M. I. Kalinin Konakovo Faience Plant

M. I. Kalinin Konakovo Faience Plant


a large faience plant; one of the oldest in the USSR. It is located in the city of Konakovo in Kalinin Oblast of the RSFSR. In November 1924 the plant was named after M. I. Kalinin. It produces tableware, decorative vessels, and sculpture (faience and majolica) from imported raw materials.

The plant was founded in 1809. In 1870, M. S. Kuznetsov bought it from A. A. Auerbakh. At that time it turned out primarily Empire faience with printed designs and hand painting. (Many of these pieces resembled Gzhel’ folk ceramics.) Around 1890 the plant also began to make semifaience, majolica, and porcelain, but the forms and ornamentation of its products were marked by the lower artistic quality characteristic of all factory goods at the end of the 19th century.

Hoping to improve the form and painting of the vessels and to begin to produce sculptures (primarily of animals), the plant first tried to attract eminent artists in the mid-1920’s. (Among those who came to work at the plant were I. G. Frikh-Khar, S. D. Lebedeva, V. A. Favorskii, I. S. Efimov, V. G. Filianskaia, M. P. Kholodnaia, E. M. Gurevich, and G. Ia. APterman.) Although their work differed in stylistic details, the artists worked together to raise the artistic level of production. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the plant’s leading artists, including I. V. Vasil’ev, O. G. Belova, G. G. Veber, O. P. Gagnidze, G. M. Sadnikov and V. V. Sergeev, worked out a general style of goods that would be suitable for the contemporary home. The inherent roundness of faience and majolica pieces is emphasized by the cheerful colors of the painted or poured glaze.

The plant’s wares are exported to many countries. Between 1913 and 1971 the volume output of the plant (in kind) increased by a factor of almost 5.5 (from 17 million to 92.6 million times). In the 1950’s and 1960’s the M. I. Kalinin Kona Kovo Faience Plant was remodeled. Its wares were awarded a silver medal at the World Exposition in Brussels (1958) and a gold medal at the World Ceramics Exposition in Prague (1962). In 1971 the plant was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Saltykov, A. B. Izbrannye trudy. Moscow, 1962. Pages 425–26.
Stepanian, N. “Konakovskii faians.” Dekorativnoe iskusstvo SSSR, 1965, no. 1.