THE so-called Frog Service made by Wedgwood for Catherine the Great was one of the most prestigious creations by the Staffordshire entrepreneur and one that helped forge his international reputation.
Created in the firm's best selling Queen's ware (a type of
creamware), it was made in 1773-4 for the Empress's gothic style
Kekerekinsky (Frogmarsh) Palace conceived in the English taste.
The massive service, not far short of 1000 pieces, was
hand-painted with British topographical scenes and a green frog
crest executed by an army of decorators in Wedgwood and Bentley's
London studio. Although most of the service is now in the
Hermitage, some elements are outside Russia.
Two dessert plates painted with views of Burstall Abbey,
Yorkshire and Syon House, were sold by Christie's in
2001 and 2004, for example, for £14,000 and £17,000.
The example pictured here, which is a larger 11 1/2in (29cm)
wide serving plate, is painted with a View at Enville,
Staffordshire and numbered 311 to the reverse.
It was the highlight of the collection of Elizabeth Chellis, the
Wedgwood scholar, which featured in Skinner's sale
in Boston, Massachusetts on July 11 where it sold to a dealer for
$46,000 (£30,670) plus 18.5 per cent premium.
This particular plate is listed in the appendix of the Frog
Service book with the note: "The items in the first part of the
appendix are the pieces made for the Green Frog Service which were
eventually omitted for technical or other reasons when the service
was shipped to Russia".