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Saturday, 7 November 2015
Sotheby's London Auction: Russian Works of Art, Faberge & Icons, 1st December 2015
Topic: Faberge

A total of 136 items will be offered at Sotheby’s London on 1st December, 2015. Led by two Imperial presentation boxes which showcase the competition between Carl Fabergé and Carl Hahn for Emperor Nicholas II’s commissions, this winter sale is further embellished by a Private collection of Fabergé, enamel and silverwork. A wide selection of items from the Fabergé workshops includes a number of pieces by Feodor Rückert and the icon section is bolstered by a Private European collection of nineteenth century icons within silver-gilt and enamel oklads. Below, are a mere sample of the Fabergé items offered:

Lot No. 418 - A miniature portrait of Emperor Nicholas II, Johannes Zehngraf (1857-1908), circa 1898
Estimate   3,000 — 5,000  GBP

A miniature portrait of Emperor Nicholas II, Johannes Zehngraf (1857-1908), circa 1898 on ivory, the Emperor depicted wearing the uniform of the Preobrazhenskii Regiment, the sash of the Order of St Andrew, and a range of medals: the badge of the Order of St Vladimir, 4th class (bestowed on him 30 August 1890), commemorative medals of Alexander III's Coronation (1894) and Reign (1896), the badges of the Danish Order of Daneborg (1894) and the Greek Order of the Saviour (1884), signed in Latin 'Zehngraf' centre left
height 3.4cm, 1 3/8 in.

Lot No. 419 -   An Imperial Presentation Fabergé jewelled gold, enamel and hardstone box, workmaster Michael Perchin, St Petersburg, 1899-1903
Estimate  120,000 — 180,000  GBP

Description: circular, carved of nephrite, the hinged lid centred with the rose-cut diamond-set crowned cypher of Emperor Nicholas II on a ground of translucent white enamel over sunburst engine-turning within a diamond-set bezel, the lid border of two-colour gold laurel festoons hung from diamonds, chased leaf rim mount, struck with workmaster's initials and Fabergé in Cyrillic, 56 standard
diameter 8.6cm, 3 3/8 in.

Provenance: Presented by Emperor Nicholas II

Lot No. 420 - An Imperial Presentation jewelled gold and enamel box, Carl Blank for Hahn, St Petersburg, 1899-1908
Estimate  200,000 — 300,000  GBP

Description: oval, the lid applied with the diamond-set crowned cypher of Emperor Nicholas II on a royal blue translucent enamel ground over concentric wavy engine-turning within seed pearls, the scarlet red border applied with diamond-set intertwining gold laurel and ribbon, the sides and base of blue enamel, struck with workmaster's initials and K.Hahn in Cyrillic, 56 standard
width 8.7cm, 3 1/2 in.

Provenance: Presented by Emperor Nicholas II

Lot No. 446 -  A pair of bronze figures, inscribed Fabergé, dated 1912
Estimate  20,000 — 30,000  GBP

Description: cast and cold painted as A.A. Kudinov and N.N. Pustynnikov, personal Kamer-Kazak bodyguards of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, in dress parade uniforms with badges and medals, the coats trimmed with Imperial eagles, the cockaded fleece hats with gold braid, inscribed in Russian on the heels and soles of the boots 'Kamer-Kazak since 1894/A.A. Kudinov/Fabergé/1912' and 'Kamer-Kazak since 1894/N.N. Pustynnikov/Fabergé/1912'
Quantity: 2
height of both 18.2cm, 11 1/4 in.

Click on the link below to view the 92-page catalogue:

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons Catalogue 


© Sotheby's / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 November, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:44 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 7 November 2015 9:06 AM EST
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Thursday, 22 October 2015
Missing Surprise from Faberge Egg Found in British Royal Collection
Topic: Faberge

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the October 19, 2015 edition of Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Anna Romanova owns the copyright of the work presented below. Please note that articles published on this blog are for information purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Royal Russia. 

Scientists preparing a new catalogue for the British Royal Collection have accidentally come across the surprise originally contained in the eighth egg from the Fabergé Imperial Easter Series, which for a long time was considered lost.

The surprise of the egg is a miniature mechanized elephant.

Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator of the Royal Collection, the art collection of the British Royal Family, was the first to make the announcement during a scientific conference at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg on Oct. 13.

The eighth egg from the Imperial Diamond Net Series was commissioned by Alexander III as a gifted to his spouse Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1892.

The egg's shell was cut from a semi-transparent apple-green rock with encrusted diamonds in the body. Initially the egg had a silver or golden base with cherubs, considered to symbolize the imperial family's three sons: Nicholas, Mikhail and Georgy.

It is also known that inside the egg there was a surprise in the form of a tiny elephant with a winding mechanism. Its description remained in the Fabergé account books and was translated into English.

After the revolution the egg was confiscated and several years later sold abroad, where it turned up in several private collections, ending up in the McFerrin family collection in the U.S. However, the surprise was lost.

Since British scientists could not prove that the find was precisely the elephant in question, the restorers decided to dissemble the figure.

"A fragment of the elephant's turret was lost," said Guitaut. "It seems that 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."

Meanwhile, it is still a mystery how the British Royal Collection obtained the figure. One version says that it was acquired by King George V in 1935.

Easter eggs made by Fabergé are a rarity on the auction market and can fetch as much as $18.5 million. That is the sum Russian collector Alexander Ivanov paid for the Rothschild Egg at Christie's in 2007.

© Anna Romanova / Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 22 October, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:31 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 October 2015 8:51 AM EDT
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Sunday, 21 June 2015
Faberge Exhibition Brings Romanov Luster to Oklahoma City
Topic: Faberge


Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 21st, 2015 edition of NewsOK. The author Michaela Marx Wheatley owns the copyright of the work presented below.

Between 1885 and 1916, Peter Karl Fabergé created fifty lavish eggs as Easter presents for Russia's last two emperors. These supreme examples of jewelers’ art have become symbols of the rise and fall of the Romanov Empire. Oklahomans now have a chance to take a close look at these rare works.

Four Imperial Eggs and nearly 230 other treasures crafted by the House of Fabergé are on view in the special exhibition “Fabergé: Jeweler to the Tsars” at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art through Sept. 27.

“Visitors will experience the wonder of these unique objects, but also have a chance to discover the stories of the people who made them possible, from the Romanov family to Karl Fabergé to the craftsmen themselves,” said Tracy Truels, OKCMOA education curator.

Audio guides designed for children and adults and a hands-on Design Studio, where visitors can create their own Imperial eggs, are available daily. A Gallery Talk Series is scheduled at 1 p.m. on select Sundays throughout the exhibition. Museum staff will discuss a Fabergé topic while touring through the gallery. Each experience is free with paid admission to the Museum.

Introduced to the works of Fabergé at an exhibition in Moscow, Tsar Alexander III appointed Fabergé jeweler and goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Court. Fabergé went on to create hundreds of exquisite objects, including the legendary series of eggs.

 “Hundreds of unique objects, including the famed Imperial Easter Eggs, were commissioned by the Romanovs until the Russian Revolution in 1917. The intertwining relationship between Fabergé and the last Russian dynasty has been a real point of fascination for people over the last century,” Fabergé  curatorial assistant Catherine Shotick said.

Alexander III presented an egg each year to the Empress Maria. The gifting tradition was continued by his son, Nicholas II.

“Peter Karl Fabergé worked very closely with the Imperial family, producing work that would become treasured parts of the Romanovs lives,” added Michael Anderson, special exhibition curator. “Naturally, one sees this in the Easter eggs.”

Each egg on display at OKCMOA tells a story; each one meant something to the Romanovs.

The Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg celebrated Nicholas’ son Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. The boy nearly perished that year. He had been so close to death the court had already written his death notice. Alexei survived, and Fabergé designed a special tribute. It is said that it was Empress Alexandra's most cherished egg.

The Pelican Egg, the first Oklahoma audiences see when entering the exhibition, dazzles in its detail. It’s made of engraved gold, topped by a delicate pelican feeding her young. This egg commemorated the Dowager Empress’ patronage of various charitable institutions, which are depicted on a folding screen in eight ivory miniatures.
The Red Cross Egg signaled that the Romanov's protective shell of imperial privilege had been dangerously cracked by the onset of World War I. Alexandra enrolled herself and her older daughters in nurses' training and converted the Winter Palace into a provisional hospital to care for the wounded. The egg reveals portraits the Romanov women dressed in the Sisters of Mercy uniform.

Also on display is an egg celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, from which a miniature statue of Peter the Great emerges.

However, the show offers much more than eggs from elegant jewelry to exquisite dishes and ornate frames.

Born in 1846, Fabergé was educated in St. Petersburg and Dresden, where he fell under the influence of Renaissance and Baroque art. He trained with goldsmiths in France, Germany and England, eventually building a business catering to the tastes of Russia’s upper class.

“Fabergé’s workshops were managed by only the most accomplished master metal smiths and jewelers, and great care was taken in the selection of materials to assure the highest quality,” said Shotick.

OKCMOA President and CEO E. Michael Whittington said each staff member has been intrigued by a different piece. For him it’s a small star frame with the photograph of Grand Duchess Tatiana.

“For me, the beauty of this object lies in its simplicity and superb craftsmanship. Its tragic history, however it was included in the inventory of personal effects from the murdered Romanov family makes it endlessly fascinating,” Whittington said.

“For whatever it represented, this object matter dearly to the Romanov family,” Anderson added.

Bringing the exhibition to Oklahoma City is the culmination of years of work, Whittington said, acknowledging the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for their collaboration.

 “It has truly been an exciting international collaboration.”

Whittington is excited people are taking note of Oklahoma as an art destination with institutions like the OKCMOA, the Gilcrease and Philbrook in Tulsa, and the Fred Jones Museum of Art in Norman.  

 “Fabergé: Jeweler to the Tsars builds on the already strong reputation of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art in showcasing major exhibitions. Later this summer, we’ll be announcing an even more ambitious exhibition and partnership with one of the world’s leading art museums,” Whittington said.  

Buy tickets online at or at the Museum’s admission desk. Audio guides are available for adults and children to immerse visitors in the artwork and mystery of the Romanov dynasty. 

© Michaela Marx Wheatley / NewsOK. 21 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:11 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 June 2015 9:16 AM EDT
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Sunday, 14 June 2015
Faberge Jewellery Manufacturers Had no Equals in Europe
Topic: Faberge

Portrait of Carl Fabergé. Artist: Unknown
The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg continues to investigate the contribution of Russian businessmen, merchants and patrons of the arts in the country's development. Its collections include a book by Tatiana Muntyan "Fabergé: Jeweller of the Romanovs", which reveals the causes of global recognition of Carl Fabergé’s jewellery. His name is inseparable from the image of imperial courts of Russia and Europe of the late 19th - early 20th century. Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II often used the products of the master to strengthen political, economic and military relations within the country and abroad.

The launch of Fabergé company refers to 1842, when the 2nd guild merchant Gustav Fabergé opened in the Admiralty part of St. Petersburg a modest shop with a workshop of gold and diamond items. By origin, Fabergé family represented French Protestants (Huguenots) who immigrated first to Germany and then settled in Livonia. Like many jewellers of the time, Gustav Fabergé rushed to the jewellery Mecca of the empire - St. Petersburg. It was there that his son Peter Carl (1846-1920) was born, under whom the company earned a well-deserved worldwide fame and popularity, becoming a powerful business enterprise "producing jewellery, silver, and other products of metal and stones."

In his work Carl Fabergé demonstrates a wide palette of styles - from the "Art Nouveau" to "Art Deco", dominated by modernism and the "Russian style." More than two hundred works and historical documents that are included in the above publication, illustrate the wide range of his talent in using a variety of techniques and materials for the realization of the infinite variety of subjects. The magic touch of the master’s hand transformed diamonds, Ural gems, enamel, crystal and precious metals into magnificent decorations, Easter eggs, flowers, animal figures and many other unusual items.

Splendid Easter eggs make up the smallest part of what the company had created during the time of its existence. But when we say "Fabergé" we imagine primarily these brilliant works, the creation of which the great jeweler devoted more than thirty years of his life. Special recognition of connoisseurs was given to the eggs named "Constellation of the Tsarevich" and "Coronation" - with a miniature coach inside. Description of such a magnificent egg in the bill was laconic: "Egg of yellow enamel and a coach." The price: 5500 rubles. The "Coronation" egg reminded the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of the great event when she contracted "a mystical marriage with Russia," as it is written in the book of A. Bohanov "Nicholas II».

The House of Fabergé building at 24 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa in St. Petersburg, as it looks today
Initially, Peter Carl "was attached to the family and the capital of his father", but in 1872 he headed the business. Thanks to fastidious taste in art and astonishing energy of Carl Fabergé, the company became the largest jewelry enterprise in Russia with a large staff of craftsmen and artists (more than five hundred people) and modern equipment. The company had branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London.

The book by I. Zimin and A. Sokolov, "Jewellery treasures of the Russian imperial court", which is also held by the Presidential Library, describes the activities of foreign representative offices of the Russian jewellery company: “Among the personal orders coming directly from members of the imperial family, a significant part covered the gifts to European relatives. ...For example, when preparing a trip of the Empress Maria Feodorovna to Denmark, the imperial family ordered the items with the total cost of 4, 464 rubles: three elephants, a mushroom, two cups with the eagles." At that time it was a considerable sum of money.

The main jewellery production, the main shop and office were located in the house of Carl Fabergé, built in 1900 in the aristocratic district of St. Petersburg, on Bolshaya Morskaya Street designed by architect Karl Schmidt. The house had a safe-lift, which delivered items from the workshops to the selling area on the ground floor.

Many representatives of St. Petersburg elite, such as the prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theatre Matilda Kshesinskaya, kept their jewellery in Fabergé’s house. In the book cited in this publication, Kshessinskaya says that she did not take her jewellery when going to a tour abroad: Fabergé’s company insured them and transported abroad itself. Arriving abroad, Kshessinskaya just mentioned the number of the time by telephone (for purposes of secrecy), and the agent detective brought the needed jewel in the hotel or theatre, while remaining close to it all evening.

In 1885, Carl Fabergé was allowed to be referred to the Supplier of the Imperial Court, and five years later he was bestowed the title of the Appraiser of the Office of His Imperial Majesty - Fabergé was invited to the palaces for the accurate evaluation of quality and value of the stones.

By all accounts, gold and silver, and jewellery that Fabergé so ably represented at home and abroad, was the sector of industry in which the Russians had no equal in Europe.

© Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:05 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 June 2015 8:18 AM EDT
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Thursday, 4 June 2015
5 Questions for the Director of 'Faberge: A Life of Its Own'
Topic: Faberge


Click on the start button to watch a short trailer to the film
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 4th, 2015 edition of BLOUINARTINFO. The author Michelle Tay owns the copyright of the work presented below.

Despite being inextricably linked to the lives, loves and tragedy of the last Romanov Tsar Nicholas II and his Empress Alexandra, and to the Russian Revolution, Fabergé has been many things to many people.

To those who lived through World War I, it had gone being the royal jeweler, making incredibly precious works of art of gemstones and enamel, to a workshop producing war supplies.

To auction houses in the post-war period, it was the maker of the famously ornate Imperial Easter eggs, which due to their rarity and the closure of the company by the Bolsheviks in 1918, became almost mythical and extremely valuable.

And to teenagers growing up in the rest of Europe in the 1970s, it was a company that made an ubiquitous fragrance, called Brut, that was marketed by actress Farah Fawcett and boxer Henry Cooper.

With his new documentary Fabergé: A Life of Its Own, British film maker Patrick Mark traces the company’s history through 150 years of art, romance, royalty, politics, tragedy, and corporate changes, providing color and background to all these various perceptions of the company that was founded as a humble jewellery workshop by German jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé.

The film, which will hit theatres globally in June, starts with footage of Fabergé’s dilapidated, abandoned premises, juxtaposed with sumptuous images of some of the numerous (estimated to be about 200,000) classical jewels and objets d’art that, once upon a time, it produced.

The story then weaves its way, through interviews with descendants of the Fabergé family, art historians, contemporary jewellery experts, and of course, collectors of Fabergé’s work, to its modern day iteration as a company dedicated to its Russian heritage while forging ahead in a global economy.

Blouin Lifestyle caught up with Mark about his film-making process:

Q. What was it about Fabergé’s story that prompted you to look into it?

A. I’m not an art historian – I’m a documentary maker, an outsider coming into this world. Brut by Fabergé was a big fragrance in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and was marketed by Farah Fawcett and boxer Henry Cooper. I was intrigued to know how on earth that connected with this Imperial Russian story. It became that the journey of the Fabergé name from the 1880s to today is very rich with many different tangential sidebars.

Q. What did you learn through making this film?

A. The world of Fabergé has always had a mystique attached to it. They seemed to be talismanic objects that evoked this exotic dynasty. The idea that some of the 50 Easter eggs are still out there, possibly unrecognized and ready to be discovered, appeals to a lot of people. I was drawn to the fact that these objects represent tangible connections to a vanished world, and I think the fact that the persons central to the story came to such a tragic end really struck a chord, particularly in America, much more than in Europe.

Q. What, if anything, surprised you the most?

A. What came to me as a surprise is the fact that there are many different perceptions of Fabergé in different parts of the world. A Canadian friend looked at me strangely because he’d only ever heard of the perfume and aftershave. Conversely, a Russian art historian in Moscow couldn’t understand my fascination with Fabergé when there are other Imperial jewellers worth mentioning. And in the UK, an auctioneer told me Fabergé was considered to be garish and vulgar in London in the 1950s, until Sotheby’s in 1963 commissioned Ian Fleming to write a short story about James Bond and a Fabergé egg at auction [which led to the plot of Octopussy. And Kate Moss allegedly used a jewel-encrusted Fabergé egg to carry cocaine and ecstasy around the world with her as she moved from one modeling job to another in the 1990s.

Q. Is there anything you weren’t able to include?

A. We didn’t have time to mention the famous Russian ballerina who amassed an enormous collection of Fabergé in the beginning of the 20th century; the false teeth that were made for a Russian grand duchess; and numerous other stories behind the missing Fabergé eggs.

Q. Was it difficult persuading the museums to let you venture near their precious Fabergé items?

A. The Fabergé community is actually a small one, but I found myself welcomed very generously by all the institutions involved, including The State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Royal Collection in London, The Hodges Family Collection in the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts [which holds five Imperial Easter Eggs bequeathed by Lillian Thomas Pratt in 1947].

Fabergé: A Life of Its Own (2014) will be in theatres worldwide from June 29 
© Michelle Tay - BLOUINARTINFO. 04 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:34 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 June 2015 6:41 AM EDT
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Friday, 29 May 2015
The Fate of the Lost Faberge Masterpieces and Amazing Discoveries
Topic: Faberge

On June, 5 at 19:00 Kieran McCarthy, art expert and director of Wartski, a London-based firm of antique dealers specialising in the work of Carl Fabergé, will give a lecture devoted to the Third Imperial Easter Egg, his unique finding that shook the art world. Fifty Imperial Easter Eggs are known to be delivered by Carl Fabergé to Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II from 1885 to 1916. The Third Imperial Easter Egg (1887) was until its recent rediscovery under intriguing circumstances among the eight lost Imperial Fabergé Eggs.

The Easter Egg with clock in the Louis XVI style, decorated with diamonds, sapphires and rose cut diamonds was given by Alexander III to Empress Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887. It can be still seen displayed among Maria Feodorvna’s Fabergé treasures on the extant pictures of charity exhibition in the Von Dervis Mansion. The Egg is considered to be sold off abroad some time after the Revolution as many other masterpieces. Anyway a new mention can be found only in 1964 when the Egg was offered for sale as a sophisticated clock without reference to its provenance. Then it was purchased by some private collector, who unfortunately did not realize its significance and tried to sell it at intrinsic value. Today it seems improbable and dreadful but scratches inside the Egg caused by gold samples taking are clearly visible. Desperate to get at least some decent sum of money for this treasure, the owner was sitting in his kitchen in Texas, surfing the Internet for some information about the art object. Having found that the Egg could be a work of the great Russian jeweler, he caught the next available flight to London to meet Kieran McCarthy. A prominent specialist in Fabergé works. McCarthy was intrigued by the amazing story and the next day returned to Texas together with the owner of the Egg. Kieran still recalls with a smile when he saw the Egg for the first time. It was standing modestly on the kitchen counter next to a chocolate cupcake.

On June, 5 at 19:00 the audience will have unique opportunity to learn firsthand all the details about this discovery and the fate of the other seven lost eggs.

The lecture will be delivered on June 5, 2015, at 19:00, in the White Column Hall of the Fabergé Museum.

The lecture is delivered in English with simultaneous translation. The attendance is subject to registration. The number of places is limited. To register, please, send your name, phone number to 
© Fabergé Museum. 29 May, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 May 2015 3:00 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015
The 'Real Romance' of Faberge
Topic: Faberge

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the May 11th, 2015 edition of Christie's Daily. The author Paul Wilson owns the copyright of the work presented below.

An award-winning new documentary recounts the roller coaster fortunes of the House of Fabergé, whose pre-1917 works inspire levels of devotion among seasoned collectors. Paul Wilson reports in Christie’s Daily.
Click here to read the full article, view colour photographs and watch a short VIDEO (in English):


© Paul Wilson / Christie’s Daily. 13 May, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:59 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 May 2015 7:06 AM EDT
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Thursday, 30 April 2015
Wartski: The Faberge Connection
Topic: Faberge

The Third Imperial Egg Exhibtion at Wartski, London, April 2014. Photo © Wartski
Copyright Notice: The following article is condensed from Art of Jewellery: The Royal Legacy of Wartski, originally published in the April 29th, 2015 edition of BlouinArtinfo. The author Michelle Tay, owns the copyright of the work presented below.  

It was no ordinary egg that cost a private collector about £20 million to acquire and drew 2,300 people to view it in a four-day exhibition in London last April. It was an Imperial Egg made by Carl Fabergé — specifically, one of eight that were believed to have been lost after the Bolshevik Revolution and the death of the Russian Imperial Romanov family. Made in yellow gold and set with cabochon sapphires and rose diamonds, opening to reveal a watch with diamond-set hands by Vacheron Constantin, the masterpiece was given by Alexander III to the Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1887, making it the third of the 50 Imperial eggs ever made. 

It seemed fitting that Wartski, famed London jewellery and antiques dealer, was the one to find it in 2012 — in the American Midwest kitchen of a part-time dealer, who had bought the egg at a bric-a-brac market for $13,302 thinking he could resell it for its gold value. After all, the legendary firm has handled the resale of 12 other Imperial Eggs in its 150-year history, and has firmly established its position as one of the foremost specialist dealers of Fabergé’s work, which also includes fine jewellery, gold boxes, and silver, as well as historically significant works of art relating to many other members of British and European royalty, along with the trials, triumphs, loves and tragedies of their former owners.

A good example is a diamond and aquamarine brooch by Fabergé that Kenneth Snowman, a former chairman of Wartski, bought for his wife Sallie. According to Geoffrey Munn, Wartski’s current managing director, well-known expert on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and author of the new book Wartski: The First 150 Years, the piece was bought by “the Supreme Autocrat of all the Russias” (Nicholas II, who turned out to be the last Emperor of the Russian Empire) to present to his bride, who would become Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, three months before the wedding — but the story doesn’t end there. This jewel was with the Empress right up to her final moments, before she was taken to be murdered in a prison in Siberia. But there are also less grim finds, such as a Fabergé cup, originally made for the Tsar’s brother, that was carved from a stone called coprolite — which turned out to be fossilized feces. “The combination of gold and dinosaur poo was quite amusing,” exclaims Munn. Discovering such gems, he continues, “is really about going into the field with a trowel and spotting a piece of gold.”

The Wartskis originated from Poland, but were among the three million Polish Jews who emigrated between 1881 and 1917. Morris Wartski founded the first shop in Bangor, North Wales in 1865, then established two more in the fashionable seaside resort of Llandudno by 1970. In 1911, his son-in-law Emanuel Snowman opened another branch of the firm in London, and can be credited with obtaining the Russian treasures that had been confiscated after the Revolution, including several Imperial Eggs that found new homes with the likes of Queen Mary, who acquired the Colonnade Egg from Snowman and gave it to her husband, King George V, in 1931. The first Wartski exhibition was on November 8, 1949, which displayed nearly 400 pieces of Fabergé works.
© Michelle Tay / BlouinArtinfo. 30 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:33 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 April 2015 5:38 AM EDT
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Friday, 24 April 2015
Faberge Documentary to Get Global Screening
Topic: Faberge

Event cinema specialist Arts Alliance is to bring the award-winning documentary Fabergé: A Life of Its Own to cinemas worldwide for one day only. Directed by Patrick Mark, the film explores the history of the Fabergé dynasty.

The film, which has picked up festival prizes at Newport Beach, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills, will be shown on June 29 in more than 20 countries across more than 400 screens.

Fabergé: A Life Of Its Own tells the epic story of the Fabergé name, from Imperial Russia up to present day -- a period spanning one hundred and fifty years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development and commercial exploitation. 

From the priceless bejewelled Easter eggs of the Romanov Empresses, to the more accessible 1970s allure of 'Brut by Fabergé' aftershave, the brand’s enduring appeal is still recognized by today's fashion-conscious consumers worldwide. The film explores a multi-faceted empire that began with one man -- the prodigiously talented Peter Carl Fabergé, Court Jeweller of St. Petersburg. 

The film was shot at locations across Russia, Europe and the US, including the collection of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and includes interviews with the world’s foremost Faberge authorities, as well as personal reminiscences from Faberge family members, including Tatiana Fabergé, Sarah Fabergé, Géza von Habsburg, Katharina Flohr, John Andrew, Olga Vaigatcheva, André Ruzhnikov and Miranda Carter. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:53 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 24 April 2015 6:58 AM EDT
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Monday, 13 April 2015
Imperial Russian Splendour at Sotheby's
Topic: Faberge

Photo: A Fabergé Imperial Presentation jewelled gold cigarette case by workmaster August Holmström of St Petersburg (Lot 60), of rounded rectangular form, the exterior partially covered with a samorodok surface, the upper left corner with a gem-set imperial cypher of the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1854-1920). c. 1895. 8.3cm long. Estimate: $20,000-30,000. Photo © Sotheby's
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 13, 2015 edition of The Telegraph. The author Judith Miller, owns the copyright of the work presented below. 

Exquisite Fabergé artefacts are among the lots at Sotheby's sale of Russian treasures from the late Romanov period

When it comes to that heady combination of excellence and opulence in the decorative arts, there are a few places and periods that stand head-and-shoulders above others. A-list examples in the last millennium include Ming Dynasty China from the late 14th to the mid-17th century; the Italian city states of the Renaissance; France from the mid-17th to the late 18th century, under the reigns of Louis XIV (the Sun King), Louis XV, and Louis XIV; and – the focus here – pre-Revolutionary Russia around the turn of the 20th century, during the last decades of the Romanov dynasty and prior to the establishment of the Soviet Union.

Common to all were a powerful ruling elite of royal, aristocratic, and merchant classes for whom patronage of the decorative arts was not simply an aesthetic indulgence, but also an ostentatious display of wealth and status. With money either no, or virtually no object, it’s hardly surprising that the artefacts produced for uber-rich patrons by the master-craftsmen of their respective era were, simply, fabulous.

You will be pleased to know, therefore, that on Thursday 16th April there’s a great opportunity – provided your pockets are of suitable depth – to purchase some of the surviving artefacts from the late Romanov period. Specifically, Sotheby’s in New York are holding an "Important European Silver, Vertu, and Russian Works of Art" sale, and while it will include some wonderful non-Russian pieces – notably, a fine collection of European gold boxes, a lovely selection of English Georgian silver, and some stunning 20th-century Italian jewellery, objets vertu, and silverware by Buccellati, of Milan – it is the 134 Russian lots that really stand out for me.

Apart from furniture, most collecting fields are catered for. They include Christian icons; ceramics, notably from the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, of St. Petersburg; bronze figures and carved hardstone figures; imperial medals and badges; and photographs of Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. Better still, at least to me, are the gold, silver, and enameled pieces – decorative table wares, jewellery, and objets vertu, a small selection of which I have chosen for illustration here – that are, stylistically, uniquely Russian, and in that sense perfectly encapsulate the distinctive aesthetics of both the time and place.

Of course, their desirability also resides in the most exquisite craftsmanship, and when that carries the Fabergé brand – as it does with many of the lots – then desirability is elevated to an even higher level. Founded in St. Petersburg in 1842,  bestowed in 1885 with the coveted title "Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown", and best-known for its gold, silver, enameled, and gemstone incrusted Imperial Easter Eggs, the House of Fabergé’s personification of master-craftsmanship resonates to this day, and will ensure not only huge interest in the sale, but also, probably, the exceeding of estimated prices.

Important European Silver, Vertu, and Russian Works of Art starts at 10 am on Thursday 16th April at Sotheby's New York. 
© Judith Miller / The Telegraph. 13 April, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:43 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 13 April 2015 7:54 AM EDT
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