| History of coloring Easter Eggs
(part 3). |
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Decorating and coloring Easter eggs was the custom in England during the middle ages. The household accounts of Edward I, for the year 1290, recorded an expenditure of eighteen pence for four hundred and fifty eggs to be gold-leafed and colored for Easter gifts.
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.
Today Easter eggs are decorated with superb artistry. Some use flowers and leaves from greeting cards, tiny cherubs, jewels and elegant fabrics, braids and trims, to adorn the eggs. They are separated, delicately hinged and glued with epoxy and transparent cement, then when completed, they are covered with a glossy resin finish. Children color with wax crayons then dip the egg in a dye to create colorful easter eggs. Some artists have hand printed poems that scroll out from the decorated egg. Although the omens and the mystery of the egg have disappeared today, the symbolism remains, and artists and children delight in the old world tradition of adorning and coloring Easter eggs.
FABERGE EASTER EGG PICTURES
Peter the Great Egg
Owner: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, USA
Height: 11,1 cm
'Twelve Monograms Egg
Owner: Hillwood Museum, Washington, DC, USA,
Height: 7,9 cm
The Imperial Peter the Great Egg, was a commemoration of the 200th
Anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia, on
which Peter began construction in 1703.
The 1903 Peter the Great Egg is made of red, green, and yellow gold,
platinum, rose-cut diamonds, square rubies, translucent yellow and opaque
white enamel, rock crystal and watercolor on ivory.
Executed in gold in the extravagant rococo style, the curves are set with
diamonds and rubies. The dates 1703 and 1903 in rose-cut diamonds appear on
either side of the lid. Four miniatures by B. Baal, show Peter the Great,
the wooden hut that is traditionally said to have been built by himself,
Nicholas II and the 1.000-room Winter Palace as it was in 1903. Each of the
miniatures is covered by rock crystal. White enamel ribbons inscribed with
historical details encircle the Egg.
The inscriptions read, "The Emperor Peter the Great, born in 1672, founded
St. Petersburg in 1703" and "The first little house of the Emperor Peter the
Great in 1703". The other inscriptions read, "The Emperor Nicholas II, born
in 1868, ascended the Throne in 1894" and "The Winter Palace of His Imperial
Majesty in 1903".
The body of the Egg is covered with a medley of laurel leaves, roses and
bulrushes, symbolizing the source of the living waters. To the inhabitants
of St. Petersburg, the River Neva was the counterpart of the river Jordan.
Every year in the first week of January, the waters of the Neva were
The surprise is that when the Egg is opened, a mechanism within raises into
position from the lower half of the shell, a miniature model in gold, made
by Gerogii Malychevin, of the famous statue of Peter the Great monument on
the Neva, resting on a base of sapphire. The clasp of the Egg is the Romanov
The Twelve Monogram Egg, also known as 12 Panel Egg or the Silver Anniversary Egg is made of translucent blue enamel, red gold, rose-cut diamonds, portrait diamonds and velvet lining. The gold Egg is covered with six panels, each divided by bands set with rose-cut diamonds, and decorated with the
Imperial crown and the Imperial monograms "MF" (Maria Fyodorovna) and "AIII" (Alexander III), which are set in rose-cut diamonds.Each monograms appears six times, totaling 12 which gives the Egg its name. A portrait diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds surmounts the Egg and another one is set under the Egg. Maria Fyodorovna's monogram appears on the top half of the Egg, Alexander III's on the bottom halve. The Egg opens to reveal a velvet lining for the surprise, which is now lost.
The Twelve Monograms is a jewelled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1895, for the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.
Tsar Nicholas presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna.
The egg was the first presented to Tsar Nicholas, continuing the tradition started under his father, Alexander III. After Alexander's death, in the short time remaining before the Easter holiday in 1895, Fabergé had not only to rework the egg that had originally been planned for Maria Fyodorovna prior to her husband's death, but also to create an appropriate egg for Alexandra.
The Twelve Monograms egg was the first Fabergé egg given by Tsar Nicholas to his mother