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The beauty and symbolism of gold, from the Early Bronze Age to the 20th century

Erik August Kollin (1836-1901)

Cup 1874

Two-colour gold with cabochon sapphires | 4.6 x 7.6 x 5.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 23083

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The hatched surface of this red and yellow gold cup imitates woven cloth and exemplifies the tradition in Russian metalwork of the 1860s and 1870s of using motifs from weaving and embroidery. The handle of the cup is mounted with a Catherine the Great rouble dated 1777 and four cabochon sapphires.

It is one of the earliest pieces of Fabergé in the Royal Collection and was given to Prince George of Wales (later King George V) in 1874 by Marie, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. According to a note in Queen Mary’s inventory, the cup always stood on King George V’s dressing table and contained a pincushion.

Mark of Erik Kollin; gold mark of 56 zolotniks (before 1896).

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection and the catalogue entry from Gold, London, 2014.