Imperial Porcelain Factory

Imperial Porcelain Factory


Many still refer to the factory by its well-known former name, Lomonosov Porcelain Factory.

Imperial Years

Founded in 1744, the porcelain factory was created by the order of Empress Elizabeth to "serve native trade and native art." [The Lomonosov Porcelain Story, [] , accessed 18 June 2007] The factory produced wares exclusively for the ruling Romanov family and the Russian Imperial Court.

About one hundred years after its founding, the factory gained the name "Imperial Porcelain Factory" (IFZ - "Imperatorskii Farforovyi Zavod"). It then began to produce and market porcelain for sale to wider markets.

After the Revolution

With the abolition of the Russian monarchy in 1917, the Imperial Porcelain Factory was renamed "State Porcelain Factory" (GFZ - "Gossudarstvennyi Farforovyi Zavod") by the Bolshevik regime. [The Lomonosov Porcelain Story, [] , accessed 18 June 2007] During the early years of the Soviet Union, the GFZ produced so-called propaganda wares, ranging from plates to figurines of the Soviet elite. [After the October Revolution, [] , accessed 18 June 2007]

In 1925, on the occasion of the 200th jubilee of the Russian Academy of Science, it was given the name of the academy's founder, Mikhail Lomonosov. It became known as the Leningrad Lomonosov Porcelain Factory (LFZ - "Leningradski Farforovyi Zavod imeni M.V. Lomonosova"). [Porcelain of the Czars, [] , accessed 18 June 2007] The newly-christened Lomonosov factory produced a range of wares, including collectible animal figurines and dinner sets.

Its best-known pattern, cobalt net, first appeared in 1949, based on a set made for Catherine the Great. The handpainted pattern is a combination of intersecting lines of cobalt blue with inverted tear drops of cobalt blue (made from mineral cobalt) and 22 karat gold accents. [About Lomonosov Porcelain, [] , accessed 18 June 2007]

After the Soviet Era

LFZ became privatized in 1993 as the "Lomonosov Porcelain Factory." At that time, wide exports began to countries unfamiliar with Lomonosov wares, particularly the United States and Japan. In 1999, an American investing firm was formed to buy a controlling interest in LFZ. This prompted a long legal battle in Russia, made headlines in international business journals, and ultimately resulted in a legal victory for the American investors. According to some, the American investing firm's primary goal in the venture was to obtain the factory's priceless museum collection. The Hermitage Museum took over the collection, however, and the American firm lost interest in the company, with ownership eventually passing to a Russian Oil Company, Nikoil. ["Business Week" article, 13 December 1999 issue, "So You Think You Own a Russian Company?", [] , accessed electronically 18 June 2007]

Return to Old Name

On 29 May 2005, the stockholders of Lomonosov Porcelain Factory passed a resolution to return to their pre-Soviet name, the Imperial Porcelain Factory. ["Press Releases" archive, Official Lomonosov Porcelain Factory website, [] , accessed 18 June 2007 ("in Russian")]

Post-Soviet Backstamps

The first post-Soviet export backstamp was a red LFZ monogram, with "Made in Russia" stamped in red. After 2002, a new export backstamp appeared which featured a blue LFZ monogram along with the words "Hand Decorated, 1744, St. Petersburg, Russia." The post-2005 pieces are stamped "Imperial Porcelain, 1744, St. Petersburg," along with the double-headed imperial eagle.

For more information on IFZ backstamps, visit: [ Old fashioned backstamps of Russian Imperial Porcelain Manufactory ]

[ Russian Backstamps] .


External links

Official IFZ Factory Website: [ Imperial Porcelain Factory] ("in Russian")

IFZ Factory Representatives for North America: [ Berta Hedstrom] [ Ekaterina's Imperial Porcelain & Tea]

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