Grand collection of Russian art for sale

Alexandre Popoff was one of the great treasurers and celebrators of Russian art of all kinds, and now the Galerie Popoff's collection is up for auction.

The collection boasts a variety of C18th porcelain pieces, some commissioned by great historical figures such as Catherine the Great and Tsar Nicholas II. 

There is a unique cup and saucer created for Catherine the Great's Coronation (est £150,000-170,000) and part of a collection commissioned for the future Paul I (est £200,000-300,000).

The textiles and embroidery are some of the least expensive pieces in the auction, but will be of great interest to any historian. The complex and specific colours and patterns tell very explicit stories about the wearer's provenance as well as their wealth.

Some of the better examples cost a few thousand pounds.

The art is dominated by watercolours, another passion of Popoff's, mostly from the first half of the C19th, and encompasses most of the greats, including Alexander and Karl Briullov, and Vladimir and Edward Hau.

Vladimir Hau's painting of the Natalia Nikolaevna Pushkina (est £120,000-160,000) is an attempt to capture the great beauty which the poet Alexandr Pushkin fought and died for.

Infuriated by the attentions of a Baron in his young wife, Pushkin challenged him to a duel and died from his injuries.

A different sort of art work is architect Auguste Montferrand's original technical drawing of the Nicholas I monument in St Petersburg (est £60,000-90,000). This is of particular interest this year in the monument's 150th anniversary.

Galerie Popoff - An Enduring Passion for Russian Art will take place in London on October 12 and 13 2009, with the porcelain dominating the first day and the art and other pieces available on the second. 

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