Ovchinnikov, Pavel Akimovich

Ovchinnikov Pavel Akimovich - the founder of gold and silver jewellery manufacturing factory, one of the largest Moscow jewellry firms in the second half of XIX – early XX century. Years of life 1830-1888.

The history

Pavel Akimovich Ovchinnikov bondman of Prince Volkonsky, showed talent for drawing while he was a child. Being a teenager he was sent to Moscow for eight years as an apprentice in the workshop, manufacturing gold and silver items, which belonged to his brother A.A. Ovchinnikov. As a brilliant student, P. Ovchinnikov was manumitted. In 1850 he married. Taking 1000 rubles as his wife dowry he opened a workshop which later turned into one of the major jewellery companies in Moscow

In 1851 he opened a manufacture which by 1853 grew up to the factory of gold and silver jewellery. The business developed successfully. Annual turnover of the factory amounted to 250 thousands rubles, and in 1854 - 1, 5 millions rubles. Since 1865 the firm had been constantly participating of all-Russian and international exhibitions, its products were always awarded with the highest awards – gold and silver medals, including the Legion of Honor (Paris, 1867), Iron Cross (Vienna, 1873). The company products gained world popularity for the revival and development of the national style, fine quality, especially in respect of the enamel items.

From 1865 the firm became the Supplier of the Imperial court (the title was confirmed in 1881 and 1896). The affiliated branch was opened in St. Petersburg in 1873. In 1878, it became the official Supplier of the court of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich. In 1875, the master opened his own jewellery school for taining the goldsmiths and silversmiths intended for 130 talented children. The school was awarded with a silver medal at the exhibition in 1882.

Contemporaries of the manufacturer considered that his greatest merit was the development enamel production in Russia. The masters from the Ovchinnikov manufacture were among those who began creating items using the complicated stained-glass enamel. It should noted that the enamel could be very tiny as well as dominate over the metal. Paying tribute to a new “chinoiserie" fashion style Ovchinnikov’s craftsmen were among the first to create items in the Oriental style, covering them with enamel varnish and decorating lavishly.

Enamel on Ovchinnikov’s items was often found side by side with other techniques, for example, the combination of enamel with niello. Thus, at the Moscow Polytechnic exhibition in 1872, visitors were impressed by the exhibited Ovchinnikov’s set, decorated with niello medallions Moscow sights and enamel ornament.

P. Ovchinnikov used models of famous sculptors, architects, drawers and draftsman, such as V. Borowskiy, I. Bannikov, E. Lanceray, A. Aubert, D. Chichagov, I. Monighetti, G. Hartmann, A. Zakharov, S. Komarov, and L. Dahl in his work. Painter and sculptor A. Zhukovsky was his permanent employee. E. Lanceray and G. Hartmann were among the artists who created models for him.

The golden age of the company can be attributed to 1870-1880. After the death of Pavel Ovchinnikov in 1888, his sons inherited the firm. At the exhibition in Paris in 1900, they exhibited silver items, which drew attention "due to the novelty of painted enamel and technical complexity in the process of manufacturing these objects".

The firm existed until 1917