In the 16th and 17th centuries, Solvychegodsk, or Usolsk as it was then known, was a commercial, handicraft, and cultural hub of Northern Russia and especially famous for these wares typically decorated to a white ground with colourful flowers, exotic birds and characterful folk portraits.
It was this category of wares that so often inspired the Imperial workshops in the late 19th century.
Usolsk enamels are rare visitors to the UK auction market but, courtesy of the same Suffolk deceased estate, Lockdales could offer both a 6½in (17cm) bowl or chasha decorated with flowers to the interior and a bird to the foot (estimate £2000-3000) and a lobed box and cover with a portrait (estimate £600-900).
The auctioneers had been reluctant to date the pieces but even several weeks prior to the sale there were signs that both, deemed mid to late 17th century in date and in relatively good condition, would far exceed expectations.
On March 1, the bowl sold at £44,000, the box for £22,000. Both lots, subject to 15% buyer's premium, sold to a Russian buyer who attended the sale in person.