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Russian Glassware

Russian craftsmen skilfully created glass jewellery, such as bracelets, beads and pendants. We can’t but underestimate the great influence of foreign masters, who held contracts in Russia.

One of the first Russian Glass Plant was established in the village Izmailovo, not far from Moscow. The luxury goods and articles of virtu for tsar's court were produced here. The foundation of the St. Petersburg Imperial Glass Plant started the new era of the glass-work production. Thanks to the new ideas and technologies Russia took one of the leading place in the Wold Market of Glass.

One of the most important techniques of decorating glassware was glass engraving, which helped in creation of antiquities that went down to European History of applied art. Engraved motives were appeared on vases, ceremonial smart gobllets, glasses and plates of Imperial Glass Plant


St. Peterrsburg Imperial Glass Plant. 1777 - 1917

Petersburg and the Petersburg Province were in the past noted for a well developed glass industry. Many districts of the Province of the capital had dozens of large and small glass works. The production of these factories was distributed through the entire north-west region and in St Petersburg itself. But high artistic levels were associated with those factories which were appointed to produce unique glass ware for the Russian Imperial Court.

During the time of Peter the Great, the tsarist family was provided with glass by the very old glass works in Yamburg and Zhabinsk, which prepared luxury articles for imperial palaces and for the town houses of high society in the capital.

In the mid-1730’s an English merchant named William Elmzel founded the St Petersburg Glassworks on the banks of the Fontanka River. In this factory he produced works for the Imperial Court and also goods for sale to the public. By an order of the Senate in 1755 the glass production was transferred out of the capital to the city of Yamburg, and in 1774 to the settlement Nazya, near Schlusselburg.

During the 1740-1770 years the Russian handicraft of engraving achieved perfection and splendor. Artists found how to make the image delicate and dainty, how to realize their own compositions on different topics in unity with forms of glass-ware. The bottoms of bowls were decorated with special “stain”, where air bubbles were seen.

In 1777 Empress Catherine the Great gave the factory in Nazya to Prince Grigory Potemkin, who then moved it to the settlement of Ozerki on his private estate. The year 1777 is officially considered the date when the Potemkin factory was founded. After his death, it was renamed the Imperial Glass Plant in 1792.

A special "Law on the Imperial Glass Plant" stated that this enterprise should produce "artistic works for presentation to the Imperial Court and to be granted to diverse persons and institutions in the Sovereign’s name from His Majesty’s Cabinet." All glassware was made in accordance with designs that received the Emperor’s approval, and also following models and drawings that had been confirmed by the Minister of the Imperial Household or the director of His Imperial Majesty’s Cabinet.

The creation of the Potemkin factory opened the new page of the Russian Glass History. Elegant and unique chandeliers, girandoles and sconces, produced there, were used in the main halls of Winter Palace decoration.

The creation of stained glass is a Russian glory. It appered during the classicism period and added color zest to interior.

In the beginning of the 19th century, the Imperial Glass Plant produced glass objects for display in both domestic and international fairs, for charitable lotteries and for the museums attached to schools of art and industry.

At the end of the 19th century the factory produced each year more than 20,000 items of different kinds of glassware for the various palaces, taking the leading place among the Russian anufactories. Gold and silver painting, picturesque sceneries and delicate image of the ancient world were a new stage in the History of Russian Glass.

Like the other Imperial Manufactories, over the course of its existence the Glass Plant was an artistic treasure of the capital that figured in all the guide-books to St Petersburg. Despite the long period of its successful operations, following the First World War and the Revolution, the general economic collapse meant there were no longer resources available to maintain an elite glass production. After several unsuccessful attempts to keep it going, the Imperial Glass Factory was shut down.

New life of Russian Glassware Plant

Traditions of the St. Petersburg Imperial Glass Plant and later the Leningrad Plant of Fancy Glass were regenerated and developed in the company “Macgrav” Ltd created in 1991.
Among articles of the workshop “Macgrav” there are with two-headed eagles, sets with scenes of hunting, souvenirs and Easter eggs in Faberge Style with hand made engraving, cutting and exquisite polishing.
The firm “Macgrav” collaborates with large museums of St. Petersburg and Moscow, such as Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Palace Museum in Peterhoff etc.
Mastery of artists and engravers makes it possible to fulfill any customer desire in glass and crystall, to restore ancient things.
Taking part in international exhibitions of England, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg and USA magnificent works of artists and engraves of the “Firm Macgrav” are repeatedly rewared by honorary diplomas.


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