Friday, July 20, 2012

Fabergé Friday

It's amazing how many Imperial Easter Eggs Fabergé made! The funny thing is that Carl Fabergé himself actually never physically made anything - he "only" came up with the ideas and designs. But now to this Friday's egg - number fifty - which is the "Catherine the Great Egg", or "Grisaille Egg", from 1914!

This gold egg was inspired by the interior of Maria Feodorovna's favorite palace - the Anichov Palace - where many of the ceilings are painted en grisaille. 

On pink enamel panels designer Vasilii Zuev painted miniature allegories portraying the arts and sciences - after originals by Francois Boucher - in cameo style. The egg is also decorated with rosettes of platinum-set diamonds and seed pearls, and is lined with velvet.

The surprise has been lost, but in a letter to Queen Alexandra of England Maria wrote: "Mr. Fabergé himself has brought me this most beautiful egg. Inside is a sedan chair carried by two blackamoors with Catherine the Great in it, wearing a little crown on her head. You wind it up and then the two blackamoors walk: it is an unbelievably beautiful and superbly fine piece of work. Fabergé is the greatest genius of our time."

This similar piece - also made by Fabergé - might give you a sense of what it might have looked like. It belongs to the Forbes Collection, and was for a long time thought to be the missing surprise. That idea was given up when it was discovered this automaton didn't fit into the egg though. 

Here is another example of how the sedan chair could have looked. Catherine the Great was a great  patron of the arts and sciences, and so fitted well into the egg's design.

The "Catherine the Great Egg" can now be seen at the Hillwood Museum in Washington D.C.


  1. This egg looks so regal, robust and perfect Miss Meadows, absolutely love this one, the colour schemes are perfect and it really is a great egg. Have an awesome Friday too!

  2. All I can say is - J'adore!!! Stunning egg :)

  3. Thank you for giving credit to my website!

  4. Interesting... I had no idea that Carl Fabergé had only designed them.... sooo cute :)

    Also, I just wrote a post about decorated eggs too! Sort of.. hehe :)


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