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Johann Victor Aarne (1863-1934)

Notebook  before 1896

Silver-gilt, guilloché enamel, moonstones | 1.8 x 16.2 x 12.6 cm | RCIN 4819

  • 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


    Bought jointly by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, December 1896; by whom given to Queen Victoria, Christmas 1896
  • Creator(s)

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    Johann Victor Aarne (1863-1934) (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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    Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)


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    Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)

  • Medium & Techniques

    Silver-gilt, guilloché enamel, moonstones

    silver gilt, moonstone, gilt, red enamel, oyster enamel

    gilded, enamelled


    1.8 x 16.2 x 12.6 cm (whole object)