Description: NINE SILVER DINNER PLATES FROM THE YUSSUPOV "SCANDINAVIAN" SERVICE, ALEXANDRE GUEYTON, PARIS, 1843-63
the center of each plate engraved with a lion rampant below a princely crown surrounded by the Cyrillic inscription, "Prince Nicholai Borisovich Yussupov, Princess Tatiana Alexandrovna Yussupova," the border of each plate decorated in high relief with birds and exotic animals, struck with import marks for St. Petersburg, late 19th century.
Prince Nicholas Borissovich Yussupov and Princess Tatiana Alexandrovna Yussupova (de Ribeaupierre)
Princess Zinaida Yussupova who married Count Félix Soumarokoff-Elston
Prince Nicholas Borisovich Yussupov was a distinguished soldier, patron and philanthropist. He not only fought in the Crimean War himself but also personally financed field hospitals, ambulance trains, and rehabilitation centers for Russian soldiers in the conflict. He was a privy councilor, grand master of the court, and a vice director of the Imperial libraries. He wrote a history of the Yussupov family, which may have inspired the traditional Russian/Scandinavian design of the service. His wife, Countess Tatiana de Ribeaupierre, was a famous beauty from an Alsatian family related to the Potemkins, Trubetskoys, Sheremetievs, and Cantacuzènes. Her health was delicate and the couple spent much of their time traveling abroad and at their Swiss residence on the banks of Lake Geneva.
Import marks indicate that this French-made service entered Russia in the late 19th century, possibly after the death of Prince Nicholas Borisovich in Baden-Baden, or slightly later after the death of his mother, Princess Zenaida Yussupova, in Paris in 1897. It joined the other possessions of Prince Nicholas' daughter Princess Zenaida Yussupova and her husband Count Félix Soumarokoff-Elston. In the fall of 1917, as the Russian Revolution progressed, their son Prince Félix Yussupov (who had helped assassinate Rasputin a year before) concealed parts of the family collection in the basement of their palace on the Moika Canal in St. Petersburg. About 100 packages of silver were part of the trove, discovered by the Soviets shortly thereafter. Félix then went on to the family's Moscow house, a former hunting lodge of Ivan the Terrible, where with the help the major-domo Gregory Boujinsky he walled off a room under a staircase to conceal jewelry, silver, and objects. Although tortured to death by the Bolsheviks, Boujinsky did not reveal the cache. It was only discovered in April, 1925, when photos show elements of the Scandinavian service (flatware, stands) among the treasure.
The punch bowl from the service is preserved in the Hermitage, but at least portions of the service were turned over to Antikvariat. Part of the flatware was purchased by an American in Russia in the late 1920s and later given to the Taft Museum, Cincinnati (offered Christie's New York, October 21, 2003, lot 136). A tureen, cover and stand were sold Sotheby's New York, May 20, 2004, lot 163, and other pieces are known in private collections.
Dimensions: diameter 9 7/8 in. 25.4 cm
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