Carl Fabergé (1846-1920), the Russian jeweller who created valuable objects for the Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, became synonymous with elegant craftsmanship in luxurious jewellery. The most famous are those made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers. The House of Fabergé was also associated with the last days of the Russian imperial family and a tragic chapter of history at the start of the twentieth century. The exhibition comprises some 240 objects, including 4 of the 43 remaining famous Easter eggs commissioned by the Romanovs.
Out of all the eggs, my favourite story is the one that surrounds the Tsarevich egg. Fabergé created the egg as a tribute to (Tsarevich) Alexei. Unknown to all but the royal family, Alexei was expected to die of hemophilia and was at one point so close to death that even the Russian Imperial Court had already drawn up his death certificate! When Alexei survived, Fabergé, who knew of the Czarevich’s health, created the egg for Alexei’s mother Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna as a tribute to the miracle of his survival
Subsequent owners included antiques-dealer Armand Hammer who moved from Paris to New York in the early 1930s. Philanthropist Lillian Thomas Pratt of Fredericksburg, Virginia (1876–1947) purchased the egg in New York from Hammer in 1933-34. The egg was bequest to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia in 1947, where it remains on permanent view.
My mother loves Fabergé eggs and offered me a decent reproduction of one a few Christmases ago. You can play music by lifting the top half and twisting the little dial in its velvety interior. the French in particular have a great affinity for Fabergé eggs and have incorporated them into their fine chocolate making in the form of rich praline filled decorative eggs. For Easter, my mother learned quickly that we preferred 1 large rich quality egg vs hundreds of colored foiled sugary American style gimmicky ones.
It’s no surprise than women seem to love these eggs. They are opulently covered in emeralds and diamonds and trimmed with gold and other precious metals. They sparkle by candle light and hold secrets within like tiny love letters, a little key or perhaps a photograph. I recently opened up my little reproduction Fabergé to find 1 earring! I guess I lost the other… typical me! I am glad I located it and dusted it’s rounded iridescent top, for I shall find something special to place inside soon!
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Young Philanthropists’ Circle will be having an event around the exhibit. As they are known to marry the food and drinks along with the art – I am eager to see what they had in mind for the royal Russian edge of 20th century theme. Tripple distilled vodka and caviar par chance? We shall see!