History of Imperial (Lomonosov) Porcelain - 10

The beginning years of the Imperial Porcelain Factory are closely connected and often referred to as Vinogradov period. Dmitri Vinogradov developed the formulas of the Russian Imperial Porcelain as well as set up the entire factory production.

Empress Elizabeth, Peter the Great’s daughter commended her Cabinet to open the First Russian Porcelain Manufacture. Initially, the noblemen searched for help from European experts. It is important to note that in the 18th century very few people were knowledgeable about porcelain production. The only two factories in Germany and Italy kept the secret of porcelain production firmly. Consequently, having a porcelain manufactory brought special pride and respect to the entire country.

Empress Elizabeth entrusted Baron Cherkasov with the development of the porcelain factory. Cherkasov hired Christoph Hunger who assured the Baron he would launch the production. However, after four years of failures Hunger proved himself useless in the porcelain business. Then the Baron turned to a young Russian scientist Dmitri Vinogradov, who was already engaged in porcelain composition analysis at the Factory.

Dmitri Vinogradov was born in 1720 in Susdal. His fathers sent the talented child to the Slav-Greek-Latin Academy, where Vinogradov studied history, geography, politics, philosophy, Latin and mathematics. Later in the course of his studies, Vinogradov along with 11 other best scholars of the Academy was sent to Europe to expand his education. Vinogradov studied chemistry, physics, geometry and mining in the German University of Marburg. When Hunger was dismissed, Vinogradov accepted all the responsibilities for the Factory.Not only was he working on the development of the chemical formula and baking systems for the porcelain, he managed financial spending of the factory. The initial difficulty was obvious. Vinogradov was not familiar with an accurate chemical formula and with the secret of baking the porcelain such as proper oven shape and temperature. However, by 1748 Vinogradov was able to produce small items such as cups, saucers and teapots of proper white and thin porcelain. In 1748 he began building a large oven in order to produce big items such as dinner plates. By 1751 the quality of porcelain accessories became so good that the snuff boxes were presented to the royal family. Later many rich and noble people hurried to purchase the snuff boxes for personal use. Unfortunately, Vinogradov suffered from a severe alcohol addiction. During the beginning years of the factory he was occupied with the chemical and baking experiments that the addiction weakened. However, in 1751 hard drinking periods lasted for weeks. According to Baron Cherkasov during these times Vinogradov became dangerous for the Factory and for himself. Baron was forced to limit Vinogradov in freedom and obligate the scientist to record all the formulas and recipes of porcelain. Additionally, Cherkasov could no longer trust Vinogradov with overall management of the factory. A number of managers came and went from the factory until Vinogradov gained self control by 1757. In august of 1758 he became sick and unexpectedly passed away. Regardless of the period of his life disturbed by alcoholism, Vinogradov remains one of the most important persons in the history of Russian Imperial Porcelain.
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