Saturday, April 15, 2017

The 1917 Fabergé Eggs

Since 2010 we've posted most of the Fabergé Imperial (and one non-imperial) eggs.
However by Easter 1917 the eggs were no longer "Imperial", the Tsar had been forced to abdicate (March 15) and the invoice for the first of the 1917 eggs was sent to "Mr. Romanov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich".

In addition, starting with the first Imperial egg of WWI, the 1915 Red Cross Egg with Imperial Portraits, the Fabergé workshop throttled back the extravagance of the 1885-1914 versions.
For example last year's featured egg, the Fabergé Steel Military Egg:

Easter 1916. Rasputin and war.
Easter was late that year, falling on April 23rd.
The exterior of this egg is made from steel, coated in translucent enamel, surmounted by a gold crown. It is divided into three sections by two smooth horizontal lines. In the middle section, in inlaid gold, is an image of George the Conqueror in a diamond-shaped frame outlined in laurel leaves. This is topped by the Russian emblem, a double-headed eagle beneath three crowns. Resting on the points of four miniature artillery shells, this egg makes up in sober significance what it lacks in ornamentation....
The 1917 eggs are even more somber.
From one of our favorite online sources, Pearly's Qunol:

1917 - Karelian Birch or Birch Egg
This was the second to the last eggs Fabergé made for the Czars. The egg is made out of Karelian birch panels set in a gold frame. This departure in design from previous eggs, which were far more ornate and gilded, was due to popular discontent with the monarchy and declining fortunes as a result of World War I.

Its "surprise" was a miniature mechanical elephant with eight large diamonds, 61 small diamonds and a diamond-studded key engraved “MF” – for Maria Fyodorevna.The elephant has since been lost

The Birch Egg was crafted in 1917 and was due to be presented by Nicolai to the Empress that Easter. Before the egg was delivered however, the February Revolution took place and Czar Nicolai II was forced to abdicate on March 15. On April 25, Fabergé sent the Czar an invoice for the egg, addressing Czar Nicolai II not as "Czar of all the Russias" but as "Mr. Romanov Nikolai Aleksandrovich". Nicolai paid 12,500 rubles and the egg was sent to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich at his palace for presentation to the Empress, but the Duke fled before it arrived. The egg remained in the palace until it was looted in the wake of the October Revolution later that year.

After the October Revolution the egg was acquired by the Rumyantsev Museum in Moscow. It disappeared once again after the museum closed in January 1927....
And finally,

1917 - Constellation Egg

This unfinished egg is made of dark blue glass and is studded with diamonds. It is engraved with the constellations, which were in the sky on the day of the Czarevitch Alexei's birth. It rests on a base made of quartz. The egg was supposed to have a silver rim around it, but lacks the original rim, clockwork motion and dial, as well as the larger part of the diamond stars.

Reportedly the egg was in production for presentation to Aleksandra Fyodorovna but was never finished due to the abdication of the Czar prior to Easter 1917....
Here are Pearly's Qunol pages:

The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 1a
The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 1
The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 2
The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 3
The Fabergé Czar Imperial Easter Eggs - part 4
Peter Karl Fabergé – Jeweler to the Czars

Tomorrow, the only Fabergé Imperial egg that explicitly references the Easter story.