Despite its comparatively small size-just over 370 items, dating mainly from the 18th century-the collection of British silver in the Hermitage is rewned for its variety and quality. Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, the introduction of European dining habits and Russian Anglophilia contributed to the acquisition of large quantities of British silver. Most of the pieces were functional rather than decorative, such as dinner or toilet services specially commissioned by members of the imperial family and the aristocracy. Marking the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum, this catalogue offers a grand presentation of these glorious silver items, supported by new research and documents. In her introduction, Marina Lopato details the complexities of Russian and Hermitage history to set the scene for the objects. Sumptuous illustrations showcase the exceptional nature of the Hermitage's British silver, most evident in four monumental wine coolers that are among the best kwn pieces of British silver anywhere in the world.
Marina Lopato is curator of European silver at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.