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Empress Feodorovna of Russia

Empress Feodorovna of Russia, 19th Century, Porcelain with Enameled Metal Frame with Cabochons
E Laue


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Thomas W. Evans Collection

Maria Feodorovna, wife of the Czar Alexander III (Emperor of Russia from 1881 to 1894), is depicted in this framed porcelain portrait. Originally from Denmark, she was a loved and respected Czarina. The maker of the frame has been identified as E. Laue, while the artist responsible for creating Feodorovna’s likeness is unknown. The lack of brushstrokes on this piece suggests that a photo transfer technique was used to imprint the Empress onto the porcelain. This technique was patented in the 1850s and photo-ceramics became popular around 1860-1870, when gelatin was being used in photography. The technique was commonly used to print faces onto gravestones.  Maria Feodorovna’s royal cypher— a crowned “M”— is among the pieces displayed here, inscribed onto the footed porcelain dish.

Thomas W. Evans’ connection to the Czar and his wife may be related to his relationship with the Alexander III’s father, the Czar Alexander II. Records indicate that Evans corresponded with Alexander II’s court, and Alexander II met multiple times with Evans’ friend Napoleon III during the Crimean War. The two leaders’ negotiations led to a French and Russian alliance.