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The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 2

The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 2

The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 2

1897 - Mauve Egg or Mauve Egg with 3 Miniatures


The location of this egg is currently unknown.


The egg was probably made of gold and mauve enamel.


Research in the Russian State Historical Archives in Moscow shows that the surprise in the Mauve Egg was heart-shaped and there is a strong suggestion that it may be the heart-shaped frame included in the Forbes Magazine Collection, (now Vekselberg Foundation). The frame is set with the date 1897 in rose-cut  diamonds and opens as a three-leaf clover with each leave holding a photograph, Nicolai II, Aleksandra Fyodorovna and their baby daughter Grand Duchess Olga.


Czar Nicolai II of Russia, presented this egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna on April 18, 1897. Fabergé’s bill for the egg, describes it as a "mauve enamel egg, with 3 miniatures" on May 17, 1897 for 3,250 rubles.


The heart surprise was sold by Christie's (Geneva) in 1978 to the Forbes Magazine Collection, New York. The surprise is now back in Moscow and visible in the Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow.



1899 – Clock Egg or Bouquet of Lilies Clock or Madonna Lily Egg

Dimensions: height 27 cm (10.6 inches)

The egg-shaped clock and its rectangular pedestal are decorated with translucent enamel on a guilloche background. The body of the clock is divided into twelve parts which are outlined in diamond-studded stripes. The dial surrounding the egg is enameled white with twelve Roman numerals set in diamonds. The hours are indicated by a drawn gold Cupid’s arrow that is held by a gold scaffold surrounding the egg. The whole egg moves inside this scaffold, driven by the clock. The base is decorated with rosettes and the date of its manufacture, 1899, is set in diamonds. The ensemble is designed as a vase with red-gold scrolls serving as extra supports at either side. A gold key was used to wind the mechanism.


The clock is crowned with a bouquet of Madonna lilies, carved from alabaster. The pistils of the flowers are set with three small rose diamonds, and the leaves and stems are of tinted gold.


The surprise from this egg is currently missing, but it was a pendant made with ruby and rose-cut diamonds.


Czar Nicolai presented the egg to his wife, the Czarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna on April 30, 1899.


The egg is currently located at the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow.



1899 - Resurrection Egg

The egg depicts Jesus rising from his tomb, and is the only Fabergé egg to explicitly refer to the Easter story.


There is no surprise in this egg, possibly because it is a surprise itself.


Long considered a Fabergé Imperial egg, and recognized as such by leading Fabergé experts, it does not bear an inventory number. It has been postulated by Christopher Forbes that the Resurrection Egg is the missing surprise from the Renaissance Egg, as it perfectly fits the curvature of the Renaissance Egg's shell, has a similar decoration in enamel on the base, and features a pearl, which is mentioned on the invoice for the Renaissance Egg but not present on that egg.


The Resurrection Egg bears the mark of Michael Perchin, and assay marks indicating that it was made in St. Petersburg before 1899.


This egg was bought in 1922 by a London art dealer, and sold at Christie's, in 1934. Owned by Lord Grantchester, it was bought from his estate by Manhattan art dealers A La Vieille Russie. In 1978 A La Vieille Russie negotiated a private sale of the Resurrection Egg and the Hen Egg to the Forbes Collection.


In 2004 it was sold as part of Forbes Collection to Viktor Vekselberg. The egg is now back in Moscow and visible in the Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow.



1900 - Pansy Egg or Spinach Jade Egg

Dimensions: height 14.6 cm (5.7 inches)


This egg is carved of nephrite and beautifully decorated in the Art Nouveau style.The egg stands on golden twisted leaves from which rise five flowers and five buds of pansy enameled in violet in various nuances and studded with rose-cut  diamonds. The top part of the egg can be opened to reveal the heart surprise.


The heart surprise is made of multicolored gold, diamonds, rose-cut diamonds, pearls, strawberry enamel, white enamel and mother of pearl.

The heart sits on a gold tripod and is surmounted by the Imperial crown with eleven scarlet medallions decorated with monograms. By pressing a button the tiny medallions are all opened, and portraits of each member of the Imperial family become visible.


Reading vertically, in the front row one can see: Czarevich George Alexandrovich, younger brother of the Csar, and Grand Duke Aleksandr  Michailovich, husband of the Grand duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, the Czar's sister. In the second row: Czar Nicolai II and Princess Irina, daughter of Grand Duke Aleksandr Michailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia. In the third row: Grand Duchess Olga Nicolaievna, the first daughter of the Czar and Czarina, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nicolaievna, their second daughter, and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, the youngest brother of the Czar. In the fourth row: The Czarina and Prince Andrew Alexandrovich, brother of Princess Irina. And in the fifth row: the Grand Duchesses Olga and Xenia Alexandrovna, sisters of the Czar. The heart miniature is backed with mother of pearl.


The Czar presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress on April 22, 1900.


This is one of ten eggs that were sold by the Antikvariat to the Hammer Galleries in 1930 and the first egg bought from the Hammer Galleries in 1947 by Matilda Geddings Gray, oil heiress, New Orleans, Louisiana. It was given to her niece, Mrs. Matilda Gray Stream of New Orleans, Louisiana as a wedding anniversary present. The Pansy Egg is one of the few significant Imperial eggs to remain in a private collection.



1900 - Trans-Siberian Railway Egg

Dimensions: height 26 cm (10.2 inches), length of train 39.8 cm (15.7 inches)


This is a translucent green enameled gold Easter egg decorated with colored enamel and mounted on an alabaster base. The lid of the egg is hinged, has an overlay of green enamel, and is decorated with inlaid leaves of acanthus. Surmounting the lid is a three-headed Eagle in gold, bearing the Imperial Crown. Engraved in silver all around the egg is a map of the route of the Trans-Siberian railway, which ran from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. Each station is marked by a precious stone.


The map bears the inscription "The route of the Grand Siberian Railway in the year 1900." The egg is held by three Romanov Griffins cast in gold-plated silver, each brandishing a sword and shield. The stepped base is of alabaster in the form of a triangle with concave sides and rounded corners. A gold-plated silver braid is inlaid into the base. The inside of the egg is lined with velvet


The surprise consists of a working miniature model of the Trans-Siberian Express. The wind-up locomotive and tender are made of platinum and the five coaches of gold, with windows of rock crystal. The headlights are diamonds, and the rear lights are rubies. All carriages connect to form a train. The coaches are individually labeled "mail", "for ladies only", "smoking", "non-smoking", "restaurant", and "chapel". The train runs when the locomotive is wound up with a gold key above the driving wheels.  


Nicolai presented the egg as an Easter gift to his wife, the Czarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna on April 22, 1900.


It is currently kept in the Kremlin Armoury museum in Moscow.



1900 – Cuckoo or Cockerel Egg

Dimensions: height 20.6 cm (8.1 inches)


This egg is made from yellow, green and red gold and enameled opalescent white and translucent violet on a zigzag guilloche. The dial of the clock is encircled with pearls set in red polished gold and enameled with translucent emerald green trefoils. The rose-cut  diamond numerals are set on pale green-white opalescent enamel within opaque white enamel rings. A yellow gold leaf pattern surrounds the central pivot on which the red gold hands revolve.


The egg stands on an elaborate base set with three large rose diamonds. From a design point of view the egg is not very interesting, however, technically it is a major clock making achievement in miniature, and prepares the way for several of Fabergé's more innovative pieces.


When a button at the back of the clock is pressed, the circular pierced gold lattice, which surmounts the top of the egg, opens. A cockerel, plumed with natural feathers, set with cabochon ruby eyes, and standing on gold legs, rises crowing on a gold platform. The cockerel also rises at the stroke of the hour automatically, crowing and flapping its wings and then descending once again into the egg.


On the lattice the date 1900 is inscribed beneath a diamond.


The motive was inspired by an automaton in the collections of the Hermitage by the English clockmaker James Cox (d. 1788). The baroque-style Cuckoo Egg, fashioned as a table clock, is one of six automated Imperial Easter eggs created by Fabergé. With every egg, Fabergé outdid himself in technique, detail or complex mechanics. Some of the world's best examples of handcrafted automata are hidden in the jeweled shells of the Imperial eggs.


The egg, which cost 6500 rubles, was delivered to the Dowager Empress at the Anitchkov Palace on April 22, 1900.


The egg was sold to Wartski Jewelers in 1927. By 1949, the egg had been sold to Mrs. Isabella S. Low, who sold it back to Wartski in 1953. In 1970, it was sold by Wartski to a Washington DC developer, Robert H. Smith. On November 20, 1973, it was sold as lot 355 by Christie's Geneva to Bernard Solomon of Los Angeles for 207,000 dollars. On June 11, 1985, it was sold by Sotheby's New York as part of Mr. Solomon's divorce settlement, and was purchased by Forbes for $1,760,000 - setting a record at auction.


In 2004 it was sold as part of Forbes Collection to Viktor Vekselberg. After eighty years of exile this egg is now back in Moscow and visible in the Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow.



1901 - Basket of Wild Flowers or Flower Basket Egg

Dimensions: height 23 cm (9.1 inches)


This egg is made in the form of a flower basket. The body of the egg is covered with opalescent oyster enamel and decorated with a trellis-work in rose-cut diamonds. The date, 1901, is also studded with rose-cut diamonds. A beautiful composition of wildflowers sits in green gold thread moss. The flowers are made of gold and are covered with a variety of colors of enamel, including pink, white, dark-blue, orange and mauve. The basket is topped with a diamond-set handle.


It is not known if there was a surprise with this Egg. The original Fabergé invoice mentions "pearls" and since there are no pearls on the Egg, they probably were connected to the surprise. A broche or a string of pearls perhaps in some way attached to the Egg?


Originally the foot supporting the egg was white. The egg was restored after the Russian Revolution and the foot is now dark blue enamel.


The egg was made for Czar Nicolai II of Russia, who presented it to his wife, the Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna on Orthodox Easter day April 14, 1901.


In 1933 the Basket of Flowers Egg was sold by the Antikvariat to an unrecorded buyer, probably Emanuel Snowman of Wartski Jewelers, or Michel Norman of the Australian Pearl Company. In 1933 it was acquired for Queen Mary, and in 1953 inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. It resides in the Royal Collection.



1901 - Gatchina Palace Egg

Dimensions: Height 12.7 cm (5 inches)

The Egg is divided into twelve panels via bands of seed pearls. Portrait diamonds are set at either end of the egg, but the monogram and the year, which were probably presented beneath them, have been removed. The gold egg is enameled opalescent white over a guilloche background. A delicate design of green and gold leaves, pink roses and red ribbons completes the decoration of this egg.

The egg opens to reveal a miniature gold replica of the palace at Gatchina, the Dowager Empress's principal winter residence outside St. Petersburg. Detailed work around the palace in the surprise shows cannons, a flag, a statue of Paul I (1754-1801), and elements of the landscape. The miniature palace is fixed inside the egg and cannot be removed.

The Faberge work master was Mikhail Perkhin.

Czar Nicolai II presented this egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, on Easter April 14, 1901.

The inspiration for this egg is the palace in Gatchina, some 30 miles outside of St.Petersburg. The palace was built for Count Grigorii Orlov, lover of Katharina the Great.

Fabergé's revival of eighteenth-century techniques, including the application of multiple layers of translucent enamel over guilloche or mechanically engraved gold, is demonstrated in the shell of the egg.

In 1930 the egg was bought by Henry Walters from an emigrated dealer, Alexandre Polovtsoff. Polovtsoff had been the curator of the Stieglitz Museum of Industrial Art before the Revolution and had remained in St Petersburg trying to protect the Pavlosk and Gatchina Palaces during the upheavals. How Polovtsoff managed to get the egg to Paris remains unknown.


This egg is currently kept at the Walters Art Gallery - Baltimore, Maryland, USA



1902 - Clover Leaf Egg

Dimensions: height 9.8 cm (3.9 inches)


A pattern of stems and leaves of clover made from diamonds and beautiful bright green enamel form the body of the egg that is created in the à jour technique. The gaps between the lightly connected leaves are filled with transparent enamel. A fine gold ribbon paved with rubies is woven through the leaves.


The "surprise" of the egg has been lost but according to the archives four leaves with 23 diamonds and 4 portrait miniatures of the emperor's daughters were fixed inside the egg. These leaves are the symbol of the happy marriage of Nicolai II and Aleksandra Fyodorovna.

The egg was created by Fabergé's workmaster, Mikhail Perkhin (Russian, 1860-1903)


Czar Nikolai II presented it as an Easter gift to his wife, Aleksandra Fyodorovna on April 24, 1902.


This egg employs what is one of the most difficult enamel techniques. Normally enamel is placed on a support. In this case the enamel is fired without any support. It is therefore extremely fragile and only a very experienced artist will manage to produce enamel that doesn’t bubble or crack during the firing and cooling processes. The enamel work on this egg is absolutely perfect and it is considered one of the finest examples of the jeweler's art anywhere in the world.


This egg is currently held in the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.



1902 - Empire Nephrite or Aleksandr III Medallion Egg

The egg was probably made of nephrite in the Empire style with a golden base and decorated with diamonds and a medallion portrait of the late Czar Aleksandr III.


It is possible that the surprise from the Aleksandr III Medallion Egg was exhibited in Belgrave Square, London in 1935. The exhibition catalog mentions a "miniature of Aleksandr III by Zehngraf in a nephrite frame, lent by Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia". Unfortunately no images are known.


Czar Nicolai II of Russia presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna on April 27, 1902.


The whereabouts of this egg is currently unknown.



1903 - Peter the Great Egg

Dimensions: height 11.1 cm  (4.4 inches). Statue 4 cm (1.6 inches)


This egg is made in the Rococo style and celebrates the 200 year anniversary of the founding of St.Petersburg by Peter the Great. It is executed in gold and the decorations are outlined with rose cut diamonds and rubies. The body of the egg is covered in laurel leaves and bulrushes that are chased in 14-carat green gold. These symbolize the source of the "living waters". The egg shell features four miniatures by B. Baal that show Peter the Great, the wooden hut that is traditionally said to have been built by himself, Czar Nicolai II and the 1000 room Winter Palace. Each of the miniatures is covered with transparent rock crystal.


White enamel ribbons inscribed with historical details encircle the egg. The inscriptions read "The Emperor Peter the Great, born in 1672, founding St. Petersburg in 1703" and "The first little house of the Emperor Peter the Great in 1703". "The Emperor Czar Nicolai II born in 1868 ascended the throne in 1894" and "The Winter Palace of His Imperial Majesty in 1903."

The dates 1703 and 1903 appear on either side of the lid.


The surprise is that when the egg is opened, a mechanism within raises a miniature gold model of Peter the Great's monument on the Neva, resting on a base of sapphire. The model was made by Gerogii Malychevin. The reason for this choice of surprise is the story of a legend from the 19th century that says enemy forces will never take St. Petersburg while the "Bronze Horseman" stands in the middle of the city.


Czar Nicolai presented the egg to his wife, the Czarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna on Easter, April 19, 1903.


The egg is currently located at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, in the United States.

1903 - Royal Danish  or Danish Silver Jubilee Egg

Dimensions: height 27.5 cm (10.8 inches)

The outer surface of this egg is in light blue and white enamel with ornaments in gold and precious stones. The egg is surmounted by the symbol of Denmark's ancient Order of the Elephant. Thought to have been founded by King Knut IV in the 12th century, the order was re-established by King Christian I in 1464. In Denmark this was the symbol of absolute rule.


The surprise is a double-sided miniature screen on a stand, showing portraits of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), the parents of the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna.

Each miniature is surmounted by a diamond crown and initial.


In 1903 the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, born the Danish Princess Dagmar - the daughter of King Christian IX - returned to Denmark for the 40th Anniversary of her father's accession to the throne. The egg that Czar Nicolai presented to his Mother as her Easter gift in 1903 was a commemoration of that event and at he same time to commemorate the death of Queen Louise at Bernsdorff Castle, five years earlier.


This is one of the largest eggs that Fabergé made.


The current whereabouts of this egg are unknown.



1906 - Moscow Kremlin or Uspenski Cathedral Egg

Dimensions: height 36.1 cm (14.2 inches)


This is by far the largest of the eggs and was inspired by the architecture of the Cathedral of the Assumption (Uspenski) in Moscow, where all the Russian Czar’s were crowned. The Cathedral dome (in white opalescent enamel) is removable, and the remarkably crafted interior of the church can be seen. Its carpets, tiny enameled icons and High Altar on an oval glass plate are made visible through four triple windows, surmounted by a gold cupola and flanked by two square and two circular stylized turrets. The tower bears the coat-of-arms of the Russian Empire and Moscow, inset with 'chiming clocks'. It stands on a crenellated gold base and octagonal alabaster plinth.

The surprise in this egg is a clockwork music box that plays two cherubim chants, traditional Easter hymns that are played when the mechanism is wound up by a gold key. One of the hymns is the "Izhe Khveruviny", a favourite hymn of Czar Nicolai II.


The egg commemorates the return to Moscow of the royal couple Czar Nicolai II and Aleksandra in 1903. They had avoided the historical capital because during their coronation, hundreds of Muscovites were crushed to death. The egg itself was supposed to be presented in 1904, but this was delayed because of the Russo-Japanese War and then once more when in 1905 Nicolai's favorite uncle and brother-in-law, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated in the Kremlin. So instead the egg was presented by Czar Nicolai to his wife, the Czarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna on April 15, 1906.


The egg is currently held in the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow.



1906 - Swan Egg

Dimensions: Height: 10 cm (3.9 inches)


The egg is made of translucent mauve enamel, with gold trim. It is decorated with a trellis of twisted ribbons encrusted with rose-cut diamonds. On the apex of the egg is set a portrait diamond inscribed "1906". Another portrait diamond on the other end once held the Imperial monograph.


The "surprise" is a miniature gold and silver swan on a "lake" of aquamarine. By winding a mechanism beneath one of the wings, the swan advances, spreads its wings, raises its head and neck and then settles again down. In Russia, the swan is considered a symbol of family life and the permanence of the bond of marriage.


Czar Nicolai II, presented this egg to Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna on Easter, April 15, 1906 for her 40th wedding anniversary.


The egg is currently held in the Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation, Switzerland.


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Date:  12th Apr 09

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