Last update:
July 13th
2005

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Name Renaissance Egg

Date 1894

Provenance Presented by Alexander III to Czarina Maria Fyodorovna

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master Michael Perkhin

Marks Faberge, MP, crossed anchors and scepter, 56

Media chalcedony, gold, diamonds, rubies, emerald, white agate

Size 13,3 cm long

Techniques trelliswork, transparent and opaque enamel

Kept in Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow
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eggThis egg was the last to be presented to Maria by Alexander before his untimely death. Carved from a block of milky chalcedony, this egg, mounted on a gold enameled base, was closely modeled after an eighteenth century casket by Le Roy, now located in Dresden at the Grüne Gewölbe Museum. In a striking and original departure from the design of the original casket, Fabergé canted the case so that it was in the shape of an egg supported on its side. This is one of the few Imperial Eggs, designed to sit sideways. Another is the 1907 Tsar Imperial Love Trophies Egg.

Fancy and lineal pattern in Renaissance style are combined in the gold trelliswork with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. At each trellis intersection there is a quatrefoil of diamonds with a ruby center. Scallops of diamonds on the cover enclose a ruby enameled medallion ornamented with repeated foliate motifs in colorful enamels and the date, 1894, set in rose diamonds. Gold heraldic lions' heads at either end terminate slender loop handles. The opening is secured by a tiny gold and diamond latch, while inner rims are developed in opaque white enameling and gold floral patterns.

Manufactured at a cost of 4750 rubles, the egg was sent to the Anitchkov Palace. In September of 1917, the egg was sent to the Kremlin, and in 1922 was probably transferred to SovNarKom, the Commissar's Treasury of Valuables. In 1927, it was returned to the Jeweler's Union and given the inventory number of 17552. On April 30, of 1930, it was selected for sale to the west, transferred to Antikvariat, the State Sales organ, and subsequently sold with nine other eggs to Dr. Armand Hammer. The Renaissance Egg cost Dr. Hammer 1000 rubles. It was advertised by Hammer in 1937, and subsequently sold to Henry Talbot DeVere Clifton. By November of 1949, it had fallen into the collection of Jack and Belle Linsky (of the Swingline Staple fortune).

The Linskys attempted to give their collection to the Metropolitan Museum, which refused the gift, stating that the museum was not interested in "Edwardian decorative Trivia." The Linskys sold the egg to A La Vieille Russie, who held it until it was purchased by the Forbes Collection on May 15, 1965.

After eighty years of exile this egg has been returned home thanks to Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, Chairman of board of directors of Open Society "Sual-holding" who has purchased it from successors to Malcolm Forbes and has made it accessible to the Russian citizens. Sale of the Forbes' collection from Sotheby's auction in the beginning of 2004 could make objects channel off in separate collections and countries. Purchasing of the whole collection by V. Vekselberg before the advertised bidding is unprecedented in auction practice.

inOne of the few Imperial eggs that Fabergé dated, the last of the eggs for Czar Alexander III, rests on a golden base with enamelled palmettes, flowers and leaves in brilliant, translucent reds, greens, blues, opaque white and gold.

The surprise that originally came with the egg was lost, it was probably a grand jewel. Made of gold, silver, enamel and polished agate, the egg has no documentation concerning the surprise. However, since the invoice mentions pearls, and there are none on the egg, it is conceivable that the surprise itself was a strand of Pearls. (© 2004 Mr. Victor Vekselberg's Foundation)

A highly intriguing hypothesis has recently been advanced by Christopher Forbes, namely that the Resurrection Egg is in fact the surprise originally contained in the Renaissance Egg. This would account for its being shown in the same showcase at the 1902 exhibition, where surprises have been separated from their eggs. Moreover, style and coloring of both objects are virtually identical and the size of the Resurrection Egg perfectly fits the curvature of the egg. The invoice of the Renaissance Egg mentions a pearl, which is not accounted for unless it was part of the surprise. This work of art does not bear an inventory number, which speaks in favor of an Imperial presentation, a hypothesis which would explain why the Resurrection Egg is not included in the generally accepted list of Imperial eggs. (from: http://www.mieks.com/Faberge2/Eggs.htm)

For the Resurrection Egg, see the following page.

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