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Fabergé

Basket of flowers egg 1901

Silver, parcel gilt, gold, oyster guilloché and blue enamel, diamonds | 23.0 x 10.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 40098

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This spectacular egg was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II as an Easter gift for his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.  While his father had allowed Fabergé to display completed eggs in his shop before Easter Sunday, Tsar Nicholas preferred to keep each gift an intensely private affair.  A charity exhibition in St Petersburg in 1902 nevertheless gave the public the rare opportunity to see some of the legendary imperial eggs, including this one.  Each flower, leaf and husk has been painstakingly modelled to look as realistic as possible.  The imperial Easter egg tradition came to an abrupt end in 1917, when the Tsar's possessions were confiscated by the revolutionary government.  Many were sold abroad, and this egg was eventually bought by Queen Mary in 1933.  Its appearance today reflects its extraordinary history, since the blue base now visible was a replacement for its original oyster-coloured foot, damaged in the years after the Revolution.

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    Fabergé (jeweller)

  • 23.0 x 10.0 cm (whole object)

  • Given by Tsar Nicholas II to Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna in 1901 (6,850 roubles). Confiscated by the provisional government, 1917; sold by the Antikvariat, 1933 (2,000 roubles); ?Armand Hammer; acquired by Queen Mary, 1933

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            • Easter
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