Last update:
March 15th
2001

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Name Clock or Madonna lily or Bouquet of Lilies Clock Egg

Date 1899

Provenance Presented by Nicholas II to Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master Michael Perkhin

Marks Faberge, M.P, Y.L. (initials of inspector Yakov Lyapunov of St.Petersburg Standard Board), 56, kokoshnik

Media varicolored gold, platinum, silver, rose-cut diamonds, white chalcedony

Size 27 cm tall

Techniques translucent yellow enamel over a guilloche ground, casting, stamping

Kept in Kremlin Armoury Museum, Moscow
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Click on the thumbnails to see a bigger image

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eggThe egg-shaped clock and its rectangular pedestal are decorated with translucen enamel on a guilloche (1) background. The four-colored gold egg is enameled translucent daffodil-yellow, and is richly set with diamonds. The egg takes the form of a clock with a revolving dial. The body of the clock is divided into twelve parts which are outlined in diamond-studded stripes. The belt of the dial which divides the egg is enameled opaque white with twelve diamond-set Roman numerals and the hours are pointed by the head of an arrow in a drawn bow. The belt revolves around the perimeter of the egg, indicating the time. The diamond clock hand protrudes from an immobile base. A gold key was used to wind the mechanism.

Modeled in the Louis XVI style, the clock is crowned with a delicate bouquet of Madonna lilies, carved from onyx. The pistils of the flowers are set with three small rose diamonds, and the leaves and stems are of tinted gold. It stands on an onyx platform decorated with colored gold scroll mounts, rosettes and the date of its manufacture, 1899, is set in diamonds, and is designed as a vase with red gold scrolls serving as extra supports at either side. The gold rim of the vase is chased as a cluster of roses.

inThe Egg uses the language of flowers, the roses (symbols of love) with lilies (symbols of purity and innocence), and the flowers like torches suggest the virtuous flames of family love. The now missing pendant was made with ruby and ruse-cut diamonds. An early Fabergé photograph is extant showing the ruby and rose diamond pendant that accompanied this Egg.

The Madonna Lily Clock Egg was never sold. In 1927 it was transferred to the Moscow Armoury Museum. and is one of the Imperial Eggs kept there. First exhibited in 1902 at the von Dervis Mansion in St. Petersburg, this egg has only been seen outside of the Kremlin twice since it was sent in 1927 to the Armoury Museum. The exhibitions were in 1989 in San Diego, California, when the Fabergé eggs from the Armoury Museum and the eggs held by Western collectors were reunited, and then in 1994 in Turin, Italy. A 1953 archival Fabergé photograph is extant. It shows the missing ruby and rose-cut diamond pendant, which accompanied this egg.

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(1) Guilloche = a decorative design in which two or more curved lines or bands are interwoven, forming a series of spaces between them.

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