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08.02.2024

The Amber Wonder, a porcelain tête-à-tête tea service exclusively made by St Petersburg’s Imperial Porcelain Manufactory (IPM) to commemorate the Amber Room's twentieth revival anniversary, was handed over to our museum by the IPM director Tatiana Tylevich on 8 February.

The porcelain set consisting of a teapot and two teacups with saucers is decorated with overglaze polychrome painting and gilding. It is based on the Armourial design first created by IPM in the second half of the nineteenth century and then renewed in 1996.The red-amber coating of a rich and noble shade is a perfect background to set off the roundels with carefully hand-painted fragments of inlaid and carved amber, including Empress Elizabeth Petrovna's monogram.

Like the Amber Room, the porcelain pieces are richly decorated in gilding bearing an intricate pattern engraved with an agate pencil burnisher. The teapot shows 1979–2003, the beginning and end dates of the grandiose restoration work.

The hand painting is done by IPM's head artist Nellie Petrova, an honoured artist of the Russian Federation and an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

As Nellie Petrova describes it, 'The restored Amber Room is always a great pleasure to look at. Truly an amber wonder, down to its restorers' hands, skills and knowledge of technology. It gives you a feeling of the warmth the sun once filled this amber with. I wanted to create a set depicting amber as a jewel. I drew no sketches and wanted the service to look high-pitched festive, like a celebration of the Amber Room's revival thanks to exceptionable craftsmanship and hard work.'

She painted the Tsarskoselsky Service for the St Petersburg Tercentenary and the Amber Room Revival in 2003, re-created some pieces of Elizabeth Petrovna's Private Service for the Tsarskoe Selo Tercentenary in 2010, and had a marvellous exhibition of her works in the Catherine Palace in 2019.

The Amber Wonder Service is on display in the Great Hall of the Catherine Palace till 25 February, together with other gifts from our Museum Friends.