History of Imperial (Lomonosov) Porcelain - 12

The porcelain production processes improved scientifically during the reign of Catherine the Great. The factory still followed the legacy left by Vinogradov. Some of the improvements include new clays used in porcelain mass. The factory also built a mill to facilitate the pounding process and enable more production. When the factory hired a European master Regensburg, the proportions of the porcelain paste changed to become more like Chinese porcelain. The baking processes have not changed much from Vinogradov techniques. However, a bronze department was added to the factory to implement metalwork into porcelain items.

During Catherine the Great period the factory followed two directions of production commercial and high end porcelain. The former often lacked the quality of the later. Fortunately, the Factory had a stable demand from the Royal Court. This allowed the Factory to focus on producing high end porcelain with true artistic value. The style of the high end porcelain reflected the trends of European decorative art. This tendency can be explained by overall acceptance of European Art in Russia and by the fact that most of the artists at the factory were invited from Western Europe.

It is interesting to note that Catherine the Great encouraged the factory to develop an original and unique style of art. It became a contemporary trend latter imitated by other porcelain manufactures to depict various social group representatives in sculpture or in paint. Also, many dinner sets and sculpture portrayed significant events happening in the country. For example, a famous Arabesque dinner set included sculptures such as “Crimea under Catherine II” or “Georgia under Catherine II”. Others items showed Catherine signing important governmental papers. At this time Rachette a European artists found recognition by making the Arabesque set. Rachette also created a series of ethnographical sculptures that depicted various ethnicities that lived in Russia at the time. Lastly, Vases became an important segment of Imperial Porcelain Factory. They were made in various shaped and sizes. They were completely different from the traditional English vases.

Overall, Catherine not only helped the factory gain back its financial stability, she also encouraged artistic growth within the decorative art in Russia. As the production processes and the quality of the porcelain improved, the artists were able to create true masterpieces of porcelain art. In the beginning part of Catherine’s reign, the factory followed the general trends of the Eupopean decorative art. However, in the second half of the reign, artists added unique and original features to the porcelain art pieces.
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