Kirsten's Corner

Grachev Brothers "The Four Vices" Imperial Russian Enameled Cigarette Case


This is a beautiful example of a Russian Enameled Silver Cigarette Case.  It depicts in oval and rectangular enamel paintings on the front of the silver case, the four vices. Drinking (booze), horse races (sports), cards (gambling) and cabaret (women).  In the lower right side is the french word mes for my and 4 screws which in french is "Vis" or Vice for screw, so a pictogram of "My 4 Vices".  This was a popular theme among gentlemen at the time.

Masterfully made by the Grachev Brothers it bears the Imperial Warrant, the first Kokoshnik mark ( 1896-1908) and their makers mark. The lid has an applied gold monogram of TH and enameled cartouches depicting a horse, playing card, dancer and champagne bottle. With the imperial warrant this was most likely gifted by the Tzar to a friend or dignitary. 

This piece is in amazing condition, it opens and closes perfectly. The enamel is in perfect condition and the subject matter is fun and edgy fitting easily into the contemporary world. A perfect piece of history and a rare Grachev Bothers piece.  It is marked with '88' standard on interior and weighs 4 ozt or  (147.11 g). Width 3 1/2 inches x 3 3/4 inches.

Silversmith Gavrill Petrovich Grachev produced gold and silver items and the firm was established in St. Petersburg in 1866.

When the patriarch died in 1873 his sons Mikhail, Simon and Grigory took over the company and it became known as Grachev Brothers. Each brother used their own mark on artworks they produced, as the firm didn’t have a mark one of its own.

In 1886 the Grachev Brothers were made official supplier of the King of Denmark and in 1892, they were awarded the title of purveyor of the Imperial Court and were allowed to use the Imperial Warrant (a double-headed eagle) as part of their hallmark.

The brothers produced some of the finest enamel pieces of the era, known for their silver toilet, dining and tea sets, objects of vertu and jewelry. Faberge retailed their items as well.

The business closed in March 1918.


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