Ovchinnikov factory

The history

Ovchinnikov Pavel Akimovich - the founder of gold and silver jewellery manufacturing factory, one of the largest Moscow jewellery firms in the second half of 19th – early 20th centuries. Years of life 1830-1888.

Pavel Akimovich Ovchinnikov was the bondman of Prince Volkonsky. He showed talent for drawing while being 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 factories in Moscow

In 1851, he opened a workshop that 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 –up to 1.5 million rubles. Since 1865 the factory 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), the Iron Cross (Vienna, 1873). The company products gained world popularity for the revival and development of the national Russian style, fine quality; especially it refers to the enamel items.

From 1865, the factory became the Imperial Court supplier (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 Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich court. In 1875, the master opened his own jewellery school for training goldsmiths and silversmiths for 130 talented children. The school received the silver medal at the exhibition in 1882.

The manufacturer’s contemporaries considered that his greatest merit was the development of enamel production in Russia. The masters from the Ovchinnikov factory were among those created silverware and jewellery using the complicated stained-glass enamel. It should be noted that 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 neighboring side by side with other techniques, for example, combination of enamel with niello. Thus, at the Moscow Polytechnic exhibition in 1872, the visitors were impressed by the exhibited Ovchinnikov’s set, decorated with niello medallions with the sights of Moscow and enamel ornamentation.

In his works Pavel Ovchinnikov used the sketches of the famous sculptors, architects and painters such as V. Borowskiy, I. Bannikov, E. Lanceray, A. Aubert, D. Chichagov, I. Monighetti, G. Hartmann, A. Zakharov, S. Komarov, and L. Dahl. 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 the 1870-1880's. After the death of Pavel Ovchinnikov in 1888, his sons inherited the factory At the Paris exhibition of 1900; they exhibited silver items, which drew attention "due to the novelty of painted enamel and technical complexity in manufacturing these objects".

The factory existed until 1917.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection