This luxuriously decorated Russian Kovsh (or Kovsch) dates from the late Imperial period and was produced within the workshop of Maria Semenova. The Kovsh is formed of solid 875 grade silver, with silver-gilt utilised within the interior of the piece, the underside of its handle, and upon the applied elevated ropework ornament evident throughout. The Kovsh is of a traditional oval form with a peaked prow and hooked handle.
Shaded polychrome cloisonné enamel decorates the Kovsh, executed in scrolling foliate and geometrical motifs above a black-grey dappled silver ground. The cloisons are encompassed by twisted rope cloisonné wire, and are painted with pastel shades of blue, red, green, and a distinctive violet. The underside of the Kovsh is marked ’84’ to signify 875 grade silver, includes the Cyrlllic mark ‘MC’ for Semenova, and the inscription ‘Made in Russia’.
Maria Semenova operated a workshop in Moscow between 1896 and 1914. The workshop, which she inherited from her father Wasilij Semenov upon his death, produced a variety of silver works, Kovshes prime among them. The pieces produced in her workshop, particularly the Kovshes, are considered today to be excellent examples of silver craftsmanship of this period. Semenova’s works are noted for their traditional style and especially the use of the colour violet, both of which are attributes evident in this Kovsh.