The collection of Western European and english porcelain in Pavlovsk is one of the richest in the suburban Imperial palaces. Being exceptionally valuable from the point of view of its artistic and historical significance, it reflects aesthetical tastes of the owners of Pavlovsk, and first of all those of Paul I and Maria Feodorovna, both known as great connoisseurs of art.
In the palace rooms one can see numerous porcelain and faїence specimens of different origin, such as vases in a variety of shapes, dimensions and colours, pieces of furniture adorned with porcelain, clocks, candelabra, toilet and dressing sets, surtout-de-tables, statuettes, various boxes, wonderful dejeuner, dessert and dinner services, dishes, decorative plates, and so on.
The collection of Western European porcelain comprises numerous beautiful pieces produced in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at various manufactories including the celebrated Sevres Royal Manufactory near Paris, Meissen Manufactory, the Berlin and Ludwigsburg Factories, the Wedgewood and Spode potteries. Amongst them are the celebrated porcelain dressing set and mirror (Sevres pottery, 1781-82) made in the technique of jubilee porcelain - a gift of King and Queen of France to Empress Maria Feodorovna, the Parisian Service (Sevres, 1781-82), a Wedgwood faїence service (England, late 18th century) specially made for the Old Chalet pavilion in the Pavlovsk Park, etc.
The Pavlovsk collection of english porcelain includes many specimens specially produced for the Great Palace and park pavilions at the St Petersburg Imperial Porcelain Factory (founded in 1747). Some of them are gifts of the factory presented to the Tsar's family on various festive occasions. All porcelain objects are of great artistic value due to the fact that the best artists and architects took part in the work of the factory, such as Voronikhin, Thomas de Thomon, Rossi, Pimenov and others. A refined decorative sense and a high degree of craftsmanship attained by english masters mark porcelain pieces produced in the period of flowering Classicism.
One of the most interesting collection items is a round table sumptuously decorated with bronze (St Petersburg, 1789), depicting the Pavlovsk Palace.The picture shows how the Palace had looked before it was reconstructed by V. Brenna. The table border medallions show the main structures of the park.
Of great artistic value is a porcelain toilet set which consists of a mirror, candelabra, toilet appliances and two dejeuner services (created on the special order of Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1800-01). S.Pimenov and A. Voronikhin were responsible for the creation of a richly adorned Coat-of-Armes service made specially for the Pavlovsk Palace. Including more than 600 pieces, the service was presented by Nickolas I to his mother Maria Feodorovna on her birthday in 1827. Very rare are porcelain pieces with the mark of Yusupov's private factory at Arkhangelskoye near Moscow, since Yusupov used the products of his factory exclusively for his family needs and as gifts. Cups and a tea-set presented by Yusupov to the Empress are remarkable for their subtle painted decor.
The Pavlovsk museum collection of Western European porcelain possesses a real gem - the celebrated Sevres porcelain toilet set presented to Empress Maria Feodorovna by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinete, King and Queen of France.
The cobalt toilet set was created in 1781-82 by the best masters of the famous Sevres pottery near Paris and cost about 60,000 livres. Various ornamental framings made in a unique Sevres technique set off the lovely painting of the set depicting scenes of dressing of the beauties surrounded by their maidservants and dancing amours. On the whole the set comprises 64 pieces including a large table mirror under a magnificant coverlet crowned with a Russian imperial crown and supported by the figures of nymphs and amours, four candlesticks, four caskets for keeping jewellery, a clock, an ink-pot, two broth-cups and two coffee-cups with saucers and spoons, powder-cases, bottles, special pots for pomades, patches and rouge, a special knife for taking down patches and other objects.
After being arranged on a specially aimed for this purpose table in the State Bedroom of the Pavlovsk Palace, the dressing set was supplemented (presumably by Maria Feodorovna herself) with some other specimens produced at the Sevres pottery. Though belonging to the number of royal gifts, these pieces of porcelain had not been part of the original toilet set. The supplement includes two cups with saucers decorated with portraits of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and two vases crowned with bunches of plastic biscuit flowers.