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Henrik Emanuel Wigström (1862-1923)

Bonbonnière with a view of Balmoral Castle  1907

Gold, enamel and sepia enamel, rose diamonds | 2.5 x 5.7 cm | RCIN 40490

  • This box was given to Queen Mary for her birthday in 1934 by Sir Philip Sassoon. It had originally been purchased from the London branch by Sir Ernest Cassel on 4 November 1907 at a cost of £81 5s. According to Bainbridge, the Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary) much admired this first example of a box featuring a royal residence to return from St Petersburg to the London branch. The box has enamelled views of Balmoral Castle on one side and Windsor Castle on the other, and the edge of the box is set with enamelled roses and leaves interspersed with diamond-set crosses. Mark of Henrik Wigström; gold mark of 72 zolotniks (1896-1908); Fabergé in Cyrillic characters Text adapted from Fabergé in the Royal Collection

    Provenance

    Bought by Sir Ernest Cassel from Fabergé's London branch, on 4 November 1907 (£81 5s.); Sir Philip Sassoon; by whom given to Queen Mary for her birthday, 26 May 1934
  • Creator(s)

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    Henrik Emanuel Wigström (1862-1923) (workmaster)

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    Fabergé (jeweller) [

    The House of Fabergé was the greatest Russian jewellery firm of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  It is most famous today for the spectacular Imperial Easter Eggs produced for the Russian royal family, but almost six hundred of its other creations are also represented in the Royal Collection. These include exquisite animal sculptures, cigarette cases and presentation boxes, as well as flower carvings, photograph frames and jewellery.

    Fabergé pieces largely entered the Collection as gifts exchanged by the Russian, Danish and British royal families.  Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, frequently received Fabergé works as birthday and Christmas presents from her sister, Tsarina Marie Feodorovna of Russia.  King Edward VII meanwhile expanded the collection by commissioning portrait sculptures of his favourite pets and other animals on the Sandringham Estate.

    Although the Russian Revolution forced the Fabergé firm's closure in 1918, royal fascination with its work endured.  In the 1930s, King George V and Queen Mary purchased the three Imperial Easter Eggs now in the Collection – the Basket of Flowers Egg, the Colonnade Egg and the Mosaic Egg.  Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother also formed an outstanding collection of flower sculptures, ornaments and boxes.

    The House of Fabergé was founded in 1842 in St Petersburg, by Gustav Fabergé, a master goldsmith of French extraction.  After 1872, his son, Peter Carl, took over the running of the firm and quickly transformed it into a large enterprise with several separate workshops.  It became renowned for its intricate hardstone carvings and for the use of precious stones and transparent (guilloché) enamel to embellish coloured gold.  Under Carl Fabergé, three of the very best craftsmen were promoted to the position of head workmaster.  Pieces by Erik Kollin (1872-1886), Michael Perchin (1886-1903) and Henry Wigström (1903-1917) are all represented in the Royal Collection.

    In 1885, the firm was awarded a warrant as official supplier to the imperial court.  It was also in this year that the Tsar commissioned the first Imperial Easter Egg, starting an annual tradition which would showcase some of the firm's most inventive and sophisticated craftsmanship.  A London branch was opened in 1900 under the management of H.C. Bainbridge, and quickly became a favourite haunt of the British royal family and their circle.  At its peak, the Fabergé business employed almost five hundred craftsmen.

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    Acquirer(s)

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    Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel (1852-1921)

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    Queen Mary, consort of George V, King of the United Kingdom (1867-1953)

  • Medium & Techniques

    Gold, enamel and sepia enamel, rose diamonds

    diamond, gold, enamel, sepia ink

    rose cut

    Dimensions

    2.5 x 5.7 cm (whole object)