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October 17th

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Name Kelch Hen Egg

Date 1898

Provenance Presented by the industrialist Alexander Kelch to his wife Barbara (Varvara) Kelch-Bazanova

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master N/A

Marks N/A

Media gold, diamonds, cabochon ruby, ivory

Size 8,4 cm tall - miniature: 4,8 cm tall

Techniques enamel, watercolor

Kept in Svyaz' Vremyon Fund - Viktor Vekselberg collection - Moscow
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While not a true Imperial egg, it follows the imperial style. Eggs of such grandeur were made by Carl Fabergé for only a few customers apart from the imperial court. This egg was ordered by the mining magnate Alexander Kelch for his wife Barbara.

In 1898 it was given by Alexander Kelch to his wife Barbara. In 1920 one of the 6 Kelch Eggs sold by Morgan, Paris, to A La Vieille Russie, Paris. 1928 sold to a US buyer. Ca. 1940 bought by King Farouk of Egypt. March 1954 sold by Sotheby's Cairo to A La Vieille Russie, New York. 1961 Collection Lansdell Christie, New York. 1966 Negotiated private sale by A La Vieille Russie, New York, to the Forbes Magazine collection, New York. February 2004 Sold by the Forbes' family to the Vekselberg Foundation/The Link of Times-Collection, Russia.

The translucent strawberry red over a guilloche ground enameled Egg, opens horizontally. The hinged cover is set with a diamond-set border, the thumb piece mounted with a table diamond over the date "1898", one end mounted with a later miniature of Tsar Nicholas II under a diamond encircled by smaller diamonds.

The Egg opens to reveal a white enameled interior and a hinged matted enamel yellow "yolk" with fitted suede-lined interior containing a gold hen enameled in translucent shades of orange, yellow, red and brown. The feathers have white highlights and the feet are naturalistically chased, the eyes of the hen are set with diamonds. The hen is hinged at the tail and encloses a gold miniature easel and frame. The surprise contained within is a gold easel set with rose-cut diamonds, the struts of which are hinged at the center to fold behind, as is the diamond and ruby-set cresting. The frame now contains a portrait of the Tsarevich Alexei wearing the uniform of the Fourth Rifle Battalion of Guards, that had replaced that of Barbara Kelch. The easel is marked with Cyrillic initials of workmaster , Fabergé in Cyrillic and assay mark of 56 standard for 14 karat gold, also with French import mark. The Egg retains its original fitted holly wood box, the lining gilt-stamped in Cyrillic below the Imperial eagle, Fabergé, St. Petersburg, Moscow.


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