Extremely Rare Porcelain Plates from the Russian Imperial Yacht ZABAVA (PLAY THING).
These dinner plates were made unusually heavy (weight – over 900 grams / over 2 pounds each) so they didn’t slide on the table.
The borders are inscribed in blue with the name of the yacht Забава between two blue naval signal flags.
The yacht ZABAVA was built in Finland in 1860 after the famous racing yacht AMERICA.
Above, is the racing yacht AMERICA, built in 1851, the first winner of America’s Sailing Cup.
Unlike other Russian Imperial yachts which were in fact large steamships (like ALEXANDRIA or STANDART), this was a very small yacht.
It was built for the ten year old Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich, brother of the future Tsar Alexander III. Grand Duke Alexei later became the Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy.
Obviously, the porcelain service of that small yacht was also very small. According to the book RUSSIAN IMPERIAL YACHTS OF THE LATE XVII – EARLY XX CENTURIES, there are no known porcelain pieces from the yacht ZABAVA in museum collections (see note on page 37).
The original service for the yacht was commissioned by Tsar Alexander II in 1862 and was given as a birthday gift to Alexei.
These plates are later replacements made by Kuznetsov porcelain factory.
Diameter 24,7 cm (9 3/4 in.)
Condition: light overall wear.
Blue Kuznetsov factory mark.