A porcelain 'moustache cup' and saucerImperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II

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Lot 173*
A porcelain 'moustache cup' and saucer
Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II

Sold for £ 1,402 (US$ 1,843) inc. premium
A porcelain 'moustache cup' and saucer
Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II
Cup of tapering fork, with hook handle and semicircular moustache guard attached to the rim, upper part outlined with gilded border of trellis and scrollworks centring the Cyrillic monogram 'Zh.V.", the porcelain guard decorated en suite with gilded dotted border and scrolls; saucer with identical decoration centring a gilded rosette; marked on undersides with underglaze factory marks and incised model numbers 41 and 43, in Wartski Ltd box (2)
height of the cup: 9.4cm (3 5/8in); diameter of saucer: 17cm (6 3/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Presumably acquired at Wartski Ltd, London
    Private American collection, California

    A very unusual example of porcelain made at the factory. Decorated with identical gilt trellis border and scrollworks that were used for the service known as 'Service for Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich' made by the Imperial Porcelain Factory prior to Alexander III acceding the Russian throne in 1883. The Cyrillic monogram 'Zh.V.' and the marks suggest that it was made after 1883 and was probably a gift from a member of the Russian Imperial Family to a male relative or close friend who possessed a highly prized moustache needed protection from a frothy or hot drink.

    Moustaches flourished throughout the Victorian era and almost every male member of the Russian Imperial family was wearing it. The fashion required that moustache wax was applied to the moustache to keep it stiff, with every hair in place. When drinking hot liquids, steam from the drink would melt the wax, which would drip into the cup. Originally invented around 1860 by a British potter Harvey Adams, the half moon-shaped porcelain ledge attached to the rim of the cups became a welcome addition to individual cups allowing the pampered moustaches to rest safely and remain dry on the guard while their owners sipped a hot beverage.
Contacts
A porcelain 'moustache cup' and saucerImperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II
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