Standing between 8¼-9½in (21-24cm) tall, they were titled in French to the front and Cyrillic to the reverse but were otherwise unmarked.
The Gardner factory, set up near Moscow to challenge the St Petersburg Imperial Factory, began producing the series from c.1780. They were so popular that the Imperial followed suit about 10 years later and continued production up to the Revolution.
The three offered at Lincoln on January 30 were catalogued as ‘possibly the Imperial Porcelain Factory’ and all went above the £3000-5000 estimates.
One was titled Femme Barabien (sic), translating as Barbarian Woman, the sensitivity of minorities not being a particular feature of 19th century St Petersburg life. She had some small chips to the base and her hand, and possibly basket, were restored.
However, against spirited bidding in the room, she went to a Ukrainian bidder online at £6500.
A Latvian bidder in the room took the other two. First up depicted a Kamchatka woman, one of the indigenous Koryak people from Russia’s Far East peninsula. With no apparent damage, she sold at £7200.
The best-seller, illustrated above, was of a Laplander. It suffered some minor chips to the base but it was a rarity which the Latvian collector took at £14,000.