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January 14th

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Name The Rothschild Clock Egg

Date 1902

Provenance Rothschild Family

Made in St. Petersburg

Work-master Mikhail Perkhin

Marks N/A

Media gold, platinum, pearls, diamonds

Size 27 cm tall (31 with bird raised)

Techniques enamel

Kept in Faberge's museum, Baden-Baden, Germany
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Peter Carl Faberge presented the egg in 1902 to Baron Edouard de Rothschild as an engagement gift. The unique Cockerel on top of the egg decked up with diamonds pops out and flaps its wings after every one hour. It then shakes it's head during the aperture and the closure of it's beak. The exceptional masterpiece festooned in Pink and Gold features a mechanical figure and clock.

The Rothschild Fabergé Egg has never been published and has only ever been recorded in private family records. The egg was a gift from Beatrice Ephrussi (1864-1934) (neé de Rothschild) to Germaine Halphen (1884-1975) on the occasion of the latter's engagement to Beatrice's younger brother, Baron Edouard de Rothschild (1868-1949). They married in 1905 and it has remained in the family ever since. Beatrice's husband Maurice Ephrussi (1849-1916) was born in Odessa, Russia, and worked for the Rothschild family's oil interests in Baku. He went on to become a banker, helping to establish the Ephrussi Bank in Paris. It is possible that Maurice ordered the egg whilst in St. Petersburg, or during one of Fabergé's selling trips to Paris at the turn of the 20th century.

The Rothschild Fabergé Clock Egg was sold November 28, 2007 at Christie's in London to Russian art collector and businessman A. Ivanov, head of the Russian National Museum. He paid 8,980,500 pounds at the auction.

Every hour, the diamond-set cockerel pops up from inside the egg, flaps his wings four times and then nods his head three times while opening and shutting his beak and crowing. Each performance lasts approximately 15 seconds, before the clock strikes the hour on a bell. The egg is hallmarked under the enamel by Fabergé's leading workmaster, Michael Evamplevitch Perchin, and is further signed and dated, K. Fabergé, 1902. This is one of only three known examples with both a clock and an automaton, the others being the Imperial Cockerel Egg of 1900 and the Chanticleer Egg of 1904.

The silhouettes of the Chanticleer and Rothschild eggs are near identical, however they do differ slightly. Immediately above the pedestal of the Rothschild egg are two stepped floral garlands. The Chanticleer egg has only a single garland and the egg in the photograph has the stepped mounts of the Rothschild egg.

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