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Milk jug 1880

Silver, parcel gilt | 9.5 x 11.0 x 7.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 49574

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  • A Russian silver and parcel gilt cream jug; the pear-shaped body cast and chased to resemble woven birch bark, fastened by small gilt staples, with plain borders; angular parcel gilt handle.

    Part of a service comprising a kettle and stand, teapot, coffee pot, cream jug, sugar basin and cover, cake basket and slop bowl. Struck with city mark of St Petersburg (1880), assayer's mark I. Yevstigneyev, and maker's mark, ЛГ.

    The freeing of the serfs under Alexander II in 1861 resulted in an intense interest in the lifestyle of the peasant in Russia. Serfdom had been in place officially since 1649, and a national census in 1857 recorded that more than one third of the population consisted of serfs.  Numerous motifs associated with peasant life appear on silver of the period, drawn from traditional wooden utensils, embroidered textiles or woven birch bark. The latter was particularly popular with goldsmiths, creating trompe l'oeil surfaces, cast and chased to resemble woven bark, often depicting the tapering ends of the strips and with illusionistic pins holding the bark in place included in the design. Woven bark was traditionally used for the creation of boxes, baskets and other containers, often combined with pieces of birch wood itself to give definition to the form. Many of the serfs of Russia also wore shoes of woven bark. Once translated into metal the decorative surface had little to do with function, and creating these objects in silver overturned their association with the serfs.

    Although works by the maker with the mark ЛГ are known in Russia, his identity has not yet been identified with certainty.


    Possibly acquired by Queen Alexandra

  • Medium and techniques

    Silver, parcel gilt


    9.5 x 11.0 x 7.5 cm (whole object)

    233.9 g (Weight) (whole object)

  • Place of Production

    St Petersburg [Russia]