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     Home > IMPERIAL RUSSIA > Imperial Russian Antiques

    Silver cigarette case with multi-colored cloisonné enamel, by Aleksei Nasedkin workshop, St.

    Silver cigarette case with multi-colored cloisonné enamel, by Aleksei Nasedkin workshop, St. Petersburg, 1899 - 1903.

    Measures 70 mm wide x 106 mm long (with a "thickness" of approximately 20 mm); weighs 193.8 grams. Features beautiful cloisonné enamel decoration inspired by traditional folk art, popular among the Russian upper middle class at the turn of the century. No less than nine different colors of enamel are used: at least three shades of blue, two shades of purple, plus green, turquoise, white and red. The artwork is nevertheless nicely balanced and does not appear too busy or garish. The light purple cabochon thumbpiece in polished glass or stone adds a nice extra touch to the palette. The "88" sterling silver hallmarks are inconspicuously stamped on the sides at the joint of the two panels. They bear the "Kokoshnik" lady's head facing left and initials ЯЛ ("YaL") identifying the St. Petersburg assayer Yakov Lyapunov who held this position from 1899 to 1903. Next to the silver marks are hallmarks, poorly struck due to limited space but nevertheless legible as Cyrillic АН ("AN") of the St. Petersburg silversmith Aleksei Ivanovich Nasedkin that was in business from 1883 through 1908. Today, at least one example of his work - an oklad, i.e. icon cover - is in the GIM National History Museum in Moscow /see Russian Gold and Silverwork from the 15th to 20th Century , Postnikova-Loseva et al, C. 1995, Page 180/.

    The overall condition would rate as excellent. The case shows only minimal signs of wear and age: some tiny contact marks and imbedded dust in the recesses of the artwork that may clean off nicely. As is typical of most Russian cloisonné, there are random points where the enamel bubbled during the firing process, leaving a few tiny holes that are hardly larger than pinpoints. The enamel however is completely free of noticeable chips or significant flaking; nor are there any visible corner bumps or dents. The hinge in intact; although the alignment of the panels is not quite as tight as it probably was a century ago, the case opens and closes smoothly, and the catch works perfectly.

    The English mystery writer R. N. Morris has written a series of novels based on police investigator Porfiry Petrovich (a character lifted from Dostovevky's Crime and Punishment). Porfiry is a heavy smoker with an enameled cigarette case; every time he smokes in one of the stories, we imagine that his case looks like this.

    Item# 34994


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