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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Colonnade Egg

Overview

Creator: Henrik Emanuel Wigström (1862-1923) (workmaster)
Creation Date: 
1910
Materials: 
Bowenite, four-colour gold, silver-gilt, platinum, guilloché enamel, rose diamonds
Dimensions: 
28.6 x 17.0 cm
RCIN 
40084
Reference(s): 
XQGF 1985 II 32
XQGF 1985 I 177
XQGF 1995 257
XQG 2002 204
XQGF 2003 2
XQG 2005 Treas
Acquirer: King George V, King of the United Kingdom (1865-1936)
Provenance: 
Commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II for Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, Easter 1910; confiscated by the provisional government, 1917; transferred to the Sovnarkom by 1922; Emmanuel Snowman; acquired by Queen Mary and given to King George V, 1931
Description:

This Imperial Easter Egg – which incorporates a rotary clock in its design, the movement supplied to Fabergé by Henry Moser & Cie – is in the form of a classical temple. The colonnade of pale green bowenite columns supports the pink guilloché enamelled egg, surmounted by a cupid. Below a pair of platinum doves sits on a truncated column and around the base four female silver-gilt cherubs hold garlands of roses in red, white, green and yellow gold. This Easter egg is an allegory of the imperial family in 1910. The enduring love between the Tsar and Tsarina is represented by the pair of doves; their four daughters, Olga (b. 1895), Tatiana (b. 1897), Maria (b. 1899) and Anastasia (b. 1901) – collectively known by their parents as OTMA – are represented by the four cherubs; and the Tsarevich Alexis (b. 1904) is represented by the cupid. Early photographs of the egg and a description of it in a Fabergé album of the Imperial Easter Eggs presented to Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna between 1907 and 1916 show that the cupid originally held an arrow in his hand to point to the hour. The egg was the Tsar’s gift to Tsarina Alexandra for Easter 1910 and cost 11,600 roubles. In 1917 it was confiscated from the Anichkov Palace, and in 1922 it was transferred to the Sovnarkom. The dealer Emanuel Snowman brought it to London and, according to a manuscript annotation by Queen Mary in her copy of Bainbridge’s autobiography, Twice Seven, it was acquired by her in 1931 and given to King George V.

Mark of Henrik Wigström; gold mark of 56 zolotniks (1908-17); Fabergé in Cyrillic characters

Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002

Further details

Additional Creators: Fabergé (jeweller)
Henry Moser and Cie (clockmaker)
Category: 
Fabergé