• Sipiagin_Russian_Porcelain_2

Nineteenth century erotica can be very subtle. It is not about what it shows so much as what it suggests. That is the case with this made up pair, purchased separately a few years apart.

These were made after a form originally produced by N. M. Sipiagin, a Russian Private Factory, in the late 1820s. At the time, it was seen as a highly provocative and erotic piece. It had to do with the positioning of the legs.

Sipiagin had been in operation for only a few years in the late 1820s when it was closed for a period of twenty years. It reopened in 1850 and was in operation for another fifteen.

The examples seen here most likely date to the 1850s. These are smaller and more affordable copies made after the original. Both seem true in spirit to the earlier work. They are finely detailed and well coloured. Traces of guilding remain.

While they could have been made by another RPF, I suggest these are productions of the reopened Sipiagin factory.

The circumstances of the twenty year shut down are unknown to me. I assume that since it could reopen, the factory must have been intact.

Sipiagin’s son was in charge of the reopened factory for the first five years. Finished pieces may still have been in the family. Moulds and models may have remained. The younger Sipiagin might have wanted to make work based on his father’s. He might have wanted to capitalize on one of his father’s early successes by making scaled down and more affordable versions of it.

That is what I think these two boxes are — more economical versions of the original Sipiagin Reaperess made by the reopened factory. There are incised and enamelled numbers but no factory marks.

As always, looking for the proof to back up my theories or the evidence that blows it all away.

N.M. Sipiagin’s original was a masterpiece. Almost a hundred years after it was made, it inspired the great Natalia Danko in her work at the Lomonosov State Factory.

There is an example of the 1820’s box at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC. It is illustrated and discussed in Marvin C. Ross’s “Russian Porcelain” published in 1968. Examples of the Natalia Danko Reaperess can be seen online.