Three Imperial Easter eggs created by Carl Fabergé are being lent by Moscow to the UK for the first time as part of an exhibition exploring the often overlooked success in London of the tsars’ favourite jeweller.
The V&A on Wednesday announced details of an exhibition, opening in November, that will display some of the most jaw-dropping ornaments ever produced. Più di 200 objects will go on display, with the show-stopper being three eggs lent by Moscow Kremlin Museums. They include the largest Imperial egg, the Moscow Kremlin egg, which was inspired by the architecture of the Dormition cathedral in the Russian capital.
Fabergé took over the family jewellery business and created a firm that became indelibly linked to the romance, glamour and tragedy of the Russian imperial family.
Kieran McCarthy and Hanne Faurby, V&A curators, said that while Fabergé’s story was familiar, less well known was the importance of his London branch, the only one outside Russia. The shop in New Bond Street attracted “a global clientele of royalty, aristocrats, business titans and socialites”, they said, with products as popular in Britain as in Russia.
“Through Fabergé’s creations the exhibition will explore timeless stories of love, friendship and unashamed social climbing,” they said.
The Queen will lend the V&A some of her Fabergé collection, including bespoke pieces made for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Among them is a silver model portrait of his most successful racehorse Persimmon and a model of his dog Caesar with a collar that reads: I Belong to the King.
Fabergé began making Imperial Easter eggs when Tsar Alexander III first commissioned them as an Easter present for his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, nel 1885. It became a Romanov tradition for the next three decades.
There are about 50 Imperial Easter eggs in collections around the world. Also being lent by Kremlin Museums are the Alexander Palace egg, featuring watercolour portraits of the children of Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, as well as a surprise model of the palace; and the Tercentenary Egg, made in 1913 to celebrate 300 years of the Romanov dynasty.
The Queen will lend her Basket of Flowers egg, commissioned in 1901 by Nicholas II as an Easter present for his wife.