Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood collection is the Most comprehensive collection of Russian art abroad. Marjorie Merriweather Post started collecting Russian art – icons, Faberge eggs, porcelain, paintings during her stay in Russia in 1937 – 1938. She was the wife of Joseph Davies – the second US ambassador to the Soviet Union, at the time of Joseph Stalin.
Exploring commission shops and state-run storerooms, Marjorie discovered that the fine and decorative arts of imperial Russia appealed to her taste for finely-crafted objects and ignited a new collecting passion and pioneering effort in the field of Russian art. Stalin needed the money for the restoration of the national economy, industrialization and military armament programs. Although Margery divorced, her third husband in 1955, her passion for the Russian art continued. She bought precious things at auctions and from collectors.
Bread and salt dish. Artisans at the firm of Pavel Ovchinnikov created this rich silver dish in 1883, on it – miniature portrait of Czar Alexander III (above), his wife Tsarina Maria Feodorovna (right), and a young Nicholas II (left).
Catherine Palace glass chandelier. Presumably from the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, this chandelier has opened a new era in Russian glassmaking with its quirky style and bright colors. Mrs. Post hung it in the breakfast room, where it is located.
Catherine the Great Easter Egg. Faberge egg of gold, diamonds, pearls, silver, platinum and glass. Created Henrik Wigström, the last Grand Master at the famous House of Faberge Firm, this egg also has hidden compartments. Egg was created for the emperor Nicholas II as a gift to his mother in 1914.
Chain of the Order of St. Andrew. 19th century, it can be worn for special occasions, the chain consists of various medallions, including those that depict double eagles, symbols of Russian Empire that looks at the East and the West. Large medallion at the bottom depicts martyred on an X-shaped cross.
Dinner set, tea and coffee. 19th century made at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg. Empress Maria Feodorovna, as they say, traditionally presented a small tea sets as gifts for the family and friends. Although no evidence that this set was one of her gifts, such gifts were fashionable in the first decade of the 19th century.
19th century Ebonized wood cabinet. Gift presented by Tsar Alexander II to Russian prince and his wife on wedding anniversary. Originally on the front panel are four portraits that depict the prince and his family. When it came to Mrs. Post in the Soviet Union, the images were lost, she had to insert lyapis- panel to replace the missing portraits.
Faberge clock in rococo style. Watches, with secret panels belonged to Empress Maria Feodorovna, mother of Tsar Nicholas II. According to legend, Mary admired the original version of this watch, which was designed by the English master James Cox for the Empress Alexandra, wife of Nicholas. The royal couple then commissioned Faberge to make a copy, to which he added the side panels, with portraits of Nicholas and Alexandra.
Fabulous 14k yellow gold and etched crystal pendant perfume bottle. Golden hinged cover attached to the neck is decorated with three round gems ruby, sapphire and diamond, each approx. 0.15 carat. Finely etched flower design to the crystal. Includes the original plug. Has the “MP” monogram.
Icon of the Mother of God. The icon of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus located in a 17th century copy of it found in Kazan in 1579. Original icon credited with helping Russian troops in the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612.
Items from the tea set of Count Orlov. Part tea set of Catherine the Great in honor of one of her lovers, Count Grigory Orlov in the 18th century. With his four brothers, Orlov led the coup which erected Catherine on the Russian throne in June 1762. The letters are written in Cyrillic containers MGO – Orlov’s initials and the lid handles depict cherubs.
Military Cup of pure gold designed in a neoclassical style, Adjutant General Count Apraxin Spiridonov was awarded it in 1833. Apraxin participated in the war of Russia against Napoleon in 1812. Throughout his reign, Nicholas marked military achievements with exclusive gifts such as this one.
Music Box. A gift to parents on the 25th anniversary of the wedding of Prince Felix and Nikolai Yusupov in 1907. Felix was known for his involvement in the murder of Grigory Rasputin, spiritual healer, who also became a close confidant of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. Rasputin was murdered in the family mansion of Yusupov Palace on the Moika, St. Petersburg, the palace is depicted on this box.
Nuptial Diamond Crown. Empress Alexandra wore Diamond Crown at her wedding to Emperor Nicholas II in 1894. Diamonds are sewn on velvet base, cross of six large, old-cut on the top of it. Six strips of one compound on the bottom formed with three rows of small diamonds with two rows of larger therebetween.
Boyarsky wedding feast. Established in 1883, this large oil painting, which measures nearly 13 feet (about four meters) in width depicts the wedding feast of combining two powerful families of nobility, which was dominated by Moscow’s authorities in the 16th and 17th centuries. Artist Konstantin Makovsky, highlighted this point during the wedding feast, when the guests toast the new couple with the traditional singing of “gor’ko, gor’ko”, which means “bitter, bitter,” a reference to the wine, which allegedly turned bitter. By tradition, the couple must kiss to make wine sweet again. Toast is happening at the end of the holiday, when brought roast swan, last meal, after which the new-married couple leaves ..
Painting ‘Boyarsky wedding feast’ by artist Konstantin Makovsky
St. Petersburg Bowl 18th-century, made of gold, diamonds and precious stones. Empress requested Iver Windfeldt Buch to make two liturgical sets, each consisting of a cup and a few other parts necessary for religious rituals. One set, which included this bowl was created for the Holy Trinity Cathedral, while others were used in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. At the order of Catherine the gold and diamonds are taken from the public treasury
Twelve Monogram Golden Faberge egg covered with blue enamel and diamonds, which was donated by Czar Alexander III’s wife in 1895. Rows of diamonds on twelve panels, each of which is decorated with the crowned initials of Alexander or his wife, Maria Feodorovna.