Charles (Konstantin) Nicholls & William Plincke
( 1786 - 1880 )
Nichols & Plinke ‘The English Shop’ British jewellers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, merchants & industrialists. Their hallmarks: N•P, NP, KA, PK N&P, N&P MAG•ANG, N:P or N.P. Originally founded by John Pickersgill on the corner of 16 Nevsky Prospekt and 7 Bolshaya Morskaya Street in St Petersburg (1786). Owned by Charles (Konstantin) Nicholls and William Plincke (1815–54), who adopted Russian citizenship (1804), qualified as merchants of the second guild (1804) and first guild (1808) and were later awarded hereditary honourary citizenship (1844). They traded under the name of William Plincke’s English Shop (1815–29) and Nicholls & Plincke’s English Shop (1829–54). Frequented by Alexander Pushkin, who ran up debts of over two thousand roubles, which were paid off by well-wishers after his death (1837). They opened a factory at 38 Ligovsky Prospekt (1839), which was run by Robert Colquhoun (1842–79). They provided Tsar Nicholas I with Christmas presents (1820s–30s) and acted as the main supplier of silverware to the imperial court (1840s–70s). Collaborated with British workshops and such local masters as Carl Johann Tegelsten (1830s–40s), Samuel Arndt (1850s–60s) and Emil Friedrich Henrichsen (1870s). Created fireplaces for the Malachite Room in the Winter Palace (1838–39) and silver sets for the dowries of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (1839), Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna (1840) and Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (1843). Decorated the malachite columns and pilasters of the main iconostasis in St Isaac’s Cathedral (1844–48). Acquired by Henry Plincke and Robert Colquhoun (1851), who removed the words “English Shop” from the firm’s name during the Crimean War (1854) and traded as Nicholls & Plincke (1854–80). Contributed to the London Service of the future Tsar Alexander II and the Orlov Service of Catherine the Great (1850s) and awarded imperial commissions for the production of Russian orders (1855–80). They appointed Robert Heinrich Bach as principal designer (1859) and general director (1870). Cast the bronze figures for the Millennium of Russia monument in Novgorod (1861–62) and created a bronze chandelier for the Trinity Cathedral in St Petersburg (1865). Belonged to Robert Colquhoun after the retirement of Henry Plincke (1865). Suffered from financial problems mentioned in Nikolai Nekrasov’s poem Ballet (1865–66). Cast the bronze figures for the Catherine the Great Monument (1872–73) and made three chandeliers and two candlesticks for the Cathedral of Our Lady of Vladimir in Kronstadt on Kotlin Island (1878). Forced into liquidation by growing competition from Russian firms (1880).