Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg Decorating: The Fabergé Basket of Wild Flowers and the Spring Flowers Eggs

From Pearly's Qunol:

1901 - Basket of Wild Flowers or Flower Basket Egg
Dimensions: height 23 cm (9.1 inches)


This egg is made in the form of a flower basket. The body of the egg is covered with opalescent oyster enamel and decorated with a trellis-work in rose-cut diamonds. The date, 1901, is also studded with rose-cut diamonds. A beautiful composition of wildflowers sits in green gold thread moss. The flowers are made of gold and are covered with a variety of colors of enamel, including pink, white, dark-blue, orange and mauve. The basket is topped with a diamond-set handle.

It is not known if there was a surprise with this Egg. The original Fabergé invoice mentions "pearls" and since there are no pearls on the Egg, they probably were connected to the surprise. A broche or a string of pearls perhaps in some way attached to the Egg?

Originally the foot supporting the egg was white. The egg was restored after the Russian Revolution and the foot is now dark blue enamel.

The egg was made for Czar Nicolai II of Russia, who presented it to his wife, the Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna on Orthodox Easter day April 14, 1901.

In 1933 the Basket of Flowers Egg was sold by the Antikvariat to an unrecorded buyer, probably Emanuel Snowman of Wartski Jewelers, or Michel Norman of the Australian Pearl Company. In 1933 it was acquired for Queen Mary, and in 1953 inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. It resides in the Royal Collection.
And from Treasures of Imperial Russia:


Enameled translucent strawberry red over a guilloché ground and applied with neorococo gold scrolls and foliage, opening along a vertical diamond-set seam to reveal a removable diamond-set platinum miniature basket of wood anemones, the flowers with chalcedony petals and demantoid pistils, the egg fastening at the top by means of a diamond-set clasp, the lobed bowenite base with a diamond-set girdle and with a gold rim pierced with neorococo shell work and scrolls, marked with Cyrillic initials of workmaster, Fabergé in Cyrillic and assay mark of 56 standard for 14 karat gold, also with scratched inventory number 44374 or possibly 44474.
The Spring Flowers Egg, hallmarked with head workmaster Michael Perchin's “early” mark, is struck with the St. Petersburg's assay mark for before 1899 and appears to bear a scratched number 443 (or 4) 74, which may or may not be Fabergé's inventory number. Its original fitted case is stamped with Fabergé's Imperial Warrant and the addresses of St. Petersburg, Moscow and London. These facts seem to be in apparent contradiction. The hallmark dates the egg to before 1899, the original case to after 1903, after the opening of the London Branch. Inventory numbers do not generally appear on Imperial eggs.

A list of objects dated 14-20 September 1917 transferred from the Dowager Empress's Anichkov Palace to the Kremlin Armory and signed by Major-General Yerechov, 1 mentions a “purse of gilt silver in the form of an egg covered with red enamel, with a sapphire” and, separately, “a basket of flowers with diamonds,” which probably correspond to this egg and its surprise. ...MORE