for use in the chief Imperial residence—the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg.

Other large palace services soon followed that were modeled after the Guriev. The Ropsha Service was commissioned for the Ropsha Palace, the last abode of Catherine’s unfortunate husband Peter III. The Mikhailovsky Service was used by Alexander’s younger brother, Grand Duke Michael in his Mikhailovsky Palace, now housing the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

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