Sale: Sotheby’s Zurich, 22 November 1978, lot 52
Rostropovich – Vishnevskaya collection
Russian Art Exhibition, London, 1935, no 184
An important Russian Imperial presentation parcel-gilt silver kovsh of traditional shape with a raised prow and handle. The handle cast with a crown and a medallion of an Imperial double-headed eagle; the interior of the bowl likewise embossed with an Imperial eagle enclosing a portrait of Peter the Great, after the painting by Kneller. The exterior sides engraved with Old Russian dedication inscription dated 7 August 1709. The finial cast as a pine-cone.
According to its inscription, the kovsh was a gift ‘from Peter the Great to the Muscovite gentleman Simeon Simeonovitch Lugovsky following his successful trade mission to China.’ The present piece relates in form to the few known surviving kovshes produced by Moscow workshops in the 16 – early 18th centuries. At that time, it was common practice for such luxurious vessels to be presented as honorary gifts to those in the service of the state of the appropriate rank.
For similar Imperial presentation kovshes, see Z. Bernyakovich, Russian Silver Wares of the XVII – Beginning of the XX Century in the State Hermitage Collection, Leningrad, 1977.