Thursday, 25 August 2016
Court Ministry - Hofmarshal – Imperial Kitchen, Table Service (2)
A guest at the wedding of the Duke of Kent in London wrote on November 28th, 1934 “… St. James’s Palace … viewing of the wedding gifts presented to the Duke of Kent and Marina … Out of all the books … was a thick leather bound volume entitled ‘Russian Imperial Dinner Service’ …”
I was curious. Was the book an Imperial Russian edition or an English book, as the diary was in Russian?
The Ministry of the Court authorized the publishing of a number of books and catalogues by the Court and the Imperial Hermitage. I was familiar with Baron A. Felkerzam’s two volumes of the ‘Inventories of Silver in the Court of His Imperial Majesty’ in 1907.
Baron Felkersam’s 2 volumes (below).
I was unable to find, though researching Russian sources, a book with the title ‘Russian Imperial Dinner Service’.
I then switched my search to English. Et voilà, there was ‘The Imperial Russian Dinner Service / A Story of a Famous Work by Josiah Wedgwood’ by George Williamson, London, 1909 (photo below).
The book looks rather drab in the above photo; one of a limited edition of 300 copies.
Then I found that Queen Mary presented a copy of ‘The Imperial Russian Dinner Service’ to the Windsor Royal Library in 1951. The Queen’s copy was one of a special edition of 10 copies.
The gift to the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina was most likely another of the special edition of 10 copies. Do you know if the family still owns the volume?
Do you know which guest had given the gift? Many attendees were from former Royal Houses and coping with the difficult years of the Great Depression, an inspired gift.