A pair of Russian imperial vases that Sotheby's has described as "the most magnificent to come to auction" have sold well as part of the auction house's Russian Works of Art, Faberge and Icons sale.
The vases, dated 1833 and manufactured at the imperial porcelain factory in St Petersburg, sold for $2.2m, comfortably within the $2m-2.5m estimate at the November 26 sale in London.
The vases were produced under the rule of Nicholas I (1825-1855), which is considered one of the finest periods for porcelain production in Russia.
"The size and decoration of these vases make a bold statement, just as they did 180 years ago. We've called them 'magnificent' but that doesn't really do them justice. They are impressive on a truly Imperial scale," explained Sotheby's Darin Bloomquist, head of Russian works of art.
The lavishly decorated vases have separate designs, the first painted after The Concert by Anthonie Palamedes, by master porcelain artist Semyon Golov.
The second was painted by another master, Vasili Meshceriakov, though the original painting from which it draws inspiration is unknown. Both stand at 138cm tall.
Nicholas I had a special interest in porcelain production and was a keen patron of the arts. Vases of this size were normally presented to the emperor himself at New Years or Easter; he received 10 vases for Easter 1835 alone.
This week is Russian Art Week in London, with all the major auction houses holding sales. Christie's Important Russian Art sale on November 25 was highlighted by Ilya Mashkov's The Bathers, which sold for £4.1m ($6.6m).
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