Russian Imperial Tea Magnate Alexander Kuznetsov Antique Calling Card Royal Yacht Foros


Rare calling card from Alexander Grigorievich Kuznetsov, printed in Russian and English.

"Alexander Grigorievich Kuznetsov
Yacht, Foros"

From the collection of Richard and Mary Winslow, English aristocrats who had the Villa Winslow in Cannes during the 1890s and were friends with aristocrats and royals from all over the world. Mary was a great beauty and had by family traditon once been a mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

Kuznetsov was the tea magnate of Imperial Russia, named and purchased the 239 foot steam yacht Foros following her launch in Scotland on the 9th June 1891. Designed by the Glaswegian yacht architect Thomas Lennox Watson, Foros took her name from the southernmost Crimean resort made popular by Kuznetsov through the development of his palatial estate there. Guests aboard the yacht were exceptionally well treated, often being lavished with gifts. In 1896 Kuznetsov had the honour of selling Foros to Grand Duke George Aleksandrovich who renamed her Tsaritsa. The yacht’s history continued in the First World War, during which she served as a hospital ship before eventually being scrapped in 1927.

In 1840 Alexei Semenovich Gubkin established the first tea-selling company in Kungur. Up until then tea had arrived in Russia in the form of large solid ‘bricks’. Gubkin was the first business owner to sell tea already weighed out in handy quantities and wrapped in colourful attractive packaging. In 1882 the firm’s head office moved to Moscow. After Gubkin’s death his nephew Alexander Grigorievich Kuznetsov took over at the helm. He renamed the company The Successor to Alexei Gubkin, A Kuznetsov & Co. Over a period of fifteen years the company sold 300 million roubles’ worth of tea and sugar and had branches not only throughout Russia, but also in China, India, Ceylon and London. By the beginning of the 20th century the firm controlled one third of the entire tea market in the Russian empire.

Size: 10 x 6.5 cm approx

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