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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014



Creator: Johann Victor Aarne (1863-1934) (workmaster)
Creation Date: 
before 1896
Materials and techniques: 
Silver-gilt, guilloché enamel, moonstones
1.8 x 16.2 x 12.6 cm
XQGF 1995 467
XQGF 2003 331
Acquirer: Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)
Bought jointly by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, December 1896; by whom given to Queen Victoria, Christmas 1896

On 22 June 1897 Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. The official commemoration took place in London with a service of thanksgiving conducted outside St Paul’s Cathedral, as the Queen walked with difficulty and could not mount the steps to go inside. A dinner was held the night before at Buckingham Palace, an occasion which Queen Victoria recalls in her Journal: ‘The dinner was in the Supper Room... All the family, foreign Royalties, special Ambassadors & Envoys were invited. I sat between the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand & the Pce of Naples.’ The Queen chose to record the attendance of her guests for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in this notebook enclosed in a Fabergé case which also bears her signature and the date. The pages of the notebook are thus signed by the crowned heads of Europe who attended. Its cover is luxuriously embellished, the silver-gilt richly engine-turned with geometric and sunburst patterns and enamelled in red and oyster – an outstanding example of Fabergé’s famous revival of guilloché enamelling, to which laurel wreaths, stylised flowers and foliage in silver-gilt are applied. The pencil concealed in the hinge is set with cabochon moonstones at either end. The case was a Christmas present to the Queen from Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, who purchased it jointly in St Petersburg in December 1896 at a cost of 250 roubles. The couple had stayed with Queen Victoria at Balmoral in Scotland earlier in the same year, from 22 September to 3 October. The Queen wrote fondly of the visit; ‘It seems quite like a dream having dear Alicky & Nicky here.’ During the visit the Tsarina showed Queen Victoria some of her jewels, many of which were supplied by Fabergé: ‘Alix showed me her beautiful jewels, of which she has quantities, all her own private property.’

Mark of Viktor Aarne; silver mark of 88 zolotniks (before 1896); Fabergé in Cyrillic characters

Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection

Further details

Additional Creators: Fabergé (jeweller)