Porcelain, decorative plate
Artist/Maker: Imperial Porcelain Factory
Artist/Maker Dates: 1765 - 1917
Place and Date of Production: Russia, St. Petersburg, 1825 - 1855
Materials, technic: porcelain, underglaze painting, gilding
Dimensions: diameter - 24 cm.

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Imperial Porcelain (formerly the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory) was founded in 1744 in Saint Petersburg pursuant to a letter from Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great, suggesting how profitable it would be to start a porcelain factory. At the time the only porcelain available was from Asia, and sold for more than gold because it was believed porcelain could remove poison from food. It became thus the first porcelain manufactory in Russia and the third in Europe.

The time from 1750 through 1830 showed huge innovation in casting techniques, design, and coloration. The Imperial Porcelain Manufactory incorporated the rich heritage and creativity of Russian art in its works. This factory is known for it artistic integrity. Some of the artists who designed for this factory are T. Afanasjeva, G. Shulyak, N. Petrova, O. Matveeva, M. Sorokin, and S. Sokolov.

The factory was taken over by the State after the revolution of 1917 and continued operation until it was privatized in the 1990's. As privatization spread a group attempted to gain legal control in order to loot the factory of the priceless items in its museum. One of these items is the dinnerware of Catherine the Great. This attempt was thwarted by the State and the museum was given to the Hermitage. No longer having any interest in the factory this original group sold their ownership, and then the ownership was again resold. The company went through turbulent period of mis-direction. Today the company is owned principally by a Russian oil company that is attempting to restore its artistic production.

The Imperial Porcelain Factory, Russia’s oldest producer of fine china, turns 270 years on Sept.18. The creations of its masters are exhibited in the world’s best museums, sold at high-profile auctions, and set on the tables of international summits.

In the nearly 300 years of its existence, the factory has expanded to five-and-a-half hectares and influenced the local toponymy: It is neighbored by the Farforovskaya Railway Station (farfor is the Russian word for porcelain), the Farforovskoye Cemetery, and the Farforovsky Overpass. The St. Petersburg subway station closest to the factory was also named in its honor: Lomonosovskaya (the factory was called Lomonosov during Soviet times).