Khlebnikov factory

The history

Partnership Ivan Khlebnikov, Sons and Co.

One of the leading Moscow jewelry firms - the Partnership Ivan Khlebnikov, Sons and Co. produced the most diverse products: from silverware to interior decorations of the Kremlin cathedrals.

The founder of the dynasty, Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov was born in 1819 in Moscow, in the burgher family in Luzhniki region. Practically nothing was known about his works until he established a private firm. It might be possible that the son followed up the father’s business. Piotr Khlebnikov had been enlisted in merchantry since 1832 and was the owner of the trading and manufacturing jewellery enterprise.

Very little is known about the firm history. According to some researchers, Ivan Petrovich was working in St. Petersburg until 1867. He founded the manufacturing firm in Moscow in 1870. He wrote, "being engaged in the silver and gold articles trading for about forty years, I opened a manufactory of my own...”. It is possible that in the 1830s, Ivan Khlebnikov already owned a shop, but later, at the turn of 60-70’s of the 19th century he opened the factory later.

One hundred people were working at the factory and the turnover of production was 56 thousand rubles in 1871. Since that time, the firm began to grow. Several shops were opened - a store at the Kuznetski Bridge in the house of Solodovnikov, a store on Ilijnskaya street, in the house of Novgorod courtyard in the silver gallery. New shops were opened in other cities: in Saint Petersburg in Nevsky Prospekt and in the main line of the Nizhny Novgorod fair.

The factory was well equipped with the latest technique suitable for all types of works, produced articles in all major art styles of the second half of the 19th - early 20th centuries. The Russian and Modern styles were very popular, as well as various historic styles: the Neo-Baroque, Neo-Rococo, and Neo-classicism styles.

In addition to the main factory with special space for painting and sculpture, about 200 workers were employed and the annual turnover reached 300 thousand rubles. Specialized workshops for stone cutting, metal processing, etc were organized. Khlebnikov matured as a jeweller, he regularly participated in various exhibitions. For the first time Ivan Petrovich exhibited his works together with P. A. Ovchinnikov at the Moscow Polytechnic exhibition in 1872. His works were awarded with two large gold medals.

The growing fame allowed the factory to receive the honorary orders. Together with the firm "Nicols and Plinke", as well as with the jewelers Pavel Akimovich Ovchinnikov (1830 – 1888) and Ivan Ekimovich Morozov (1825-1885) he was involved in the renovation of the Palace silver dinner sets.

Khlebnikov factory produced 160 new items of The Golden Set made by artists G. F. Eckart and J. G. Blom for the Anichkov and Gatchina palaces in 1759-1784. The missing items were created for other sets of those palaces. The Dessert set with the monogram of Catherine II, donated by Prince G. Potemkin was renovated. The Orlovsky dinner set was manufectured in 1772-1776. The Fourth Camping set was produced. It was submitted to the Imperial Palace in 1797 as a gift from merchant Glazunov.

Coffee pots, teapots, sugar bowls, milk jugs, teaspoons and spoons for salt, quadrangular flat serving dishes for several dinner sets from the Winter Palace on the old models were manufectured according to the old models.

From the first years of its existence, the factory gained the right to be ranked as the Supplier of the Imperial family due to high quality of the produced silver and gold items. Khlebnikov was the supplier of Grand Dukes since 1869. He was titled the supplier of the court of the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich in 1869, he was receiving orders to decorate the wardrobe of Her Majesty the Empress Maria Alexandrovna since 1873. This was an honorary distinction and evidenced his good reputation among the customers. Khlebnikov’s jewellery came to fashion. Having achieved recognition, Ivan dreamed of the honorable title "The Supplier of the Imperial Court". He wrote in 1875, "the right to be titled the Supplier of the court... will serve me and my heirs, the successors of my business – the most invaluable encouragement to continue honest labor and precious estimation of my firm". Finally, in 1879 he received the long-awaited title ‘The Supplier of Russian Imperial Court" and the right to put the national armorial bearings on his factory sign. The firm of Khlebnikov was awarded with the title of "The Supplier of the Danish, Dutch and Serbian Kings’ Courts", as well as "The Supplier of Montenegrian Prince Court".

Ivan Petrovich died in 1881, at the age of 62, was buried in the Spaso-Andronikov monastery. His sons inherited his business: Michael, Alex, Nicholas and Vladimir. 300 artisans were working at their factory "Partnership I. P. Khlebnikov, Sons & Co” in 1882. There were the goldsmiths, coppersmiths, chasers, haberdashers, enamellers and filigree artists. They represented all variety jewellery professions. The number of workers amounted 1,000 people.

The fame of the factory and its influence after the death of Ivan Petrovich did not diminished. Together with the best Moscow jewellery manufacturers, the firm participated in the decoration of the temple of Christ the Savior. The Khlebnikov family created nearly 50 religious objects according to their sketches and drawings: ostensories, chalices, Holy-water bowls, and jugs for Holy water, incense burners, serving dishes, and icon-lamps. Nevertheless, it was the mass-market production that mainly provided the financial wellbeing of the company. Large quantity of medium-priced silver objects, dinnerware, cutlery and jewellery was produced.

The trading-industrial enterprise under the name Partnership for production of silver, gold and jewellery “I. P. Khlebnikov, Sons and Co” was established based on the company. It expanded and assimilated the well-known jewellery shops and factories owned by Sazikov, both in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The catalog of M. M. Postnikov “Gold and Silver Manufacturing dated the 15th-20th centuries" notes that by 1897 the factory of the brothers Khlebnikov possessed two steam engines and one steam boiler. The annual turnover of their production reached the amount of 172 372 rubles. The achievements of the firm "I. P. Khlebnikov, Sons & Co" were distinguished in the development of Russian jewellery”. Ivan Petrovich was awarded with the bronze medal on the Anninskaya ribbon and five Golden medals. His elder son, Mikhail Ivanovich was awarded with the order of Stanislaus of the third degree in 1881 and was ranked as an honorary citizen of St. Petersburg in 1883. Other brothers were ranked as honorable citizens in 1887. The factory was closed on June 24, 1917. Under the will of one of the Khlebnikov’s brothers, the shares of the company were donated to Moscow county Zemstvo. The main enterprise was reorganized in the Moscow platinum factory in 1918. It produced all kinds of items for the electrochemical industry and research laboratories, and a small amount of silver jewellery, mainly utensils, cutlery and glass holders, which were marked "platinum-device". The memory remained from the firm P. Khlebnikov, Sons and Co”, jewellery treasures and the facade of the factory building on the crossing of Ryumin lane and Upper Radischevskaya street.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection