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Gates thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Gates

ca. 1784 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This magnificent pair of gates was acquired, together with another pair (LOAN:GILBERT.94-2008) by Arthur Gilbert at the start of his collecting career, and formed part of the Monumental Silver exhibition held at LACMA in 1973.

This example was made for the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, or Monastery of Caves in Kyiv, a preeminent centre of Orthodox Christianity in eastern Europe since the 11th century.

The gates are among the finest, perhaps only, examples outside of Ukraine and the former Russian Empire. Their manufacturing date coincides with the annexion of Crimea by the Catherine II (1783) and might have been an imperial commission to mark this event. Catherine II visited Pechersk monastery in 1740 and had several Ukrainian clerics in her inner circle. In 1787, she visited the monastery for the second time, staying in Kyiv for several months while preparing her tour of Crimea.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Gate
  • Gate
Materials and techniques
Embossed, pierced and engraved partially gilded silver (parcel-gilt) and iron
Brief description
Embossed, pierced and engraved silver, parcel-gilt and iron, Kyiv, 1784.
Physical description
The gates are formed as a pair of long vertical doors hinged at the sides and opening outward. Each is pierced and embossed with a pattern of parcel-gilt flowers, scrolls and birds with three oval medallions arranged vertically at equal intervals. The upper medallion panel on the left gate represents the Annunciation and on the right the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem; those below represent the evangelists Matthew (centre left), John (centre right), Mark (lower left), and Luke (lower right). Each medallion is contained within a scroll, flower and shellwork cartouche. The upper border of each door is of irregular scroll profile, rising towards the centre. The central column is attached to the right door and is of nearly semicircular section, with pierced scrolls and flowers applied to the upper and lower ends and the centre; a spiral pattern of flowers is embossed along its length. The centre is engraved with an oval medallion of Christ as the Great Bishop. Rosettes are applied at intervals to the plain side borders of the gates. The lower border of each door is flat-chased with a lengthy Cyrillic inscription in Old Church Slavonic.
Dimensions
  • Height: 232.4cm
  • Width: 102.9cm
Marks and inscriptions
'These gates in the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God were made during the reign of the very Orthodox Sovereign Empress Ekaterina Alexeievna and her heir the Orthodox Sovereign Tsesarevich Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich and his spouse the Orthodox Lady Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna and the Orthodox Lords Grand Dukes Alexander Pavlovich and Konstantin Pavlovich and the Orthodox Lady Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna, with the blessings of the Lord Archimandrite Father Zosim Valkevich of the Pechersk Lavra of Kyiv (Kiev) and with the dedicated effort of the Keeper of the same Pechera, the Elder of the Cathedral, Hieromonach Vitalii, 1784, the eleventh day of March. The weight in silver [is] two pouds [sic], six lots. Sixty-Six foreign chervonets [gold pieces of Dutch, Italian, or Austrian origin] were used for gilding.'
Gallery label
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God, Pechersk Lavra, Kyiv. Purchased from the Goldschmidt Gallery, Berlin on 9 October 1935; William Randolph Hearst. San Simeon, California. Francis Stonor, London. Acquired by Arthur Gilbert from S.J. Phillips Ltd, London, 1972.

J & S Goldschmidt were a dynasty of Jewish art dealers. They enjoyed an outstanding international reputation and had even counted the Russian imperial family among their clients. In 1937, as part of a wider campaign to eliminate Jewish people from the art trade, the Reich Culture Chamber gave the company's directors, Julius and Arthur Goldschmidt, two months notice to give up their branches in Frankfurt and Berlin. By that time, they had already left Nazi Germany. Julius went to London, from where these gates were sold. Arthur immigrated to France, and eventually he and his wife escaped to Cuba.

This object formed part of the V&A's special provenance display 'Concealed Histories: Uncovering the Story of Nazi Looting' (December 2019 - June 2021)
Association
Summary
This magnificent pair of gates was acquired, together with another pair (LOAN:GILBERT.94-2008) by Arthur Gilbert at the start of his collecting career, and formed part of the Monumental Silver exhibition held at LACMA in 1973.

This example was made for the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, or Monastery of Caves in Kyiv, a preeminent centre of Orthodox Christianity in eastern Europe since the 11th century.

The gates are among the finest, perhaps only, examples outside of Ukraine and the former Russian Empire. Their manufacturing date coincides with the annexion of Crimea by the Catherine II (1783) and might have been an imperial commission to mark this event. Catherine II visited Pechersk monastery in 1740 and had several Ukrainian clerics in her inner circle. In 1787, she visited the monastery for the second time, staying in Kyiv for several months while preparing her tour of Crimea.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Bibliographic references
  • Mislavskii, Samuil. Kratkoe istoricheekoe opisanie Kievo-Pecherskoi Lavry (Brief historical description of the Kyiv (Kiev) Pechersk Monastery). Kyiv (Tipografia Akademii Kievskoi) 1975, p. 45.
  • Bolkhovitinov, Evgenii. Opisanie Kievo-Pecherskoi Lavry s prisovokupleniem raznykh grammat... (Description of the Kyiv, Pechersk Monastery including various offical documents...) Kyiv (Tipografia Kievo-Pecherskoi Lavry) 1826, p. 71.
  • Henderson, Ebenezer. Biblical Researches and Travels in Russia, including a Tour in the Crimea. London: J. Nisbet, 1826, p. 181.
  • 'Cathedral Gates in Silver Gilt Given by Catherine the Great'. The Antique Collector, vol. 32, April 1961, pp. 66-67.
  • Petrenko, Marko Z. Ukrainske zolotarstvo XVI-XVIII st. (Ukranian goldsmithing, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). Kyiv (Naukovo Dumka) 1969, pp. 41, 139, 193.
  • Hayward, J.F. (John Forrest). Virtuoso goldsmiths and the triumph of Mannerism, 1540-1620. [London]: Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, 1976; New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1976, pp. 117, pl. A, 121.
  • Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 166, pp. 608-612. ISBN.0875871445
  • Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p.18, pl. 8. ISBN9781851775934
  • Jones, William Ezelle, Monumental Silver: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977 no.43
  • Donahue, Kenneth, A Decade of Collecting: 1965-1975, Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1975.
  • Minter, Alice et al. Masterpieces in Miniature: Treasures from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2021, p.22, cat. 5
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20230606004515/https://www.vam.ac.uk/blog/museum-life/concealed-histories-uncovering-the-story-of-nazi-looting
Other numbers
  • SG 42AB - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • M.77.1.8 - LACMA
  • SG 322 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1999.25 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:GILBERT.97:1, 2-2008

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Record createdJune 26, 2008
Record URL
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