The Moscow Kremlin Museum has published a richly illustrated book Faberge. Easter Gifts, dedicated to the collection of the precious Imperial Easter Eggs from the museum’s collection. The exquisite eggs were created by Karl Faberge, for the last Russian emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II. The author of the book is the leading Faberge and other Russian jewellery researcher of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Tatiana Muntean.
Of the 50 known Imperial Easter Eggs, 43 have survived, ten are displayed at Moscow’s Kremlin Armory Museum – the world’s largest collection: Memory of Azov, Bouquet of Lilies Clock, Trans-Siberian Railway, Clover Leaf, Moscow Kremlin, Alexander Palace, Standart Yacht, Alexander III Equestrian, Romanov Tercentenary, and the Steel Military Eggs.
The new book is part of the Treasures of the Armory Chamber series, and allows the reader to examine the Imperial Easter Eggs down to the smallest detail. The colour photographs depict the intricate details of the eggs and their ‘surprises’, which can not be seen in the museums’ display case, but can now be appreciated in this new edition – high quality, close-up photography allow us to see these masterpieces in an entirely new perspective. The edition is supplemented with portraits, archival photographs and postcards. In addition, the author quotes excerpts from various documents, as well as from diaries, letters and memoirs of members of the imperial family, representatives of high society, Karl Faberge himself and his company’s employees.
One of the books’ pages offer readers a unique surprise – a QR code not only allows the reader to see the multifaceted beauty of one of the Imperial Easter gifts, but also to listen to a musical melody which delighted it’s Imperial recipient.
Each Imperial Easter Egg came with a ‘surprise’ inside, making them the most famous and celebrated works of the company. In 1885, at the request of Emperor Alexander III, the firm created the first Easter egg for his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna. From then on, the order become an annual tradition. Following the accession to the throne of Nicholas II, the firm began to make two Easter eggs – one for his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and one for his consort Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Each new egg had to be different from the previous one and, preferably, surpass it with an unusual artistic beauty.
Many of the Imperial Easter Eggs were sold by the Soviets in the 1920s. The remaining eggs miraculously avoided destruction and sale, and eventually found themselves in the Moscow Kremlin, as described in the first chapter of the book. For the next half a century the Imperial Easter Eggs were pretty much forgotten. The collection was exhibited in the Armoury, but was perceived at best as a collection of ‘luxurious curiosities’. In the early 1990s, employees of the Moscow Kremlin Museums turned to studying these great works of art. Today, they attract the curiosity of visitors from around the world when visiting Moscow.
The 208 page Faberge. Easter Gifts is published in Russian only. It sells for 2000 rubles ($30.00 USD), and is available from the Kremlin Museum shop in Moscow.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 1 October 2018