The 1907 Easter Egg, the Rose Trellis Egg & its creator, Peter Carl Fabergé.
Lost for over a hundred years, another exquisite Fabergé egg has been found.
This one, which contains a Vacheron Constantin watch, was a present to the Russian Empress, Maria Feodorovna for Easter 1887. Her husband, Tsar Alexander III, began commissioning Easter eggs from master jeweller, Peter Carl Fabergé, in 1885, a tradition his successor, the ill-fated Nicholas II, kept up for his empress, Alexandra.
As the years passed, the eggs became more and more ornate, and, of course, more costly. The first of them, the Hen Egg, was a seemingly plain enamel egg, but inside was a gold yolk, and inside that, a gold hen containing a small replica of the imperial crown and a ruby pendant. Price tag: 4,000 roubles (about £30,000 / $50,000). When Nicholas came to the throne, the egg order went up to two, one for his mother, and one for his wife. In 1914, the Easter Bunny delivered an egg containing a replica of Catherine the Great’s sedan chair, complete with bearers, to Mumsy and, to wifey, the jewel-encrusted gold and platinum Mosaic Egg containing an oval portrait of the five royal children. Combined price tag: 60,000 roubles (about £400,000 / $663,000). In deference to the privations of WW I (though it’s unlikely the royal family suffered any), the 1915 eggs cost a mere 19,000 roubles.
By 1917, the common people were no longer impressed by such economies, or by the royal family in general. They were placed under house-arrest, and with Fabergé unable to gain admittance to them, had to forego their eggs. They were executed the following year, and Fabergé fled the country. His company was seized by the Bolshevik government and he died in Switzerland in 1920.
Later, most of the royal eggs, and a great many other national art treasures, were sold off for Stalin’s ‘treasures for tractors’ programme because, well, lovely though the eggs were, no one could eat them.
Today, forty-two of the fifty eggs Fabergé made for the Romanovs still survive. Ten are at the Kremlin Armoury Museum in Moscow, the others reside in private collections around the world.
As for the newly discovered egg, if you live in the UK, it will be on display at the Wartski showroom in London between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 14-17, before going to its new owner. (Wartski is an antiques firm that specializes in Russian Works of Art.)
Pictures of some of the surviving eggs can be found at: