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Read about what the gold painting, blue border and red stamp tell about in the article.

Museum exhibits keep memories not only of their former owners – they can be used to study history, if desired. For example, a faience service that belonged to Elizaveta Efron (Durnovo), and later to her son Sergei Efron and his wife Marina Tsvetaeva, can tell not only about the happy and sad events in the life of two families, but also about the social and political life in Russia at the turn of the century. and also about one very famous old porcelain factory.

You can see the service in the House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva at the exhibition “From Gagarinsky to Trekhprudny”, which will last until September 1, 2022. You need a QR code to visit the museum.

Family service

A beautiful blue and white faience service made at the F.Ya. Gardner, stayed with Sergei Efron in memory of his beloved mother, whom he lost at the age of 16. The service has not been completely preserved, the surviving part of it is today in the House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva.

The plates have slightly wavy edges, along the side there is a blue border with a gold rim along the outer edge and an openwork geometric ornament in the form of isosceles triangles along the inner one. The set also includes a similarly decorated gravy boat with two handles and a removable lid. The items have a gold monogram – the initials “E.D.” (Elizaveta Durnovo) in Gothic type with a rose-gold crown above them.

Marina Tsvetaeva, whom Sergei Efron married in 1912, was very fond of this service. After the wedding, the couple brought with them to the common house many things from their homes. The service took its place of honor in the house in Borisoglebsky Lane, where the family moved in 1914, and was carefully preserved for many years. Family earthenware dishes were among the things that Marina Tsvetaeva took with her when she left Russia in 1922 (she left half of the service to her husband’s sister, Elizabeth Efron). Perhaps, looking at the openwork patterns, Tsvetaeva recalled the wonderful summer of 1911, when she met Efron in Koktebel.

Young Marina came there, like Sergei, at the invitation of the owner of the house, Maximilian Voloshin. He, a famous poet, critic, artist, was friends with the Efronov family of political emigrants during his life in Paris. And with Tsvetaeva, then a schoolgirl, he met after the release of her debut collection “Evening Album”, which he warmly welcomed in the press. From this review, an acquaintance began, which grew into a friendship for life. Tsvetaeva’s first collection by that time had won the favor of many writers, including Nikolai Gumilyov and Valery Bryusov.

Once, talking with Voloshin, the girl thought that she would connect her life only with the one who guessed her favorite stone from all the gems that the Koktebel coast was rich in. Efron in love did not just guess: he found and gave her a carnelian bead, which became one of the poetess’s most beloved gizmos.

From meeting to parting. Guide to the two new exhibitions of the Marina Tsvetaeva House Museum

Sergei Efron’s mother

Elizaveta Petrovna Efron, nee Durnovo, graduated from the Ger’e Higher Courses for Women (now the Moscow State Pedagogical University) in the 1870s. Having become interested in the revolutionary movement, she joined the populist society “Chaikovtsy”, later became a member of the anarcho-populist organization “Black redistribution”. She tried to help like-minded people as much as possible, including financially. In 1880 she was arrested while transporting illegal literature from Moscow to St. Petersburg and sent to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Released on bail made by her father, Durnovo went abroad, where Yakov Efron followed her – the young people met in Moscow at one of the conspiratorial meetings. He converted to Lutheranism, and after having children, they married in Marseille in 1885.

Yakov Konstantinovich eventually lost interest in politics, putting his family at the forefront. Elizaveta Petrovna, having raised older children (nine children were born in the family, but six sons and daughters survived, among whom Sergei Efron was the fifth), began to cooperate with the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, or Social Revolutionaries. In the house in Gagarinsky Lane, where the family lived, prohibited literature was kept. In 1906 she was arrested again and sent to Butyrka prison. After being released on bail, she went abroad, to France, together with her youngest son Konstantin, who was called Kotik in the family.

In 1909, the father of the family died of illness, and in 1910 there was a double tragedy – the suicide of Kitty and his mother. Sergei Efron, who was then 16 years old, suffered from tuberculosis, aggravated by the shocks. The Voloshin decided to warm him from the grief of losing his parents and brother and save him from illness and invited Sergei in the summer of 1911, together with his older sisters Lilya and Vera. But the real healing there for Sergei was the meeting with the love of his life – Marina Tsvetaeva.

Antique hallmarks

The service, which belonged to Sergei Efron, was produced at the Gardner porcelain factory, presumably in the 1870s and 1880s. On the reverse side of the plates and gravy boat, the brand has been preserved: a red stamp in the form of a two-headed eagle and an oval with the image of St. George the Victorious and the inscription “Factories. Gardner: to Moscow. No. I. OPAK “. Opaque is a rough type of earthenware. Next to the hallmark there are factory signs pressed into the mass: the image of George the Victorious, the inscription “F.B. Gardner “, an asterisk and the number” 50 “.

The plant was founded in 1766 in the small village of Verbilki, Moscow province. It was opened by a Russianized merchant from Scotland, Franz Gardner, who was previously engaged in the timber industry and sugar production. The place for the plant – remote and remote – was not chosen by Gardner by chance: it was easier to keep everything related to production secret from competitors. One of his secrets was a special clay for making porcelain, for which he spent a lot of time and effort. The workers, including painters and modelers, were chosen from those who lived nearby, but some of the craftsmen were discharged from Saxony.

Very soon, the Gardner plant won recognition, orders came even from the imperial court. The enterprise became an exemplary one, they were equal to it, its products were repeatedly noted at various exhibitions, including international ones. In 1833, earthenware items were also produced here – it is rougher than porcelain, it was easier to manufacture and cost less.

In 1856, the factory became a supplier to the court of His Imperial Majesty, and the Moscow coat of arms appeared on the porcelain products. This happened already with the descendants of Franz Gardner, who continued to develop his business. Although the main emphasis was still on tea ware, chandeliers, decor items and much more were created here.

In 1892, the plant was sold to the industrialist Matvey Kuznetsov, who kept production and even put the old hallmarks. After the revolution, the enterprise was nationalized, it became known as the Dmitrov Porcelain Factory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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