The Imperial Porcelain Factory was founded in 1744 under the decree of Empress Elizabeth I of Russia. It was the first porcelain company in Russia and the third in all of Europe. Initially, the factory produced wares exclusively for the Romanov royal family and the Russian Imperial court. In 1806, with the imposition of Napoleon’s Continental Blockade, the import of porcelain to Russia was banned and competition between a variety of Russian private porcelain factories arose. The production line of IPM porcelain was divided into a department for producing expensive low-profit Royal presents and a department producing ordinary porcelain for consumers among the Russian nobility.
The production reached its climax under Nicholas I (1825-1855). The Tsar was a devoted patron of the factory; he took a personal part in the managing of IPM. The projects for porcelain items were handed to him for his confirmation. From the period of his reign IPM started to produce porcelain plaques and large porcelain items. A special method of gilding was invented. During the reign of Alexander II (1855-1881) the factory’s output considerably reduced. Under Alexander III (1881-1894) the factory started to work on large-scale projects. During the reign of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II (1894-1917) the factory ascended its peak in technique and technology.
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