|Moscow Kremlin Egg |
Inspired by the architecture of the Upenski Cathedral in the Kremlin where the Czars of Russia were crowned. The hand carved malachite egg is topped with a diamond encrusted double-headed eagle, the symbol of Imperial Russia for more than three hundred years. It opens to reveal a hand carved Russian bear that rotates as a Swiss musical movement plays Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake". Turrets, towers and starcases rise from Kremlin walls made from more than one hundred individually set piece of mother-of-pearl, jade, onyx, lapis lazuli, coral and red agate. Two of the towers are inset with Swiss clocks featuring 24k gold plated sterling silver metal components. Made in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in a limited edition of six. Each signed and numbered.
Faberge eggs are the most famous decorated Easter eggs. They were those made by the well-known goldsmith, Peter Carl Faberge. In 1883 the Russian Czar, Alexander, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie.
The first Faberge egg was an egg within an egg. It had an outside shell of platinum and enameled white which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial crown. This special Faberge eggs so delighted the Czarina that the Czar promptly ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander's son,continued the custom. Fifty-seven Faberge eggs were made in all.
Owner: The Link of Times Foundation, Russia
Height: 20,3 cm
Egg is first mentioned in a letter of Tsar Nicholas II to his
mother, Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna, April 5, 1900, who was in Moscow
at Easter time that year: "Forgive me, dear Mama, for not sending you
anything for Easter, but Faberge did not send the present here, as he
thought that you would be returning to Gatchina. With all my heart: Christ
is risen! I warmly embrace you and the whole family. Your son, who loves you
from the bottom of his heart, Nicky."
Faberge's invoice was submitted almost one year late, January 13, 1901:
"Easter egg of mauve enamel, with rooster and clock with one lozenge
diamond, 188 rose-cut diamonds, 2 rubies. St. Petersburg, January 13, 1901
The delay may have been due to Faberge's involvement as member of the Jury
and exhibitor hors concours at the 1900 Paris World Fair, which opened with
much fanfare on April 14 and closed November 12, having been visited by some
fifty million spectators. Covering over 270 acres and with 76,000
exhibitors, it was the greatest exhibition of its kind ever held. The fair
marked the apogee of art nouveau, a style that had emerged in Paris in the
early 1890s and was flourishing by 1897. Its chief exponent was Rene
Lalique, the brilliant artiste bijoutier, who was awarded the Legion of
Honor and a Grand Prix for his exhibits. Faberge, too, received the same
high distinction and a Gold Medal for his exhibits, his son Eugene was
created Officer of the Academie Francaise and the firm's head workmaster,
Michael Perkhin, was awarded a Bronze Medal.
The 1900 Cockerel Clock Egg (previously known as Cuckoo Clock Egg) is made
of varicolored gold, translucent violet, green, opaque lilac and opalescent
white and oyster enamel, diamonds, rubies and pearls. The surprise is made
of gold and natural feathers.
The Cuckoo Egg is Faberge's rendition of an eighteenth and nineteenth
century singing bird clock, technically related to the singing bird boxes
produced in Geneva in the early nineteenth century.
The body enameled translucent violet over a guilloche ground, supported by
three slender pilasters enameled translucent oyster, the dial enameled in
translucent white with stylized green flowerheads, the diamond-set Arabic
numerals mounted on circular reserves enameled translucent oyster on
sunburst grounds, the border of the dial set with pearls, above the dial an
arch of foliage set with diamonds and pearls, below the dial an openwork
apron set with diamonds and hung with tassels and swags of fruit, the shaped
circular base applied with gold scrollwork and foliage, the top of the base
enameled opaque white, the incurved sides of the base enameled translucent
When a button at the top rear of the egg is depressed the circular pierced
gold grille opens and the bird rises crowing on a gold platform, moving its
wings and beak, the crowing finished it descends again into the egg and the
grille closes, on the top of the grille the date 1900 is inscribed beneath a
The Cockerel Egg is the first of four singing-bird mechanisms in Faberge's
oeuvre. The other three are the Imperial 1911 Bay Tree Egg, the 1904
Chanticleer Egg, made for Barbara Kelch and the 1902 Rothschild Clock Egg
made for the Rothschild Family. Automated singing birds driven by compressed
air or steam were apparently known in Antiquity. Around 1800 Geneva became
famous for its exquisitely made enameled gold cages with singing birds. As
in the case of watch mechanisms, which Faberge generally procured from the
firm of Henri Moser in Le Locle, the mechanism of the Cuckoo Egg may well
also be of Swiss manufacture. The singing bird mechanism is simple,
independent of the clock movement and activated by depressing a button.