Newsletter 2015 Fall

Fall 2015

 

Feature Stories:

  • Monogrammed Beauty: Queen Marie’s Brooch
  • Moscow Fabergé Workshop Interpretations of the Epic Poem Ruslan and Ludmila by Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837)
 
Regular Columns: Auctions | Eggs | General News | Museum News | Publications
 
Monogrammed Beauty: Queen Marie’s Brooch
by DeeAnn Hoff, Independent Researcher
 
1896 Monogram Designed by Queen Marie (Courtesy Diana Mandache, Royal Romania)
1896 Monogram Designed
by Queen Marie
(Courtesy Diana Mandache,
Royal Romania)
1899-1908 Queen Marie of Romania Brooch by Fabergé (Courtesy McFerrin Collection)
1899-1908 Queen Marie of Romania Brooch
by Fabergé
(Courtesy McFerrin Collection)
 

Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938), daughter of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria, and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, the only daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, was both a patron and devotee of the arts, as well as an artist in her own right. Said to have inherited her grandmother, Queen Victoria’s talent for drawing, she also pursued sculpture, and was a prolific author: The Dreamer of Dreams, Miracle of Tears, A Christmas Tale, in addition to historical, autobiographical, and diary volumes. Marie became Crown Princess in 1893 when she married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania (1865-1927). He became King Ferdinand I and she the Queen Consort of Romania on the death of King Carol I in 1914. Their coronation took place on October 15, 1922.

Acclaimed for her beauty from childhood, Marie sat for portraits by such famous artists of the period as Philip de László (1869-1937), Hungarian portrait painter, and Friederich August von Kaulbach (1850-1920), German portraitist and historical painter. Sandra de László in A Brush With Grandeur, 2004, 32-3, dates the de László portrait of the Queen wearing a sapphire and diamond kokoshnik-style tiara originally owned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia. The artist had met the queen in Vienna in 1899 when she was Crown Princess and his own career had just begun. While he repeatedly refused invitations to Romania due to all that Hungary suffered at the hands of Romania, he did paint the Queen in London in 1924, and found her: ” . . . uncommonly intelligent . . . she also knows how to make use of her great charm and lilac eyes.” (Prince Nicholas of Greece, My Fifty Years, 1926, 253-4)

Philip de László Portrait of Queen Marie of Romania, 1924 (Munn, Geoffrey, Wartski, The First One Hundred and Fifty Years, 2015, 182-3)
Philip de László Portrait of Queen Marie of
Romania, 1924
(Munn, Geoffrey, Wartski, The First One
Hundred and Fifty Years
, 2015, 182-3)
Pond's Skin Creams Advertisement (Woman's Home Companion, January 1927)
Pond’s Skin Creams Advertisement
(Woman’s Home Companion, January 1927)
 
In October/November 1926, Queen Marie accompanied by her son Nicholas, and daughter Ileana undertook a month-long tour of America, well documented in her enthusiastic writings. Following her American tour, the queen is known to have become a devotee of Pond’s Skin Creams, produced by the Pond’s Extract Company in New York. A full page advertisement appeared in Women’s Home Companion in January 1927 with the layout incorporating a framed image of the monogram design Marie created, a photograph of her 1924 oil on canvas de László portrait as well as a photograph of: “A pair of silver jars engraved with Her Majesty’s personal crest and filled with Pond’s Cold and Vanishing Creams, which Queen Marie keeps for constant use on her dressing table.” The body of the advertisement states:
 

“No royal guest who has ever visited America has been so widely acclaimed for her beauty as Queen Marie.

Youth is hers-and great vitality, in spite of years crowded with strenuous activity. She has a beautiful skin-unlined, firm, fresh, with lovely natural color! A skin which speaks for itself of the wise care Her Majesty has always given it.

Over two years ago, Her Majesty, writing from Bucharest, was pleased to permit the Pond’s Extract Company to quote her words expressing her faith in the efficacy of Pond’s Two Creams.

A subsequent letter, written in February, 1925, says: ‘Her Majesty wishes me to repeat, as to Pond’s Cream, it gives her daily greater satisfaction.’

The promotion concludes with the now familiar tease: “If you don’t already know and depend upon these delightful creams of Pond’s try them for yourself, without cost, by clipping and mailing the coupon below … Send in the coupon today. The Queen of Romania’s loveliness may also be yours.”In response to the ‘offer’:

  • Kristin Mills, Houston, attempted to redeem the ‘coupon’ at the New York City address. The amusing response she received was that they did not have time to help with ‘school projects’.
     
  • I sent a historical inquiry to Unilever, London. The company acquired Ponds in 1986 and Fabergé in 1989. No response was forthcoming.

In the Artie and Dorothy McFerrin Collection on view at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Texas, a Fabergé brooch with the distinct monogram designed by Crown Princess Marie of Romania using her artistic talent is featured on a lozenge-shaped brooch/chiffre. The sketch dated to 1896 incorporates a stylized M below the Romanian crown, and the brooch is hallmarked 1899-1908 for the Moscow workshops of Fabergé. This suggests the chiffre was made before Marie became Her Majesty, The Queen of Romania in 1914. It appeared on the auction market – Sotheby’s Geneva, November 16, 1989, Lot 418, with a later case stamped Wartski, and in 2006 was on loan from a private collection to the Wartski London venue, Fabergé and the Russian Jewelers: A Loan Exhibition, item 228. The historical details to whom the pin was presented are unknown at this time.

 
Moscow Fabergé Workshop Interpretations of the Epic Poem
Ruslan and Ludmila by Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837)
by Cynthia Coleman Sparke, Bonhams London
 
From Canto the Fifth, Ruslan and Ludmila:

 

A vale before them spreads; upon it
Rise clumps of spruces, and a mound
Looms farther out, its strangely round
And very dark and gloomy summit
Against the bright blue sky outlined.
Our youthful knight at once divined
That ’twas the Head before them showing;
The steed speeds on, more restive growing;
Across the plain its great hooves thunder….
And lo! – they’re close, they’re nearly there;
Before them is the nine days’ wonder,
It fixes them with glassy stare.
It is a thing repulsive, horrid:
Its inky hair falls on its forehead;
Drenched of all life, the hue of lead
Its face is, while the huge lips, parted,

 

And, like the cheeks, of colour bled,
Disclose clenched teeth; over the Head
Its hour of doom hangs. Our brave-hearted
And doughty knight rides up and faces
Its sightless gaze; the midget graces
The horse’s rump. “Hail, Head!” Ruslan
Cries loudly, for the Head to hear him.
“He who betrayed you is undone!
Look! Here he is, none now need fear him!”
These words the Head revivified
And in it roused new, fresh-born feeling.
It looked down at them, and, revealing
All of its anguish, moaned and sighed.
Our hero it had recognized,
And at the midget, nostrils swelling,
Stared, full of venom undisguised.

 
Severed Head of Golovo by Ivan Bilibin, 1900 Art Nouveau Painting for Ruslan and Ludmila Opera (Wiki)
Severed Head of Golovo by Ivan Bilibin, 1900 Art Nouveau Painting
for Ruslan and Ludmila Opera
(Wiki)
Aventurine Pin Tray with a Fabergé Mark with Gem-Set Silver Head of Golovo Based on Pushkin's Poem (Courtesy Bonhams London)
Aventurine Pin Tray with a Fabergé Mark
with Gem-Set Silver Head of Golovo Based
on Pushkin’s Poem
(Courtesy Bonhams London)
 
Gem-set Silver Inkwell on a Red Marble Base (Courtesy Christie's New York)
Gem-set Silver Inkwell on a Red Marble Base
(Courtesy Christie’s New York)
Gem-set Silver Casket Containing over 5 Kilos of Silver, Acquired by an Asian Private Collector for $707,603 (Courtesy Sotheby's London)
Gem-set Silver Casket Containing over 5 Kilos
of Silver, Acquired by an Asian Private Collector
for $707,603
(Courtesy Sotheby’s London)
 

A silver-mounted hardstone pin tray offered for sale by Bonhams London during the 2015 Russian Art Week belongs to a rare group of Fabergé objects from the Moscow workshops inspired by traditional folklore. In this instance, the designers turned to the epic poem of Ruslan and Ludmila published by Alexandr Pushkin in 1820, then transformed into an opera by Mikhail Glinka in 1842. The subject matter dove-tailed perfectly with the revival of pro-Russian sentiment gripping mid-19th century Moscow and would have certainly resonated with the affluent industrialists and merchants who flocked to Fabergé’s shop as a purveyor of luxury goods.

Whilst still a student himself, Pushkin drew upon fairytales from his childhood for the adventures of a Russian warrior hero who searches tirelessly for his wife Ludmila, abducted by the evil wizard Chernomor. The quest by Ruslan leads him to a hill which reveals itself to be Golovo, the giant severed head of Chernomor’s brother. Ruslan initially attacks the head, but is persuaded to take up a magical sword and join forces to fell Chernomor in order to avenge the wizard’s brutality. The opera with the same name was produced in 1842 at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg and again in 1846 at the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, where it has since been performed several hundred times. An early 20th century production at the Marinsky Theatre featured set designs by Konstantin Korovin. Other artists such as Ivan Bilibin (illustration above) and Nikolai Ge depicted Golova so the form was familiar to Russian audiences.

The Bonhams’ dish comprises a silver head with Golova’s characteristically full eyebrows and beard. He wears a traditional helmet set with cabochon sapphires and perches upon a base of aventurine quartz. The composition is reminiscent of an inkwell formed as a silver head upon a marble stand (Christie’s New York, October 20, 1998, Lot 37). Both relate to yet another version, also modeled in high relief but this time formed as a casket (Sotheby’s London, June 3, 2014, Lot 656, see additional details in a video in Auctions below). All three depictions of Golova are distinctly different in appearance despite sharing the same source of inspiration.

Although we do not know the precise circumstances that led to the group drawn from Ruslan and Ludmila, they are among Fabergé’s most distinctively Russian objects: Not only is the subject matter home-grown, but the references to traditional jewelry techniques in the cabochon sapphires and the unabashed celebration of indigenous hardstones all point inwards to native traditions and well away from the West as ultimate arbiter of taste.

 
Auctions
 
Fabergé Auction Lot Rediscovered!
 
Fabergé Silver Coffee Pot, Moscow, 1908-1917, Inventory Number 42249
Fabergé Silver Coffee Pot, Moscow, 1908-1917,
Inventory Number 42249
 

Auction catalog dealer, Jeffrey Eger, shared documentation of an unusual event sponsored by Sotheby Parke Bernet on October 16, 1973, – Gala Auction for the Benefit of the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library Featuring Works of Art and Items of Interest and Originality (Fabergé Research Newsletter, Winter 2011-12) Attended by 400 specially invited guests at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, the sale included a Fabergé silver coffeepot with a hinged cover ($2,750). Recently the coffee pot re-appeared in an estate, and is in the Sotheby’s New York, October 14, 2015. (Courtesy Karen Kettering, Sotheby’s)

Russian Art Week is a bi-annual event which takes place in May/June and November/December. The major auction houses of Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and MacDougall’s all join together to present a series of Russian sales in London. Several Russian exhibitions and related cultural events also take place. (Courtesy Russian Art Week Website)

November 30, 2015  Christie’s London Important Russian Art
Christie’s Daily offers news, views and expert insights from the Art People. A recent offering included an advertisement for a Fabergé documentary and in the last segment stunning Fabergé auction lots offered during the Spring 2015 auctions.

December 1, 2015  Sotheby’s London Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons
Darin Bloomquist, Head of the Department of Russian Works of Art, narrated two 2014 videos with Fabergé auction highlights – a gem-set silver casket based on the Pushkin’s epic poem Ruslan and Ludmila and three imperial gifts.

December 2, 2015  Bonhams London
The Russian Sale includes a Fabergé hardstone pin tray discussed in the feature story above.

 
Eggs
 

A note from Christel McCanless, newsletter editor:

 

The Readers Forum of the Fabergé Research Newsletter continues to elicit interesting challenges. In the Winter 2014 edition Tatiana Muntian’s discovery of previously unknown costs for “Fabergé Easter Eggs for 1912, 1914, and 1915”, and a chart compiled by Riana Benko ranking the “Cost of Easter Eggs, 1900-1915” were published. Two readers posed questions relative to the data presented.

Kieran McCarthy, Wartski, London, suggested — There was considerable inflation and devaluation of the ruble in the early 20th century. I wonder if the index adjusted prices for the eggs would give the same ranking order?
 

Will Lowes from Australia wrote – There is a problem with the cost of these later eggs, given the new information presented by Tatiana Muntian in her article to mark the 400th year of the Romanov dynasty. (“Symbols of a Vanished Empire,”символы исчезнувший империи, Antiquariat, December 2013, 10-15. In Russian). Her documentation says the Napoleonic Egg cost 22,300 rubles. In Lowes and McCanless, Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia, 2001, 119, the authors state ‘the 1912 Napoleonic Egg and the 1912 Tsesarevich Egg cost a total of 50,897 rubles, 50 kopecks’. We cite unspecified accounts books and correspondence.

If this truly specific figure — right down to the 50 kopecks — is correct, then (given Muntian’s new figure for the Napoleonic Egg) the Tsesarevich Egg cost 28,597 roubles, 50 kopecks. This would not surprise, given the number of diamonds studded on it — and the very subject of the item — the Tsesarevich, the heir to the throne, so precious to Alexandra Feodorovna and Nicholas II. Armand Hammer, admittedly never noted for accuracy, did say it was worth 100,000 rubles, again probably because of the diamonds.

It would make the Tsesarevich Egg the most expensive egg, certainly more than the Mosaic Egg. While there is incredible workmanship in the Mosaic Egg, most of the gems are very small and not especially valuable. And the value of the labor in making it, may not have surpassed the value of the diamonds of the Tsesarevich Egg. Remember the politics involved, namely, that a female could not ascend to the throne. The Tsesarevich Egg would surely surpass the Mosaic in value, politically as well as in hard cash.

I would dismiss, out of hand the cost of the Tsesarevich Egg given in the Winter 2014 chart as 15,800 r. How could this be worth such a paltry sum when the virtually gemless Napoleonic Egg cost 22,300. Again, remember the politics involved …

 
At my request Riana Benko generously agreed to gather known data to shed some light on the topics summarized above.
 
Statistical Cost Analysis of Fabergé’s 50 Imperial Easter Eggs
by Riana Benko, Fabergé Enthusiast in Slovenia
 

Published Fabergé literature and Internet resources compiled in Table I below state the cost of the eggs in rubles (r.) and converting them to the value in dollars ($) at the time of creation of each egg, and then again in 2014 $ values. In Table II the same data is converted into a ranking from the most expensive to the least expensive egg in terms of 2014 dollars.

Using internet resources two simplified comparisons can be made:

  • Average Russian worker’s annual salary in 1885 was circa 30.5 r. The 1885 First Hen Egg by Fabergé cost 4151 r., or an equivalent of 136 years of average earnings. The cost of the 1913 Romanov Tercentenary Egg at 21,300 r. compared to the annual average salary (37.5 r.) equates to 568 years for one egg!
     
  • In contrast, the annual income of an aristocratic nobleman was about 6,000 r., or more than the price of one egg for the years 1890-1895.
 
CHART 1
AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARIES IN
TSARIST RUSSIA AND THE USSR
YEARAVERAGE
SALARY
IN RUBLES
AVERAGE
SALARY IN
KILOGRAMS
OF POTATOES
188030.381529.00
189030.631531.20
189731.401029.50
190033.041083.27
190533.781107.54
190935.711170.80
191337.501229.50
1917
(OCT)
243.75
1918
(END)
600.00
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the above chart.
CHART 2
DOLLAR AND RUBLE VALUES
YEAR(S)DOLLARS
PER
RUBLE
RUBLES
PER
DOLLAR
1834-18960.771.3
18970.515331.94
19160.156.7
19170.0911
19180.03231.25
19190.013872.46
19200.0039256
19210.000721389
19220.000482083
19230.0000004252 352 941
19240.452.22
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the above chart.
 
From statistics for the cost of 50 Fabergé Imperial Eggs in the sources below two tables evolve based on the questions raised by McCarthy and Lowes:
 

Fabergé, Tatiana, Proler, Lynette G., and Valentin V. Skurlov, Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, 1997.

 

Lowes, Will, and Christel Ludewig McCanless, Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia, 2001. Updates for the encyclopedia entitled Fabergé Imperial Egg Chronology are being published on the Fabergé Research Site.

 

Zimin, Igor Viktorovich, and Alexander Sokolov Rostislavovich, Jewelry Treasures of the Russian Imperial Court (ювелирные сокровища российского императорского двора), 2012. In Russian.

 

Fabergé Research Newsletter, Winter 2014 and Summer 2015.

TABLE I
COMPARATIVE COST OF 50 IMPERIAL EASTER EGGS BY FABERGÉ
EASTER EGG NAMEYEAR
MADE
GIFT FOR
MARIE OR
ALEXANDRA
RUBLES
(r.)
$ VALUE IN
YEAR MADE


DIVIDE RUBLES
BY 1.3 = $
$ VALUE
IN 2014


SOURCE
1.FIRST HEN EGG1885MF4 1513 19382 857
2.HEN EGG WITH SAPPHIRE PENDANT1886MF2 9862 29759 606
3.THIRD IMPERIAL EGG1887MF2 1601 66243 128
4.CHERUB WITH CHARIOT EGG1888MF2 1001 61541 908
5.NÉCESSAIRE EGG1889MF1 9001 46938 120
6.DANISH PALACES EGG1890MF4 2603 27785 037
7.MEMORY OF AZOV EGG1891MF4 5003 46289 837
8.DIAMOND TRELLIS EGG1892MF4 7503 65494 819
9.CAUCASUS EGG1893MF5 2004 000103 798
10.RENAISSANCE EGG1894MF4 7503 65498 463
11.ROSEBUD EGG1895AF3 2502 50070 027
12.BLUE SERPENT CLOCK EGG1895MF4 5003 46296 974
13.REVOLVING MINIATURES EGG1896AF6 7505 1992145 433
14.ALEXANDER III PORTRAITS EGG1896MF3 5752 75077 030
DIVIDE RUBLES
BY 1.94 = $
15.CORONATION EGG1897AF5 5002 83579 411
16.MAUVE EGG WITH THREE MINIATURES1897MF3 2501 67546 918
17.LILIES OF THE VALLEY EGG1898AF6 7003 45496 750
18.PELICAN EGG1898MF3 6001 85651 988
19.MADONNA LILY CLOCK EGG1899AF6 7503 47997 450
20.PANSY EGG1899MF5 6002 88780 868
21.TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY EGG1900AF7 0003 608101 063
22.CUCKOO CLOCK EGG1900MF6 5003 35193 865
23.FLOWER BASKET EGG1901AF6 8503 53198 907
24.GATCHINA PALACE EGG1901MF5 0002 57772 184
25.CLOVER LEAF EGG1902AF8 7504 510121 471
26.EMPIRE NEPHRITE EGG1902MF6 0003 09383 306
27.PETER THE GREAT EGG1903AF9 7605 031130 542
28.ROYAL DANISH EGG1903MF7 5353 884100 780
29.MOSCOW KREMLIN EGG1906AF11 8006 082157 813
30.SWAN EGG1906MF7 2003 71196 291
31.ROSE TRELLIS EGG1907AF8 3004 278107 043
32.LOVE TROPHIES EGG1907MF9 7005 000125 109
33.ALEXANDER PALACE EGG1908AF12 3006 340164 562
34.PEACOCK EGG1908MF8 3004 278111 041
35.STANDART EGG1909AF12 4006 392165 912
36.ALEXANDER III COMMEMORATIVE EGG1909MF11 2005 773149 845
37.COLONNADE EGG1910AF11 6005 979149 655
38.ALEXANDER III EQUESTRIAN EGG1910MF14 7007 577189 652
39.FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY EGG1911AF16 6008 557214 183
40.BAY TREE EGG1911MF12 8006 598165 149
41.TSESAREVICH EGG1912AF28 59714 741356 147
42.NAPOLEONIC EGG1912MF22 30011 495277 723
43.ROMANOV TERCENTENARY EGG1913AF21 30010 979259 039
44.WINTER EGG1913MF24 60012 680299 173
45.MOSAIC EGG1914AF28 30014 588339 773
46.CATHERINE THE GREAT EGG1914MF26 80013 814321 746
47.RED CROSS TRIPTYCH EGG1915AF3 6001 85642 801
48.RED CROSS PORTRAITS EGG1915MF3 8751 99746 052
DIVIDE RUBLES
BY 6.7 = $
49.STEEL MILITARY EGG1916AFCOMBINED
COST
13 347
COMBINED
COST
1 992
COMBINED
COST
42 692
50.ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE EGG1916MF
TOTAL VALUE OF 50 IMPERIAL EGGS:453 246 r.$242 665$6 163 941
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the above table.
 
  • Maria Feodorovna received 30 Fabergé Easter eggs valued at 230,465 r./$127,737, or $3,244,613 in 2014.
     
  • Alexandra Feodorovna received 20 Fabergé Easter eggs, valued at 222,780 r./$114,928, or $2,919,328 in 2014.
Based on Will Lowes observation the top six Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs are:
 
1912 Tsesarevich Egg (28,597 r.) Pratt Collection, Richmond, Virginia
1912 Tsesarevich Egg (28,597 r.) Pratt Collection, Richmond, Virginia
1914 Mosaic Egg (28,300 r.) Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II, UK
1914 Mosaic Egg (28,300 r.) Royal Collection
of Queen Elizabeth II, UK
1914 Catherine the Great Egg (26,800 r.) Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC
1914 Catherine the Great Egg
(26,800 r.) Hillwood Estate,
Museum and Gardens,
Washington, DC
 
1913 Winter Egg (24,600 r.) Private Collection
1913 Winter Egg (24,600 r.) Private Collection
1912 Napoleonic Egg (22,300 r.) Gray Collection, New Orleans, Louisiana
1912 Napoleonic Egg (22,300 r.) Gray Collection, New Orleans, Louisiana
1913 Romanov Tercentenary Egg (21,300 r.) Kremlin Armoury Collection, Moscow
1913 Romanov Tercentenary
Egg (21,300 r.) Kremlin
Armoury Collection,
Moscow
 
TABLE II
RANKING OF 50 FABERGÉ IMPERIAL EASTER EGGS BY 2014 DOLLAR VALUES
EASTER EGG NAMEYEAR
MADE
GIFT FOR
MARIE OR
ALEXANDRA
RUBLES
(r.)
$ VALUE IN
YEAR MADE
$ VALUE
IN 2014


SOURCE
1.TSESAREVICH EGG1912AF28 59714 471356 147
2.MOSAIC EGG1914AF28 30014 588339 773
3.CATHERINE THE GREAT EGG1914MF26 80013 814321 746
4.WINTER EGG1913MF24 60012 680299 173
5.NAPOLEONIC EGG1912MF22 30011 495277 723
6.ROMANOV TERCENTENARY EGG1913AF21 30010 979259 039
7.FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY EGG1911AF16 6008 557214 183
8.ALEXANDER III EQUESTRIAN EGG1910MF14 7005 773189 652
9.STANDART EGG1909AF12 4006 392165 912
10.BAY TREE EGG1911MF12 8006 598165 149
11.ALEXANDER PALACE EGG1908AF12 3006 340164 562
12.MOSCOW KREMLIN EGG1906AF11 8006 082157 813
13.ALEXANDER III COMMEMORATIVE EGG1909MF11 2005 773149 845
14.COLONNADE EGG1910AF11 6005 979149 655
15.REVOLVING MINIATURES EGG1896AF6 7505 192145 433
16.PETER THE GREAT EGG1903AF9 7605 031130 542
17.LOVE TROPHIES EGG1907MF9 7005 000125 109
18.CLOVER LEAF EGG1902AF8 7504 510121 471
19.PEACOCK EGG1908MF8 3004 278111 041
20.ROSE TRELLIS EGG1907AF8 3004 278107 043
21.CAUCASUS EGG1893MF5 2004 000103 798
22.TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY EGG1900AF7 0003 608101 063
23.ROYAL DANISH EGG1903MF7 5353 884100 780
24.FLOWER BASKET EGG1901AF6 8503 53198 907
25.RENAISSANCE EGG1895MF4 7503 65498 463
26.MADONNA LILY CLOCK EGG1899AF6 7503 47997 450
27.BLUE SERPENT CLOCK EGG1895MF4 5003 46296 974
28.LILIES OF THE VALLEY EGG1898AF6 7003 45496 750
29.SWAN EGG1906MF7 2003 71196 291
30.DIAMOND TRELLIS EGG1892MF4 7503 65494 819
31.CUCKOO CLOCK EGG1900MF6 5003 35193 865
32.MEMORY OF AZOV EGG1891MF4 5003 46289 837
33.DANISH PALACES EGG1890MF4 2603 27785 037
34.EMPIRE NEPHRITE EGG1902MF6 0003 09383 306
35.FIRST HEN EGG1885MF4 1513 19382 857
36.PANSY EGG1899MF5 6002 88780 868
37.CORONATION EGG1897AF5 5002 83579 411
38.ALEXANDER III PORTRAITS EGG1896MF3 5752 75077 030
39.GATCHINA PALACE EGG1901MF5 0002 57772 184
40.ROSEBUD EGG1895AF3 2502 50070 027
41.HEN EGG WITH SAPPHIRE PENDANT1886MF2 9862 29759 606
42.PELICAN EGG1898MF3 6001 85651 988
43.MAUVE EGG WITH THREE MINIATURES1897MF3 2501 67546 918
44.RED CROSS PORTRAITS EGG1915MF3 8751 99746 052
45.THIRD IMPERIAL EGG1887MF2 1601 66243 128
46.RED CROSS TRIPTYCH EGG1915AF3 6001 85642 801
47.CHERUB WITH CHARIOT EGG1888MF2 1001 61541 908
48.NÉCESSAIRE EGG1889MF1 9001 46938 120
49.STEEL MILITARY EGG1916AFCOMBINED
COST
13 347
COMBINED
COST
1 992
COMBINED
COST
42 692
50.ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE EGG1916MF
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the above table.
 

Highlights gathered during this study:

  • Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor was the fifth wealthiest man in the world. In 1917, his wealth was estimated at some $900 million, close to $16.5 billion in 2014 values.
Tsesarevich Alexei in a French 1909 Delaunay-Belleville, Nicholas II's Favorite Car (Illustration 1-3, Wiki)
Tsesarevich Alexei in a French 1909 Delaunay-Belleville, Nicholas II’s Favorite Car
(Illustration 1-3, Wiki)
1897 Coronation Egg (Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg)
1897 Coronation Egg
(Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg)
 
  • 1905 Emperor Nicholas II bought his first car a cost of 18,400 r./$14,154 ($367,262). A year later Fabergé made the Moscow Kremlin Egg for Alexandra Feodorovna and the Swan Egg for Marie Feodorovna, costing a total of 19,000 r., or as much as the Emperor’s first car.
  • 1909 Nicholas II purchased another new car costing ca. 16,000 r./$12,308 ($319,468 in 2014). Fabergé’s made the Standart Egg for the Emperor’s wife and the Alexander III Commemorative Egg for his mother that year, totaling 23,600 r., or $12,165 ($315,757 in 2014).
  • Today the 1897 Coronation Egg in the collection of the Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, is probably the most recognized egg of the Imperial Easter Eggs by Fabergé. It ranks only no. 37 in 2014 dollar values of $79,411.
  • The 1913 Winter Egg (ranked the 4th most expensive egg) sold at auction in 1994 for ca. $5.6 million, and in 2002 for ca. $9.6 million. 2014 values for Maria Feodorovna’s 30 eggs total ca. $3.2 million, and Alexandra’s 20 eggs $2.9 million.
 

 

Ms. Benko thanks Prof. Igor Zimin and Dr. Valentin V. Skurlov for their assistance in the reviewing the tables. DeeAnn Hoff and George McCanless assisted in fact/figure-checking.

 
Eggs
 
Fabergé Eggs Revisited, Part 2
Compiled by Will Lowes and Christel Ludewig McCanless
 
“Fabergé Eggs Lost, Found and Revisited”, Fabergé Research Newsletter, Summer 2015 was part 1 of a series to update the technical details, description, background notes and provenance information for 50 Imperial Easters originally published in Lowes and McCanless, Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia, 2001. The revision has been completed for 19 Fabergé eggs and the data has been uploaded to the Eggs section of the Fabergé Research Site. New provenance details from the 2015 publication by Geoffrey Munn, Wartski – The First One Hundred and Fifty Years have been incorporated into the updates. And so begins the story of the well-known Fabergé eggs 130 years after the first Fabergé Imperial Easter egg was presented to Tsarina Maria Feodorovna by her husband Tsar Alexandra III —
 
First Hen Egg (1885)
 
First Fabergé Imperial Egg and a Possible Prototype - Saxon Royal Egg, Collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) (Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Géza von Habsburg)
First Fabergé Imperial Egg and a Possible Prototype - Saxon Royal Egg, Collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) (Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Géza von Habsburg)

First Fabergé Imperial Egg and a Possible Prototype – Saxon Royal Egg, Collection
of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733)
(Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Géza von Habsburg)

 
Workmaster: Attributed to Erik Kollin
 
Marks: Unmarked
 
Materials: Egg – gold, opaque white enamel | Hen – varicolored gold, rubies | Missing miniature crown – diamonds, rose-cut diamonds | Missing pendant – ruby
 
Dimensions: Length of egg – 64 mm. (2 1/2 in.) | Length of hen – 35 mm. (1 3/8 in.)
 
Description: “Easter Egg of white enamel egg, the crown is set with rubies, diamonds and rose diamonds-4,151 rubles (including 2 ruby eggs-2,700 rubles)” appears in a handwritten list of the Imperial Easter eggs from 1885 to 1890 made by N. Petrov, the assistant manager to the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty. The list was located in the Russian State Historical Archives in St. Petersburg and cited by Marina Lopato in Apollo, January 1984. The gold shell of this simple but historic piece is enameled opaque white and polished to resemble a hen’s egg. The two halves are joined by a bayonet fitting (Editor’s note: a type of attachment in which a cylindrical part is pushed into a socket and twisted slightly so that it is secured by engagement of the parts). They open to reveal a matt gold yolk containing a nest of chased yellow gold straw in which sits a naturalistically chased varicolored gold hen with ruby eyes. In the tail feathers is a hinge on which the hen opens horizontally when the beak is lifted. Originally contained within was a diamond replica of the Imperial crown, which concealed a tiny ruby pendant suspended within it. The present whereabouts of these tiny surprises, identified from archival black and white photographs, is unknown (Waterfield & Forbes, 1978).
 

Background Notes: There had been an ongoing debate as to the actual year the egg was created, and at whose instigation. Fabergé’s son, Eugène, maintained the egg was made in 1884, but others believed the year was 1885, or even 1886. Marina Lopato’s research published in Apollo, January 1984, suggested 1885 was the correct year, when official court documentation was discovered in the Russian State Historical Archives in St. Petersburg. Later, she took the view (von Habsburg & Lopato, Fabergé: Imperial Court Jeweller, 1993) that the archival description was of a second, more elaborately jeweled egg.

However, Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov reported in Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs (London, 1997), an exchange of letters between Tsar Alexander III and his brother, the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, which settles the issue beyond doubt.

In a letter dated March 21 (OS), 1885, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich advises Alexander III that:

“In my opinion, the article is a complete success and can even be said to be praise-worthy for its fine and intricate workmanship. In accordance with your wishes, the ring was replaced by an expensive ruby pendant egg, the stone of impeccable quality. If Minny (Editor’s note: the Tsarina Marie Feodorovna) should wish to wear the little egg separately . . . the case contains a thin chain for this purpose.”

The letter goes on to describe in detail how the egg and its various surprises should be correctly opened. Alexander III replied the same day from Gatchina Palace:

“I am grateful to you, dear Vladimir, for the trouble you have taken in placing the order and for the execution of the order itself, which could not have been more successful: The workmanship is really very fine and exquisite. Your instructions for the delicate handling of the object are so explicit that I was able to carry them out easily and with complete success. I do hope the egg will have the desired effect on its future owner (Marie Feodorovna).”

Obviously the tsarina was delighted, for a tradition had begun that would become the zenith of the decorative arts in the Western world. While these letters explain when the tradition started, the reason why is still not known. The last sentence of the tsar’s letter suggests there was a specific reason for the gift.

H. C. Bainbridge was adamant that Fabergé approached the tsar with the idea (Presentation of Imperial Russian Easter Gifts by Carl Fabergé (New York), and Hammer Galleries exhibition catalog, September 8 – November 30, 1939). Mogens Bencard in the exhibition catalog, Maria Feodorovna, Empress of Russia (Copenhagen, 1997), believes there was a meeting between Fabergé and the tsarina (and not the tsar) before the egg was made. Suggestions have been made that Armand Hammer took the Tsar Imperial First Hen Egg out of Russia. Indeed, Hammer himself claimed to have done so. However, the egg Hammer purchased was sold to Matilda Geddings Gray and is still in the Gray Foundation Collection. It is not the egg sold at the Christie’s auction in London on March 15, 1934, which is the first Tsar Imperial egg. Further detail can be found under ‘Crown Egg’ in the first two citations listed above.

A. Kenneth Snowman pointed out a similar egg exists in the Danish Royal Collection, which may well have been known to Marie, formerly the Danish Princess Dagmar. Fabergé made a number of other eggs similar to the First Hen Egg. Géza von Habsburg in “Fabergé’s Imperial Eggs – Their Inspirations and Prototypes” (Fabergé Research Newsletter, Fall 2013) discusses several prototypes for this egg.

 

Provenance:

  • March 24 (OS), 1885. Would have been presented to Marie Feodorovna, a gift from Alexander III; cost 4,151 rubles, 75 kopecks. Housed in the Anichkov Palace
  • September 16-20 (OS), 1917. One of forty or so eggs sent to the Armoury Palace of the Kremlin in Moscow by the Kerensky Provisional Government for safekeeping
  • ca. 1920s. Bought by dealer, Derek (Editor’s note: Frederick?) Berry, London, probably from Russian officials in Berlin or Paris
  • March 15, 1934. Lot 55 sold by Christie’s (London) from the Derek (Editor’s note: Frederick?) Berry Collection, UK, for £85; $430, to Mr. R. Suenson-Taylor, UK
  • June 1955. Owned by Lord Grantchester, barrister and financier. Sir Alfred Suenson-Taylor was created first Baron Grantchester, June 30, 1953
  • 1961. Owned by Mamie Suenson-Taylor, Lady Grantchester, UK
  • 1976. Owned by estate of Lord and Lady Grantchester. They died within months of each other
  • Acquired by A La Vieille Russie, New York
  • January 16, 1978. Sold by A La Vieille Russie, to Forbes Magazine Collection, New York for $126,250
  • February 2004. Sold privately as part of the Forbes Magazine Collection, New York, to Viktor Vekselberg, Moscow, for just over $100 million, according to the purchaser
  • November 19, 2013. Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
 
Danish Palaces Egg (1890)
 
(Keefe, John W., Masterworks of Fabergé: The Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection, 2008, 88-89)
(Keefe, John W., Masterworks of Fabergé:
The Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection
, 2008, 88-89)
 
Workmaster: Mikhail Perkhin | Miniatures by Konstantin Krijitski (1859-1911)
 
Marks: Fabergé, M. P. in Cyrillic, 56, crossed anchors and scepter
 
Materials: Egg – red, green, and quatre-couleur gold, opalescent pink-mauve enamel, cabochon star sapphire, cabochon emeralds, rose-cut diamonds, crimson velvet lining | Screen – red, green, and quatre-couleur gold, watercolor on mother of pearl
 
Dimensions: Height of egg – 102 mm. (4 in.) | Diameter of egg – 67 mm. (2 5/8 in.)
 

Description: This Louis XVI-style egg in translucent opalescent pink-mauve guilloche enamel, is divided into twelve sections by six vertical and three horizontal fillets of rose-cut diamonds between two fillets of chased laurel leaves. Each intersection is marked by a cabochon emerald with a rose gold fleurette at each corner. The egg terminates in a medallion of radiating chased acanthus leaves centered with a diamond-ringed blue-gray cabochon star sapphire. The other end of the egg is embellished with a medallion of chased swirling acanthus leaves. It opens to reveal a folding ten-panel screen, whose frames are formed of reticulated tangent circles, resting on Greek meander feet and surmounted by a chased quatre-couleur floral wreath flanked by two branches of chased laurel leaves. The panels, painted by the court miniaturist Konstantin Krijitski are signed and dated 1889. (Brezzo, et al., 1989, Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov, 1997, Korneva & Cheboksarova, 2006) They depict from left to right:

  • Imperial yacht Polar Star
  • Bernsdorff Palace, Copenhagen
  • Kejserens Villa in Fredensborg Park
  • Fredensborg Palace from the Marble Garden
  • Schack Palace in the Amaliensborg Palace complex
  • Kronborg Castle, Elsinore
  • Two views of the Cottage Palace, Alexandreskii Park, Peterhof
  • Gatchina Palace, near St. Petersburg
  • Imperial yacht Tsarevna

The egg retains its original velvet case; the stand is modern.

 

Background Notes: There is only a fleeting reference in the archival material to the gift for 1890 – “An egg with an emerald.” (Lopato, Apollo, January 1984) Marina Lopato elaborated in later research (Apollo, February 1991): “On 9 May 1890, Fabergé presented to the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty, a bill for an egg, gold with pink enamel (in the style of) Louis XVI-4,260 silver rubles,” which was delivered to the Imperial Palace on March 30. (Editor’s note: Dates are OS [Old style])

And yet, existing literature dated the egg at 1895, probably because that date had been written in ink on the velvet case. We know from the memoirs of François Birbaum in von Habsburg & Lopato, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweller (London, 1993) Tsar Alexander III had laid down broad rules relating to the eggs: that the egg shapes continue, but that there be no repetitions. With this in mind, there surely cannot be two eggs in pink enamel in the Louis XVI style, especially within five years of each other. The date 1895 was probably written on the egg’s case during the 1922 inventory of confiscated Imperial treasure. It seems the real 1895 gift, the Blue Serpent Clock Egg, was not among the eggs listed in this inventory or that of 1917, and an assumption regarding the egg was made at that time. Proof that the Danish Palaces Egg was made before 1895 is available from a list made when the Imperial couple traveled, taking with them items from Gatchina Palace: “Egg consisting of 10 pieces (small folding screen). His Majesty took it to Petersburg on 31 December (OS), 1891, and returned it on 28 March (OS), 1892.” (Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov, Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, London, 1997) It is definitely identified in the 1917 inventory of confiscated Imperial treasure and possibly in the inventory made in 1922.

A 1932 scrapbook belonging to the Hammer Galleries further confuses the history of this egg by describing the egg as having twelve panels, not ten, and a cut and re-glued photograph shows the egg sitting in a wooden box, not in the original velvet case (Hammer Galleries Book I, 1932). The twelve-panel description is repeated in Compleat [sic] Collector, April 1943. To complicate matters further, the Hammer Galleries exhibition of 1939 has a photograph showing only ten frames, and showing the frames as the surprise for this egg. Despite all these varying descriptions, it now seems clear only ten miniatures ever existed. The scenes depicted on the miniatures were places familiar to Marie Feodorovna, and the yachts she used to travel in. For many years, the third panel of the Egg was wrongly identified as the estate of Hvidøre. Russian scholars Galina Korneva and Tatiana Cheboksarova identified in their publication, Empress Maria Feodorovna’s Favorite Residences in Russia and in Denmark (St. Petersburg, 2006) the palaces in the order listed above. Danish Fabergé enthusiast Christian Steener Eriksen had also noticed Marie Feodorovna and her sister Queen Alexandra of Great Britain had not bought the property until 1906, so a miniature of the residence could not have been included in an Easter gift made for 1890. On September 1, 1889, the New York Times reported:

“The Emperor of Russia has built himself a villa on the bank of the Esrom Sö, within a few minutes’ walk of the Castle of Fredensborg, in which he intends to reside during his stay in Denmark. The Czar’s visit is not much appreciated by the inhabitants, as the whole district is virtually in a state of siege, and thousands of members of the Russian secret police will arrive in the country next week, and everyone will be under strict surveillance.”

In 2008 research by Annemiek Wintraecken and Steener Eriksen they found other documentation in which Alexander III expressed a wish in September 1885 to have his own residence in Fredensborg. Petrel’s Nest, a property in the palace gardens was bought, refurbished, and opened with a tea-party on October 1, 1889. Marie Feodorovna baptized the building and described it as ‘Our dear miniature Gatchina’. The house became known as the Kejserens Villa (Emperor’s Villa). In October 1980, the Egg was stolen while on exhibition at the Paine Art Center and Arboretum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was recovered soon after, following a high-speed police pursuit, during which it was jettisoned with two other Tsar Imperial eggs, the 1893 Caucasus Egg and the 1912 Napoleonic Egg.

 

Provenance:

  • March 30 (OS), 1890. Presented to Alexander III
  • April 1 (OS), 1890. Would have been presented to Marie Feodorovna, a gift from Alexander III; cost 4,260 silver rubles
  • January 31 (OS), 1893. Housed at the Gatchina Palace
  • September 16-20 (OS), 1917. One of forty or so eggs sent to the Armoury Palace of the Kremlin in Moscow by the Kerensky Provisional Government for safekeeping
  • February-March 1922. Probably transferred to the Sovnarkom, the Council of People’s Commissars
  • June-July 1927. One of eight eggs returned by the Moscow Jewelers’ Union to the Armoury; given inventory no. 17553
  • April 30, 1930. One of twelve eggs selected for export sale
  • June 21, 1930. Transferred from the Armoury to the Antikvariat (Trade Department)
  • 1930. One of ten Imperial eggs sold by the Antikvariat, Moscow, to Hammer Galleries, New York, for 1,500 rubles (ca. $750)
  • ca. October 1935. Advertised by Hammer Galleries for $25,000
  • February 1936. Advertised by Hammer Galleries
  • November 1937-1953. Owned by Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas H. Ludwig, New York
  • 1962. Private collection, United States
  • June 8, 1971. Collection of the late Matilda Geddings Gray, oil heiress, Lake Charles and New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1972. Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana
 
Memory of Azov Egg (1891)
 
(Courtesy Armoury Museum, Moscow)
(Courtesy Armoury Museum, Moscow)
 
Workmaster: Mikhail Perkhin | Miniature by August Holmström
 
Marks: Fabergé, M. P. in Cyrillic, 72 crossed anchors and scepter
 
Materials: Egg – heliotrope jasper, gold, brilliant diamonds, rose-cut diamonds, rubies, green velvet lining | Miniature ship – gold, platinum, rose-cut diamonds, aquamarine
 
Dimensions: Length of egg – 93 mm. (3 11/16 in.) | Diameter of egg – 70 mm. (2¾ in.) | Length of miniature – 75 mm. (2 15/16 in.)
 
Description: The egg is carved from a solid piece of heliotrope jasper (Editor’s note: also known as bloodstone), flecked with red and blue. It is decorated in the Louis XV style with yellow gold rococo scrolls set with brilliant diamonds and chased gold flowers; the broad flute gold bezel is set with a drop ruby clasp. The interior of the egg is lined with green velvet. The egg contains an exact replica of the cruiser In Memory of the Azov, executed in red and yellow gold and platinum, and with portholes set with small diamonds. The name Azov appears on the stern of the ship, which rests on an aquamarine plate representing water. The plate has a golden frame with a loop, enabling the model to be removed from the egg (Brezzo, et al., 1989).
 

Background Notes: This egg commemorates the voyage by the Tsesarevich Nicholas and his brother Grand Duke George to the Far East in 1890-91, made at the suggestion of their parents to broaden the outlook of the future tsar and his younger brother, who suffered from tuberculosis. Whether it did or not is debatable. Just six days after Marie Feodorovna received this egg, Nicholas was attacked in Japan by a would-be assassin, Tsuda Sanzō (1855-91), one of the Tsesarevich’s escort police. As the Imperial party returned to Kyoto after a day trip to Ōtsu, Tsuda Sanzō wielding a samurai sword slashed a 9 cm. long wound on the right side of the Tsesarevich’s face. Nicholas wrote to his mother:

“We had not gone two hundred paces when suddenly a Japanese policeman rushed into the middle of the street and, wielding a sword with both hands, struck me from behind on the right side of my head! I cried out in Russian: ‘What do you want?’ and jumped over the rickshaw. Turning round, I saw that he was coming on me again with sword raised, so I ran as fast as I could down the street, stemming the wound to my head with my hand. I tried to hide in the crowd, but they immediately ran off, and I had to take to my heels again to escape the pursuing policeman.”

A second blow was parried by Prince George of Greece, the second son of King George I of Greece, who fended off the attack with his cane. George, a boyhood friend of Nicholas, had joined the eastern adventure in Athens, where the Russian princes stopped before traveling east. Nicholas told Marie Feodorovna: “I stopped and turned round and to see dear Georgie about ten paces from me, with the policeman, whom he had knocked to the ground with one blow of his cane, laying at his feet. Had Georgie not been in the rickshaw behind me, dearest Mama, perhaps I would never have seen you again!” Nicholas was left permanently scarred both physically and mentally, and the incident poisoned his view of the Japanese, whom he described in private as “monkeys.” The Ōtsu incident probably played a role in the Tsar’s ill-fated decision to go to war against the Japanese 13 years later. Blood from a handkerchief used to staunch the Tsesarevich’s wound was used 100 years later in the earliest DNA testing done to positively identify the body of Nicholas II.

Grand Duke George’s lung condition appeared to worsen, and he had already returned to Russia before Nicholas arrived in Japan. Tatiana Muntian has observed that “For people familiar with the unfortunate journey, the blood-red drops in the heliotrope and the bright red ruby of the knob had a sinister meaning”. (Muntian, et al. World of Fabergé, Moscow, 1996) Seven years later, she saw further symbolism in the egg:

“Its dark green color is reminiscent of the depths of the sea, and the stylized bubbles plaited into the golden engraved frame symbolize the mobility and eternal commotion of the natural elements. The external appearance and rigging of the cruiser are meticulously reproduced down to the most minute details: the eye can distinguish the tiny platinum lifeboats, anchors on chains, a web of fine golden masts and microscopic letters of the name Azov emblazoned on the stern.” (Muntian, Fabergé Easter Gifts, Moscow, 2003)

The cruiser In Memory of the Azov was named in honor of the Azov, the first Russian battleship to be awarded the St. George flag. It won the honor for its role in the Battle of Navarino in 1827. A letter written by Eugène Fabergé on June 5, 1934, says the miniature was made “by the old (Editor’s note: August) Holmström, who especially put all his art into making the tiny ship as natural as possible so that the guns were movable and all the rigging exactly copied. Even the chains of the anchors were movable.” (Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov, Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, London, 1997)

As stated above, this was one of the Tsar Imperial eggs which traveled from St. Petersburg and was returned to Gatchina Palace. In 1900, it was exhibited at the Exposition Internationale Universelle in Paris in 1900, along with the 1898 Lilies of the Valley, the 1899 Pansy, the 1897 Coronation, the 1900 Trans-Siberian Railway Eggs, and possibly the 1890 Danish Palaces Egg. But the 1891 Memory of Azov Egg did not impress the French judge, René Chanteclair:

“We do not like its patina, the exterior ornamentation of the egg, a little overdone, nor the rose-cut diamonds set in the midst of the scrolls. Since M. Fabergé remains a faithful admirer of French styles, we think that he could have easily chosen in each one of them ornaments less obvious and more felicitous.” (Chanteclair, René, Revue de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie et Orfèverie, Paris, October 1900)

Other judges, including Victor Champier and the noted enameller Louis Houillon, were more enthusiastic about Fabergé’s work. In any event, the Exposition brought Fabergé and his work to the notice of the world.

The Memory of Azov Egg is readily identifiable in both the 1917 and 1922 inventories of confiscated Imperial treasure. An expert valuation was made of this egg in 1927. Found by Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov, the valuation noted the mast was damaged, one rose-cut diamond was missing, and there was “a noticeable crack in the jasper.” The egg’s worth was assessed at 8,880 rubles. With the 1902 Clover Leaf and 1906 Moscow Kremlin Eggs, this egg was scheduled for sale to the West. They were returned to the Armoury, following protests from workers and management within the Armoury.

 

Provenance:

  • April 21 (OS), 1891. Would have been presented to Marie Feodorovna, a gift from Alexander III; cost 4,500 silver rubles
  • November 27 (OS), 1891. Housed at the Gatchina Palace
  • September 16-20 (OS), 1917. One of forty or so eggs sent to the Armoury Palace of the Kremlin in Moscow by the Kerensky Provisional Government for safekeeping
  • February-March 1922. Transferred to the Sovnarkom, the Council of People’s Commissars
  • June 17, 1927. One of sixteen eggs transferred from the Foreign Currency Fund of the Narkomfin (Finance Ministry) to the Armoury; given inventory no. 17536
  • 1933. Was to be offered for sale at 20,000 rubles, but retained in the Armoury Museum, Moscow
 
Diamond Trellis Egg (1892)
 
Diamond Trellis Egg in Maria Feodorovna's Exhibit Case, 1902 von Dervis Mansion Venue, St. Petersburg, Russia (Archival Photograph)
Diamond Trellis Egg in Maria Feodorovna’s
Exhibit Case, 1902 von Dervis Mansion Venue,
St. Petersburg, Russia
(Archival Photograph)
Egg Missing Its Surprise with Putti Base, Sotheby's London, 1960 (Archival Photograph)
Egg Missing Its Surprise with Putti
Base, Sotheby’s London, 1960
(Archival Photograph)
Egg Missing Its Surprise and Base (Courtesy McFerrin Collection)
Egg Missing Its Surprise and Base
(Courtesy McFerrin Collection)
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Found 2015! Missing Elephant Automaton Surprise
(Courtesy Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II)
 
Workmaster: August Holmström
 
Marks: Fabergé, A. H. in Cyrillic, 72, crossed anchors and scepter
 
Materials: Egg – bowenite, gold, rose-cut diamonds, white satin lining | Base – bowenite, silver or silver gilt | Miniature elephant – ivory, gold, rose-cut diamonds, enamel, brilliant diamonds, possibly ebony
 
Dimensions: Height of egg – 108 mm. (4¼ in.) | Base – 121 mm. (4¾ in.) | Case – 237 mm. (9½ in.) | Surprise – 60 mm. x 55 mm. x 34 mm. (4 3/8 in. x 2 3/16 in. x 1 3/8 in.)
 

Description: Carved from semi-precious bowenite, a member of the serpentine family of minerals, (Editor’s note: Some Fabergé literature incorrectly identified the stone as pale green jadeite) with yellow and white markings, the egg is enclosed in a lattice of rose-cut diamonds with gold mounts. The egg is hinged and set at the apex with a large diamond. Originally, the egg was supported on the backs of three silver putti, seated on a grassy mound with roses on a circular bowenite base. This base is described in the December 5, 1960, Sotheby’s London auction catalog as bearing the English import mark of 1908. However, Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov in Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs (1997) suggest the base is original. A list of Tsar Imperial eggs kept at the Gatchina Palace in 1891-92 gives details of the Diamond Trellis Egg, and its long-missing surprise.

“The Egg is lined with white satin with a space for the figure of an elephant and a key for winding 1 Ivory figure of an elephant, clockwork, with a small gold tower; partly enameled and decorated with rose-cut diamonds, on its back; the sides of the figure bearing gold decorations in the form of two crosses, each with five precious stones. The elephant’s forehead is decorated with the same kind of stone. The tusks, trunk and harness are decorated with small rose-cut diamonds, and a black mahout is seated on its head.” (Fabergé, Proler, Skurlov, Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, London, 1997)

 

Background Notes: Marina Lopato’s archival research at the Russian State Historical Archives in St. Petersburg and published in Apollo, February 1991, indicates that in a document dated April 7 (OS), 1892, the tsar had been presented with “an Egg, jade with roses (rose-cut diamonds), an elephant and three angels-4,750 silver rubles.” Fabergé’s bill was delivered on May 6 (OS), of the same year. Lopato says the egg described is the Diamond Trellis Egg. She cites photographs taken at the Fabergé Artistic Objects and Miniatures Exhibition held March 1902 in the Baron von Dervis Mansion on the Angliskaia Naberezhnaia (Editor’s note: English Embankment) in St. Petersburg. Extant photographs clearly show the pyramidal showcase to the rear, in which the objects belonging to the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna were exhibited; on the upper shelf stands the Diamond Trellis Egg on a round stone pedestal supported by three naked putti. Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov in Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs (London, 1997) suggest the three cupids represent the sons of Tsar Alexander III and Marie Feodorovna, namely, Grand Dukes Nicholas (later Tsar Nicholas II), George, and Michael.

The elephant mentioned was the surprise inside the egg. At present, the egg exists alone in the Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Collection. The pedestal is either lost or survives elsewhere. The pedestal, but not the surprise, was still with the egg when it was sold by Sotheby’s London, on December 5, 1960. The catalog description includes the line …supported on the backs of three silver putti who are seated on a grassy mound ¦ There is an accompanying illustration of the egg with its pedestal of three silver putti. Toby Faber in Fabergé Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces that Outlived an Empire (London, 2008) says the Diamond Trellis Egg was …subsequently separated from its genuine stand by Emanuel Snowman in [the] mistaken belief that this was a later addition. The elephant appears on the coat of arms of the Danish Royal family, and Marie, of course, was a Danish princess. The reference to the elephant being …clockwork suggests it was the first automaton used by Fabergé in a Tsar Imperial egg.

On October 10, 2015, the Curator of Queen Elizabeth II’s Fabergé collection, Caroline de Guitaut confirmed to the Lapidary Art Symposium at the St. Petersburg Fabergé Museum that an ivory automaton elephant in the Royal Collection matches the known descriptions of the Diamond Trellis Egg’s surprise. In consultation with Dorothy and Artie McFerrin, it was determined the miniature elephant fits the Diamond Trellis Egg. Ms. de Guitaut explained: “A fragment of the elephant’s turret was lost. It seems it had just fallen off due to the aged metal. Yet as a result, it was possible to look into the foundation of the figure. When we removed the top part of the turret, my heart nearly stopped beating: It contained the Fabergé hallmark! That is how we found the proof of the discovery’s authenticity.” She continued: “The newly discovered automaton surprise is almost identical to the badge of the Danish Order of the Elephant, the most senior order of chivalry in Denmark, except that it is made of ivory rather than white enamel and that it incorporates a mechanism. The elephant is wound with a watch key through a hole hidden underneath the diamond cross on one side of the elephant. It walks tentatively on ratcheted wheels and lifts its head up and down.”

Apart from being the first known automaton surprise used in a Tsar Imperial Easter Egg, this mechanical elephant is seemingly among the first automata made by Fabergé. In comparison with the mechanical devices used in the 1906 Swan and 1908 Peacock Eggs, this automaton is almost primitive. But it is yet another example of Fabergé and his workforce trying something new and which, over time would be extensively and exquisitely refined. The automaton elephant this theme would be repeated eight years later in the 1900 Pine Cone Egg made for Barbara Kelch, neé Bazanova ,was the daughter of an extremely wealthy Moscow merchant family. In 1894, she married Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch, a titled gold magnate and industrialist. In the years from 1898 to 1904, Kelch presented to his wife eggs quite on a par with their Imperial counterparts.

Tatiana Muntian’s research in von Solodkoff, Fabergé: Juwelier des Zarenhofes (Hamburg, 1995) quotes the 1917 inventory of confiscated Imperial treasure as including the …brilliant grill (-work/trellis) egg of 1892 – an egg of nephrite in gold setting, with a brilliant-covered net, base of nephrite with three silver putti. The 1922 inventory of confiscated Imperial treasure includes as a separate entry, …Ivory model of an elephant in gold setting with rose-cut diamonds and diamonds. According to Caroline de Guitaut, the newly discovered automaton surprise is almost identical to the badge of the Danish Order of the Elephant, the most senior order of chivalry in Denmark, except it is made of ivory rather than white enamel and incorporates a mechanism. The elephant is wound with a watch key through a hole hidden underneath the diamond cross on one side of the elephant. It walks on ratcheted wheels and lifts its head up and down.

It is possible the Diamond Trellis Egg is one of two Fabergé eggs referred to in an article by Alexander Mosyakin, …The Sale: Our Country’s Great Loss, in the Moscow newspaper Ogonyok, No. 7, February 1989. Mosyakin refers to two eggs both of …jadeite (sic) with dozens of brilliants being sold for $450 each. This sparse comment could be a rough description of the Diamond Trellis Egg. The description probably should refer to rose-cut diamonds, not brilliants. However, it is difficult to see how an egg with …dozens of brilliants could be worth only $450.

 

Provenance:

  • April 5 (OS), 1892. Would have been presented to Marie Feodorovna, a gift from Alexander III; cost 4,750 silver rubles
  • 1893? Housed at the Gatchina Palace
  • September 16-20 (OS), 1917. One of forty or so eggs sent to the Armoury Palace of the Kremlin in Moscow by the Kerensky Provisional Government for safekeeping
  • February-March 1922. Transferred to the Sovnarkom, the Council of People’s Commissars
  • ca. 1927. Probably sold to Michel Norman of the Paris-based Australian Pearl Company or his associate Norman Weisz, by officials of the Antikvariat (Trade Department)
  • Sold to Emanuel Snowman of Wartski, London
  • 1929. Transferred from Wartski, Llandudno, Wales to Wartski, London, having been purchased for £125
  • October 19, 1929. Bought from Wartski by T. B. Kitson, UK for £260
  • December 5, 1960. Lot 92 sold by Sotheby’s London from the Collection of the late T. B. Kitson, UK, to buyer’s agent, Drager, for £2,400, $6744
  • 1962-77. Private collection, UK
  • May 1983. Private collection, London
  • 1985. Private collection, US
  • April 11, 2003. Lot 101 offered by Christie’s New York from a private American collection, passed at $1,300,000
  • 2012. Dorothy & Artie McFerrin Collection, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Texas

Elephant Surprise:

  • 1927-29: With Wartski; likely purchased separately from the Egg
  • 1935. Sold to King George V, London, and possibly a gift for Queen Mary
  • 2015. The Royal Collection, London
 
Renaissance Egg (1894)
 
Fabergé Renaissance Egg (Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)
18th Century Casket by LeRoy

LEFT EGG: 18th Century Casket by LeRoy | RIGHT EGG: Fabergé Renaissance Egg (Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)
(LEFT PICTURE: Photograph © Géza von Habsburg | RIGHT PICTURE: Courtesy Green Vaults, Dresden, Germany)

 
Workmaster: Mikhail Perkhin
 
Marks: Fabergé, M. P. in Cyrillic, 56, crossed anchors and scepter inside base rim
 
Materials: Egg – white agate, gold, translucent green, red, and blue enamel, opaque black and white enamel, diamonds, rubies | Missing surprise – probably pearls
 
Dimensions: Length of egg – 133 mm. (5¼ in.) | Height of egg – 82 mm. (3¾ in.) | Diameter of egg – 82 mm. (3¾ in.) | Length of case – 203 mm. (8 in.)
 
Description: The egg is of translucent milky agate, opening in half lengthwise. The mounts are gold. The foot is enameled with green leaves and red husks on an opaque white ground. The upper half is covered by a white enameled trellis, set with four rose-cut diamonds around a cabochon ruby at each intersection. At the center of the cover is the date 1894, in rose-cut diamonds with enameled devices set with rose-cut diamonds and cabochon rubies; below a red enameled border are similarly enameled foliate devices set at intervals with diamonds; the lions’ masks at either end have swing handles. The agate shell is so thin and translucent that the shadows of the trellis work and other ornamentation on the outside are easily visible from the inside. The abutting edges of the top and bottom halves are enameled in pristine white and outlined in gold, adorned with a delicate gold tracery in a repeating design of flowers, leaves, and curling vines. The egg retains its original fitted cream velvet case. Inside, the lid lining is stamped in gold but the printing is obscured. (Waterfield & Forbes, 1978; Pfeffer, 1990)
 
Background Notes: Apparently first mentioned in Western literature in H. C. Bainbridge’s autobiography, Twice Seven (London, 1933), this was the last egg made for Tsar Alexander III, who died just eight months later. The egg is an important example of Fabergé’s derivative style; the inspiration for it has clearly come from Le Roy’s 18th century casket in the Grünes Gewölbe (Editor’s note: Green Vaults) Museum in Dresden, Germany:
 
“Note how carefully the modern goldsmith has carried out an almost identical composition in a far lighter vein, by means of a subtle appreciation of the egg shape and a careful adjustment of the scales, as instanced by the gentle curve added to the trellis pattern, and the more substantial base in relation to the casket as a whole.” (Snowman, Fabergé: 1846-1920, London, 1977)
The surprise has been lost and is not detailed in Fabergé’s bill. Shortly before the Forbes Magazine Collection sold its Fabergé eggs to Viktor Vekselberg, Christopher Forbes suggested the Resurrection Egg (1885-1895) may be the surprise for the Renaissance Egg. The invoice mentions pearls, and since they are not evident on the egg itself, they may have been used in the surprise: “Agate egg, gold mounting, enameled in the Renaissance style, with diamonds, rose-cut diamonds, pearls and rubies.” (Fabergé, Proler, & Skurlov, Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, London, 1997) The Resurrection Egg does include pearls. Debate continues among scholars. This is one of the few Imperial eggs designed to sit sideways. Another is the 1907 Tsar Imperial Love Trophies Egg.
 

Provenance:

  • April 17 (OS), 1894. Would have been presented to Marie Feodorovna, a gift from Alexander III; cost 4,750 silver rubles. Housed in the Anichkov Palace
  • September 16-20 (OS), 1917. One of forty or so eggs sent to the Armoury Palace of the Kremlin in Moscow by the Kerensky Provisional Government for safekeeping
  • February-March 1922. Probably transferred to the Sovnarkom, the Council of People’s Commissars
  • June-July 1927. One of eight eggs returned by the Moscow Jewelers’ Union to the Armoury; given inventory no. 17552
  • April 30, 1930. One of twelve eggs selected for export sale
  • June 21, 1930. Transferred from the Armoury to the Antikvariat (Trade Department)
  • 1930. One of ten Imperial eggs sold by the Antikvariat, Moscow, to Hammer Galleries, New York, for 1,000 rubles (ca. $500)
  • May 1937. Advertised by Hammer Galleries
  • November 1937-1947. Owned by Henry Talbot de Vere Clifton, millionaire landowner, sportsman, and poet, UK
  • November 1949. Owned by Jack & Belle Linsky, stapler fortune, New York
  • 1958. Sold by Jack & Belle Linsky to A La Vielle Russie, New York
  • March 1959. Advertised by A La Vieille Russie, New York for $50,000
  • May 1960. Advertised by A La Vieille Russie, New York
  • 1962. Owned by Alexander Schaffer of A La Vieille Russie, New York
  • June 1, 1966. Sold by A La Vieille Russie, New York to Forbes Magazine Collection for $78,750
  • February 2004. Sold privately as part of the Forbes Magazine Collection, New York, to Viktor Vekselberg, Moscow, for just over $100 million, according to the purchaser
  • November 19, 2013. Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
 
The Easter after the death of Tsar Alexander III in 1894, his son Nicholas II as the new Tsar, presented Fabergé Easter eggs to his mother, Marie Feodorovna, and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna.
 
Tsar Alexander III (1845-1894) and His Consort Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928) (Wiki)
Tsar Alexander III (1845-1894) and His Consort Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928) (Wiki)

Tsar Alexander III (1845-1894) and His Consort Marie Feodorovna (1847-1928)
(Wiki)

Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) and His Consort Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) (Source: Royal Russia News, Wiki)
Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) and His Consort Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918) (Source: Royal Russia News, Wiki)

Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) and His Consort Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918)
(Source: Royal Russia News, Wiki)

 
Faberge Imperial Egg Chronology more
 
FAVORITE EGGS
(SHARED BY FABERGÉ ENTHUSIAST BOB DOMMETT FROM THE UK)
1.1913 WINTER EGG6.1913 ROMANOV TERCENTENARY EGG
2.1897 CORONATION EGG7.1902 CLOVER LEAF EGG
3.1914 CATHERINE THE GREAT EGG8.1911 FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY EGG
4.1898 LILIES OF THE VALLEY EGG9.1898 PELICAN EGG
5.1914 MOSAIC EGG10.1900 CUCKOO CLOCK EGG
 
LOCATIONS OF THE 50 IMPERIAL FABERGÉ EGGS
(MORE DETAILS IN THE FABERGÉ IMPERIAL EGG CHRONOLOGY AND EXHIBITIONS WORLDWIDE)
RUSSIAUSAEUROPE
KREMLIN ARMOURY M-- USEUM, MOSCOWVIRGINIA M-- USEUM OF ARTS, RICHMOND
LILLIAN THOMAS PRATT COLLECTION
ROYAL COLLECTION, QUEEN ELIZABETH II LONDON, UK
1891 MEMORY OF AZOV EGG1896 REVOLVING MINIATURES EGG1901 FLOWER BASKET EGG
1899 MADONNA LILY CLOCK EGG1898 PELICAN EGG1910 COLONNADE EGG
1900 TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY EGG1903 PETER THE GREAT EGG1914 MOSAIC EGG
1902 CLOVER LEAF EGG1912 TSESAREVICH EGG
1906 MOSCOW KREMLIN EGG1915 RED CROSS PORTRAITS EGGEDOUARD AND MAURICE SANDOZ FOUNDATION, LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
1908 ALEXANDER PALACE EGG1906 SWAN EGG
1909 STANDART EGGMETROPOLITAN M-- USEUM OF ART, NY
(LOAN EXHIBIT CLOSES NOV 2016)
MATILDA GEDDINGS GRAY FOUNDATION
1908 PEACOCK EGG
1910 ALEXANDER III EQUESTRIAN EGG1890 DANISH PALACES EGG
1913 ROMANOV TERCENTENARY EGG1893 CAUCASUS EGGPRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO
COLLECTION, MONTE CARLO
1916 STEEL MILITARY EGG1912 NAPOLEONIC EGG1895 BLUE SERPENT CLOCK EGG
FABERGÉ M-- USEUM, ST. PETERSBURG
LINK OF TIMES COLLECTION
HILLWOOD ESTATE, M-- USEUM &
GARDENS, WASHINGTON, DC
MARJORIE MERRIWEATHER POST COLLECTION
1885 FIRST HEN EGG1896 ALEXANDER III PORTRAITS EGG
1894 RENAISSANCE EGG1914 CATHERINE THE GREAT EGG
1895 ROSEBUD EGG
1897 CORONATION EGGWALTERS ART GALLERY, BALTIMORE
MARYLAND HENRY WALTERS BEQUEST
1897 SURPRISE FROM MISSING MAUVE EGG WITH THREE MINIATURES
(SCHOLARS DISAGREE, IF THIS IS THE SURPRISE FOR THE MISSING EGG)
1901 GATCHINA PALACE EGG
1898 LILIES OF THE VALLEY EGG1907 ROSE TRELLIS EGG
1900 CUCKOO CLOCK EGGCLEVELAND M-- USEUM OF ART, OHIO
INDIA EARLY MINSHALL COLLECTION
1911 BAY TREE EGG1915 RED CROSS TRIPTYCH EGG
1911 FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY EGG
1916 ORDER OF SAINT GEORGE EGG
HOUSTON M-- USEUM OF NATURAL
SCIENCE, TEXAS
(LOANED FROM THE DOROTHY AND ARTIE MCFERRIN COLLECTION)
FERSMAN MINERALOGICAL M-- USEUM,
MOSCOW
1892 DIAMOND TRELLIS EGG
1917 BLUE TSESAREVICH EGG
(UNFINISHED)
 
PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
1887 THIRD IMPERIAL EGG1907 LOVE TROPHIES EGG
1899 PANSY EGG
MATILDA GRAY STREAMS, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
1913 WINTER EGG
STATE OF QATAR
 
MISSING IMPERIAL EASTER EGGS
1886 HEN EGG WITH SAPPHIRE PENDANT1902 EMPIRE NEPHRITE EGG
1888 CHERUB WITH CHARIOT EGG1903 ROYAL DANISH EGG
1889 NÉCESSAIRE EGG1909 ALEXANDER III COMMEMORATIVE EGG
1897 MAUVE EGG WITH THREE MINIATURES
Click HERE for a printable PDF of the above four tables.
 
General News
 
W.A. Bolin in Stockholm has been a family-owned company for 223 years. On their newly reconstructed website one learns,
 
“Although Bolin and Fabergé were contemporary purveyors to the court, they were not competitors to any greater extent. The market was big enough for both and their specialties differed greatly. Bolin’s strength was the magnificent precious stones set in jewelry with outstandingly crafted settings such as tiaras, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, rings, and earrings. Fabergé became famous for his artistic and charming objects of art and everyday use.”

In the history section of the Bolin website the similar paths the two companies took prior to 1917 are discussed. (Search term Fabergé only works with the accented é.)

 

The documentary, Fabergé. Lost and Found filmed in the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg, is narrated by Dr. Valentin V. Skurlov. Members of the Board of Directors of the private museum are also interviewed. (2014, 44 min., in Russian)

 
Museum News
 
Dancing Mujik Purchased by Emporer Nicholas II in December 1910 for 850 rubles (Courtesy Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)
Dancing Mujik Purchased by Emporer
Nicholas II in December 1910 for 850 rubles
(Courtesy Fabergé Museum,
St. Petersburg, Russia)
Coffeepot from a Three-piece Set, Fedor Rückert Workshop Marked Fabergé (Courtesy Walters Art Museum)
Coffeepot from a Three-piece Set, Fedor
Rückert Workshop Marked Fabergé
(Courtesy Walters Art Museum)
 

Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
October, 8-10, 2015  International Museum Conference with the theme of Lapidary Art covered two main topics:

  • History of Fabergé’s stone carvings with their present locations, problems of attribution and authentication, restoration and preservation
  • Works of Carl Fabergé’s contemporary stone carvers and origin of their art, as well as their role and place in the world’s art history.

Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Royal Collection Trust, London, was the headline speaker for the event also open to the public. Her topic – “East and West: Russian Lapidary Art and the British Royal Collection” included the announcement that the missing elephant automaton surprise of the 1892 Diamond Trellis Egg was found. Presenters for the symposium are listed on the event program. An illustrated collection of reports based on the conference results is to be published.

 

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Texas
The Artie and Dorothy Fabergé exhibition will be continuing through 2016.

 

Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
The Jean Riddell Russian Enamels Collection was bequeathed to the Walters Art Museum in 2011. Many of the 260 pieces from the gift are accessible on the museum’s collections website. The museum staff continues the slow process of cleaning and conserving the pieces to mount an exhibition for the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The catalog for this exhibition is in the planning process and should be complete by early 2017. (Courtesy Dr. Robert M. Mintz, Walters Art Museum)

 
Publications
 
Gold, Asbestos, and Diamonds Dandelion Pin by Fabergé, ca. 1900 (Courtesy Wartski)
Gold, Asbestos, and Diamonds Dandelion Pin by Fabergé, ca. 1900
(Courtesy Wartski)
St. Petersburg Jeweler Alexander Edvard Gustavovich Tillander (b. in Finland, 1837-1918) Became a Goldsmith Master in 1860, Founded His Company to Become One of the Established Jewelers of St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photograph Courtesy of The Tillander Family Collection)
St. Petersburg Jeweler Alexander Edvard
Gustavovich Tillander (b. in Finland, 1837-1918)
Became a Goldsmith Master in 1860, Founded His
Company to Become One of the Established
Jewelers of St. Petersburg, Russia.
(Photograph Courtesy of
The Tillander Family Collection)
Egg Book
Egg Book
 

Tim Adams, independent art historian, reviewed the book, Floral Jewels: From the World’s Leading Designers, written by Carol Woolton, jewelry editor of British Vogue, for Gems & Gemology Magazine published by the Gemological Institute of America. Fabergé used asbestos fibers to create the light and airy naturalistic look of a dandelion blossom. The fibers are wrapped around a metal stem then secured with a small diamond cap or finial which is screwed on the end of the stem.

 

Geoffrey Munn, author of Wartski – The First One Hundred and Fifty Years, is featured in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle Online, August 28, 2015.

 

Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm, a recognized expert of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg jewelry history, has been studying the diaries of Alexander Edvard Gustavovich Tillander, and Alexander Theodor Alexandrovich, her grandfather, both gentlemen in two generations were known as Alexander Tillander. The diaries offer a unique insight both into the professional and personal life of a St. Petersburg jeweler with a myriad of particulars from this fascinating world of craftsmen, collaborators and illustrious clients. On August 27, 2015, she lectured on this topic – “From St Petersburg to Helsinki. The Saga of the Tillander Family of Goldsmiths”- at the St. Petersburg Fabergé Museum. A book based on her research will be published in English and Russian in the near future.

 

A new trend in publishing is evolving to capture additional research and errata for collections and books published for Carl Fabergé’s decorative art objects:

  • The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has added to its website a segment called Updates to Fabergé Revealed (2010 exhibition and catalogue raisonné by Géza von Habsburg, et al. with the title Fabergé Revealed) containing two PDF links –
Fabergé Revealed Corrections report the results of recent gemological assessment and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to aid in the precise identification of the various materials used for individual objects.

 

Fabergé Revealed Errata.

  • Lowes, Will and Christel Ludewig McCanless, authors of Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia, 2001, are publishing their new research and updates for 50 Imperial Easter Eggs in the Fabergé Imperial Egg Chronology of the Fabergé Research Site.