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Pair of Russian mounted malachite tazze



Pair of Russian mounted malachite tazze

A pair of Russian mounted tazze with malachite veneer and gilt bronze mounts. Each tazza’s shallow, malachite-veneered bowl is borne by a conical gilt bronze stem that stands upon a tall, malachite-veneered cube on an elevated square base with a gilt bronze border decorated with dependent palmette leaves.

The rich, lively colours of the malachite are the result of the high copper content of the material, which forms as stalagmites, yielding a rich variety of patterns and shades of green when the stones are cut. Originally, there were just a few known sources of malachite, llocated in the Middle East. Malachite was therefore a very rare material. Following the discovery of deposits in the Russian Ural Mountain in the seventeenth century, the industry and market for malachite objects grew significantly. Due to the material’s extreme fragility and costliness, processing and applying malachite required an exceptional amount of skill. This, as well as the high number of man-hours required to create large objects, helped ensure that malachite decorative objects were extremely exclusive.

The prominent Demidoff family from Russia had a malachite mine in the Urals, and founded a stone processing factory in Saint Petersburg in the early nineteenth century. The Russian tsars were charmed by the material and its luxuriant appearance, and began to order increasing numbers of magnificent vases and decorative objects to serve as diplomatic gifts, such as the grandiose vases at Windsor Castle, which were a gift to Queen Victoria from Tsar Nicolas I in 1839. This contributed significantly to the lofty, prestigious status of malachite objects.

Pair of Russian mounted malachite tazze
Price on request
Provenance
Partridge Fine Arts, London, 12 June 1998 Private collection, Amsterdam
Period
ca. 1820
Material
malachite veneer on basalt core, fire-gilt bronze
Dimensions
26 cm

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