This bronze-mounted porcelain ensemble in the form of a temple dates to the 1780s or ’90s. It is estimated at €48,000 at Schloss Ahlden’s sale on May 6-7 in Ahlden, Lower Saxony.

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As many of the key workers there came from Meissen, it is hardly surprising that the style and decoration of the figures are clearly influenced by the German factory.

It is assumed that this centrepiece was commissioned by the Russian court or the empress herself. It combines four allegorical figures, representing the military and political achievements of Catherine the Great.

The figure of the tsarina is surrounded by war trophies. At her feet an eagle presents her with a golden scroll in its beak, an allusion to her accomplishments in expanding the Russian Empire.

A Turkish warrior is a reference to the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74, a Native American wearing feather ornaments symbolises Russian attempts to colonise the North American Pacific coast, while the figure of a young girl with a turban and a woven basket is presumably the personification of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 1783.