Exhibit in detail: platter in the form of three folded napkins

Maslenitsa (Pancake Day) in Russia has always been met with fun, outdoor amusements pancakes, which symbolize the round and ruddy sun. This Slavic holiday since pagan times has symbolized the beginning of spring. People believed that beautiful and tasty pancakes would help to blandish the sun, which would warm the earth and give a rich harvest. It was believed that the more pancakes a hostess bakes, the brighter and more varied the table on Pancake Day is served, the richer the whole year will be.

Today, at the beginning of the Maslenitsa week, our traditional column "Exhibit in details" features silver platter with the hinged lid in the form of three folded napkins, made by Nickols and Plinke firm1) in 1846. The platter is made in the "Russian style" in the form of three folded linen napkins on round plate with ornately shaped rim.  The top square napkin with the hinged lid served as a container for pancakes (or truffles). Pancake (truffles) were supposed to be served hot, so there was a special inset inside the platter to keep hot water between the walls and the tab at the right temperature.

Two similar dishes are stored in the collection of the State Hermitage. The first was made by Ivan Sazikov firm in 1849, and the second – in 1850. It was named the "pancake plate" and made by the London “Hunt & Roskell” firm (26x26). The same plate, from the service of Grand Duchess Catherine Mikhailova, is stored in the State Historical Museum.

The catalogue description of the English-made platter noted, “the sample of a platter "with a napkin" was probably the first to be made by the firm of Ivan Sazikov... This idea was also developed by other enterprises, and the exact purpose of such plates is not defined, so they are called differently: a plate for truffles, a box for chestnuts” 2). The fact that the model was repeated by different craftsmen. The fact that the model was repeated by different masters testifies to its demand and popularity among customers. In addition, in 1849, a similar dish was exhibited at the All-Russian Art Exhibition.

1) Nickols and Plinke firm (1829 – 1898) was one of the most famous St. Petersburg silverware firms. The owners of the firm, William Nickols and Konstantin Plinke, were natives of England. The firm "Niсkols and Plinke" was in fact a monopoly on the supply of highly artistic silverware for the imperial court. Art products made by the firm are presented in the museum Collection section "Russian Metal Artworks".

2) Cited from: Lopato M.N. British silver. Catalogue of the collection. SPb.: The State Hermitage publishing house, 2013. С.271. Cat. 97/10