Department of Glassware and Ceramics

The ceramics and glassware collection was dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It stems from the collections donated by outstanding Russian collectors P.I. Shchukin and A.I. Bakhrushin. In 1940 it became an independent department. Over the 130 years the Department has gathered one of the largest collections (more than 36 thousand pieces) which contains porcelain, faience, majolica, facing ceramics and glass objects, most of which are Russian by origin and represent the entire range of types, shapes, techniques and artistic solutions known to exist for these types of materials. An invaluable contribution in the history of the Department’s foundation and subsequently its collection, exhibition and research activities was made by its employees: A.B. Saltykov (1900–1959), E.K. Muromtseva (?), Z.G. Ovsyannikova (1897–1965), I.M. Sokolova (1896-1960), N.A. Asharina (1938–1992).

The Collection of Russian Porcelain of the 18th–20th centuries contains porcelain items manufactured at the Imperial Porcelain Factory and Russia’s private porcelain production facilities. The subject collections are extremely significant. They include works devoted to the Patriotic War of 1812, porcelain sculpture of the late 18th – early 20th centuries, collection of memorable objects of the 19th and 20th centuries related to the anniversaries in the history of Russia. The Soviet part of the collection is represented by the author’s samples of decorative porcelain works including a rare collection of “agitation porcelains” of the 1920s (by V. Kandinsky, S. Chekhonin and N. Suetin) and a collection of mass production thematic objects of the 1930s.

The Collection of Russian Majolica and Semi-faience of the late 18th-early 20th centuries. Among its items there are collection of folk design majolica and semi-faience of the second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries, alone in the number of extant objects. The diversity of shapes (kumgans and kvassniks, jugs, bratinas (bowls), plates, figurate vessels, objects of minor arts) and decoration sets these artworks apart from European ceramic works of the kind. The decorative majolica of the 19th and 20th centuries is represented by works of the Abramtsev Ceramic Workshop, among them there are works of art by the famous artist M.A. Vrubel. The pottery of the Stroganov Technical Drawing College created its works in Russian style.

The Collection of Coarse Ceramics of the 19th and 20th centuries typifies ethnic ceramics of the majority of peoples lived in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The collection of folk clay toys is numerous and compositionally various.

The Collection of Russian Fine Faience dating to the 19th and 20th centuries. A large share of the collection is fine faience works manufactured at the famous Russian factories such as Kiev-Mezhigorsk, Auerbach, S.Y. Poskochin, M.S. Kuznetsov and numerous peasant and merchant production facilities of Gzhel.

The Collection of Russian Facing Ceramics is one of the largest in the country. Rare monumental slipware artworks dating to the 16th century are represented by the icons “Crucifixion” and “Holy Mandylion of Edessa”. Wonderful samples of architectural pottery of the 17th century are panels, representing the evangelist Luke by the artist Stepan Ivanov, and fragments of the tilework decoration of the Central Drugstore in Red Square. The collection consists mainly of painted stove tiles of the 18th century. In 1888–1891, a unique ceramic decoration for a dining-room in Russian style was performed for M.S. Kuznetsov’s house by the famous Russian architect F. Shekhtel. Among the most valuable collectibles there are fireplaces made by the Abramtsev Ceramic Workshop at the turn of the 20th century.

The Collection of Russian Glassware is one of the three largest Russian collections along with State Hermitage, State Museum of Ceramics and manor “Kuskovo” collections. The collection of folk design glassware with enamel paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries is unique because of its composition and numbers (pail-size bottle picturing the scenes of the Scripture history of Joseph the Beautiful, large bottle with the scene of the Gangut Battle of 1714, the rarest specimens of hot-glass glassblowing); collection of so called “amusing vessels” of the late 17th and early 18th centuries created at Izmailov’s plants of Czar Alexei Mikhailovich. The Russian colourless engraved glassware of the 18th century represented by works of all famous Russian glass factories of the time is a true honour to the collection. The collection of the stained glassware of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and the collection of crystal- and glassware of the 19th and early 20th centuries (including memorable souvenirs of the War of 1812, services and pieces made for the Emperor’s house) are notable for their high quality. A special place belongs to the carefully selected collection of works of authorship by glazier artists reflecting all glassware artistic and stylistic trends of the 1960–1990s.

The Collection of Ceramics and Glassware performed at European Factories. The collection of West-European porcelain objects contains precious works of early porcelain manufactures of Meissen and Berlin. Among them there is a unique exhibit – Meissen porcelain service of the early 1770s made for Prince A.G. Orlov-Chesmensky. In the collection there are also wonderful artworks of Italian majolica dating to the 16th century, German stoneware of the 18th and 19th centuries, English faience ware of the famous Wedgwood plant and French fine faience ware of the 19th century. The collection disposes of works produced by all essential schools of Western-European glassmaking of the 18th – 20th centuries. The collections of German and Bohemia glassware and a small but very interesting collection of works of art of French firms of Gallé and Daum of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are distinguished by their special completeness and quality features.

Current exhibitions