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View of Fabergé's Mosaic Egg and Surprise

An introduction to Fabergé in the Royal Collection

Brown bear

RCIN 40301

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Although the majority of the animals on the Sandringham Estate were either domestic or farmyard breeds, some fiercer beasts were also in residence.  Mrs Herbert Jones described how ‘two big bears in a pit, indifferent to spectators, calmly climb their accustomed pole’.  The pit was – surprisingly – adjacent to York Cottage, where the future King George V and Queen Mary lived with their young children.  Another observer noted that the two bears, Charlie and Polly, ‘were dreaded by their keeper when he had to wash them every day’.  They were eventually moved to London Zoo by the Prince of Wales.  This intricate sculpture, which may have been part of the Sandringham commission, is chiselled on one paw C and on the other F – the initials of Carl Fabergé.