Raphael Service is the most significant ceremonial service of the late 19th – early 20th century commissioned in 1883 for the Tsarskoselsky Palace. The project was elaborated under the supervision the Chief Painter, Leonard Schaufelberger. The final project of the Raphael Service was elaborated in keeping with the instructions of Emperor Alexander III. Its ornamentation was executed following the drawings after the frescoes by Raphael in the loggias of Vatican.
The service is densely painted in bright colors with ornamental designs and allegorical compositions which were derived from frescoes by Raphael in the loggias of the Vatican. The motifs of the decor vary, but the general compositional scheme remains the same. A special calligraphic mark with lavish ornamentation was designed for the Raphael Service which in itself stands out for the splendor and sophistication of this decor. Their drawings are in the collections of the Porcelain Factory Museum Department in the Hermitage.
In the course of production, parts of the service were annually presented to the Emperor as Christmas gifts. The project took twenty years to complete. In 1903, the service comprising fifty table settings at a cost of 125000 roubles was completely finished and deposited at the Storeroom of Winter Palace. In 1904, the service was transferred to the Anichkov Palace, where it was at the disposal of Empress Maria Fedorovna.