In 1776, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia commissioned one of the most important services of the 18th century from the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory in France.
Empress Catherine’s passion for classical decoration guided the design of the 800-piece service. The service was unlike any other that had ever been produced, with a turquoise blue ground color in imitation of turquoise stone as well as bas-reliefs and cameos chosen after antique models. Each piece featured three categories of subjects—Greek mythology, Greek history, and Roman history—as well as Catherine´s monogram and coronet. The decoration, specifically the detailed painting and gilding, demonstrates the extraordinary level of skill at Sèvres in the 18th century.