Rare Russian Porcelain Group of Pranksters
Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II (1855-1881)
After a model by August Spiess, modeled as two boys beside a girl asleep on a bundle of wheat, on a circular naturalistic base, molded signature on the base, printed manufactory mark under base. Height 7 1/4 inches (18.4 cm).
The sculptor August Spiess (1817-1904) finished the Academy of Arts in Berlin and was invited to Russia in the 1840s to work on the renovation of the halls of the Winter Palace. By 1849, he was employed as a sculptor at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, and by 1853 as a model-maker. Continuing his work at the manufactory until 1897, Spiess authored the majority of its sculptural work during the second half of the nineteenth century. Children at play, putti, and mythological figures were the main subjects of his work.
Another version of this model by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory is illustrated in Gardner: XVIII - XIX: Porcelain Plastic Arts from Private Collections & Moscow Museums (Moscow, 2002), p. 83. For comparable groups of children playing by Spiess, see Christie's, London, November 28, 2016, lot 302, and Christie's, London, June 5, 2017, lot 279.
C Property from a Philadelphia Private Collection
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