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Birds have long been a source of artistic inspiration.

Henrik Immanuel Wigström (1862-1923)

Kiwi 1908-17

RCIN 40342

This little kiwi sculpture was made by Fabergé, the famous Russian goldsmiths. It is one of more than a hundred miniature Fabergé birds in the Royal Collection, most of which were acquired in the early 20th century by Queen Alexandra. A combination of live models, taxidermal studies and wax figurines helped the Fabergé carvers to produce accurate miniature versions of different species. Indeed, with its heavy wingless body, long thin beak and hair-like feathers, this is an impressively studied portrait of a kiwi. At the same time, the object delivers the luxury synonymous with Fabergé: the bird is made of fine translucent agate, with gold feet and beak, and rose diamond eyes.