The Egg is made as a Louis XVI style table-clock, the revolving opaque white enamel dial, set with diamond-set Roman numerals, standing on three pilasters and lion-paw feet. Suspended laurel swags contain three oval medallions that once held miniatures of Prince Felix Youssoupov and this sons, Felix and Nicholas. The medallions now have the gold letters M, Y and S, within rose-cut diamond borders, the initials of the last owner, Maurice Sandoz.
This Egg was presented by Prince Felix (or Feliks) Youssoupov to his wife Zenaïde on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. Prince Felix Elston-Soumarkov (or Soumarkov/Sumarrokow-Elston) was granted special dispensation by the tsar to take the name Youssoupov when he married the Princess Zenaïde Youssoupov. The name of one of Russia's oldest and wealthiest families would otherwise have died out.
It was the son, the young Prince Felix, and a group of conspirators, who on December 16, 1916, in what was then considered to be a patriotic act, murdered Grigori Rasputin the monk who played a key role in the downfall of the Romanov imperial dynasty. They succeeded in luring him to Felix' home, the Moika Palace, where Youssoupov fed him Madeira tea laced with cyanide and cakes. When the poison had no effect, a panicked Youssoupov shot him several times, before his co-conspirators dumped Rasputin into the Neva river to drown. Rasputin had prophecied the decline and fall of the Romanov empire if he was assassinated. Only ten weeks after Rasputin's death, the Romanov's were overthrown by Bolshevik revolutionary forces!
As the october Revolution of 1917 approached, the family had secret rooms built to safeguard their vast amount of treasures. It took the Bolsheviks five years to discover five secret rooms in the Moika Palace! It is said that two rooms may still remain undetected!
The miniatures of Prince Felix and his two sons were removed in New York at the request of Maurice Sandoz, the new owner. The firm that did the work reportedly retains the original medallions to this day.
1907 Presented by Prince Felix Youssoupov to his wife Zenaïde. Probably sold by Russian officials in Paris or Berlin. 1949 Owned by dealers in London. 1953 Owned by Dr. Maurice Sandoz, Switzerland. June 1958 Collection of the late Maurice Sandoz. 1977 Collection of Edouard and Maurice Sandoz. 1995 Fondation Edouard et Maurice Sandoz, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Note: the name Youssoupov is spelled in many different ways due to translation from Russian. I found it written: Iusupov, Joesoepow, Joesopov, Jussupoff, Jussupov, Jussupow, Jusupov, Jusupow, Yossopov, Yousoupoff, Yousoupov, Youssoupov, Youssoupoff, Yusopov, Yussupov and Yusupov!