Gardner porcelain factory

The history

In 1766, the Russified English merchant Francis Jacob Gardner founded the first private porcelain factory in Russia in the village of Verbilki, Dmitrovsky district, Moscow province. To establish production F. Gardner invited I.-G. Miller, who worked at the Imperial Porcelain Factory and was familiar with the recipe of hard-paste porcelain developed by Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov, German porcelain painter I. Kästner was invited to teach painters.

In the early period of its activity, the Gardner Manufactory in Verbilki produced items (utensils and figurines) following the patterns of the famous Meissen porcelain factory.

In the 1770-1780s, on commission from Empress Catherine II, the factory produced four Order dinnerware set (St. George the Victorious, St. Andrew the First-Called, Alexander Nevsky, Vladimir the Great), intended for ceremonial receptions in the Winter Palace for the holders of the main orders of Russia. In 1785, the Moscow governor appropriated the company "the right to feature the image of St. George the Victorious in appreciation of its merits by the Court".

F. Gardner porcelain manufactory was one of the best private factories in Russia. During the 18th-19th centuries, the Gardner porcelain not only competed with the Imperial Porcelain Factory products, but also had a great influence on the items of numerous private porcelain enterprises, becoming a model to emulate. The factory produced porcelain, faience, opaque glaze, biscuit items. The main share of the products was tea and dinnerware sets, single-piece utensils, decorative plateaus, trays, vases, as well as diverse subject matter small statuary. The factory craftsmen mastered wide variety of porcelain decorating techniques: underglaze and overglaze painting, decal techniques, relief, and processing of sculptural details. Decorative subjects and themes were unusually diverse: flower garlands and bouquets, landscapes and architectural views of cities, portraits of the heroes of the war of 1812 and military plots, genre scenes and archetypal images, monograms and coats of arms of the noble families. Engravings, various book and magazine publications were the sources source of inspiration for the plots and images.

In 1856, the Gardner Porcelain Factory received the title of a Supplier of His Imperial Majesty Court that was confirmed in 1865, 1872, 1882 and 1896.

Until the early 1890s, the factory belonged to the descendants of the founder. In 1892, Matvey Kuznetsov purchased the enterprise, together with the factory patterns, molds, drawings and samples, as well as with the right to use the Gardner’s brand, from the last owner Elizabeth Gardner and reorganized into «M.S. Kuznetsov Partnership for the production of porcelain and faience ware".

After the revolution of 1917, the factory was renamed as the Dmitrov State Porcelain Factory. Currently, the enterprise is named “Gardner Manufacture in Verbilki” and is the Honorary Member of the Guild of Purveyors to the Kremlin.

Sources:
1. Bagdasarova I.R. Gardner Factory Order Dinnerware Sets [Electronic resource] // Collection - Electronic Journal - 03/12/2017– URL: https://sammlung.ru
2. Gardner. XVIII — XIX. Porcelain small statuary. M., 2002.
3. Gardner Manufacture in Verbilki. History: website. - URL: http://farforverbilki.ru/