Russian Imperial Easter Eggs

Chic Imperial Easter Eggs
Chic Imperial Easter Eggs

Russian imperial dynasty and its numerous royal and princely relatives in England, Denmark, Greece, Bulgaria, Hesse, Hannover received Russian Imperial Easter Eggs as a gift from Russia. These precious favors were appreciated and passed them on to future generations. After the First World War, the fall of the monarchy in Europe and the depletion of the aristocracy, many Faberge were sold and moved on to other owners. In the 1920s, to replenish the treasury currency, the Soviet government sold a number of works of art from public collections. From the imperial collection confiscated after 1917, were sold to a large part, probably, “absolutely useless” for the Soviet state unique Easter eggs.

The emergence of new for Russia materials related to the Petrine reforms, namely, porcelain, glass, papier-mache, contributed to the development of the art of making Russian Easter eggs. The first extant porcelain Easter egg “Easter” was created in 1749 by the inventor of Russian porcelain Dmitry Vinogradov. With the opening in 1748 porcelain, production of decorative eggs in Russia was put on an industrial basis. In 1749 Vinogradov wrote in his diary: “The eggs are sharpened and shaped.” From now and until the revolution the Imperial Porcelain Factory produced eggs.

Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
The egg was made to commemorate the awarding of the Emperor with the Order of St. George.

The earliest of these was the egg depicting cupids, probably after a drawing by Francois Boucher, which refers to the middle of the XVIII century and is located in the State Russian Museum. Each Easter egg was handmade for members of the imperial family.

Porcelain eggs often were suspended and had a through hole, threaded with a ribbon with a bow at the bottom and with a loop at the top. These eggs were usually hung in the red corner, under the icon. Since the 1820s private porcelain factories of Russia also began to produce eggs.

In 1799, the Imperial Porcelain Factory produced 254 eggs, in 1802 – 960. At the beginning of the XX century the production reached 3308 eggs per year, made by thirty people, including students. By Easter 1914 produced 3991 porcelain egg, in 1916 – 15365 pieces. Most of them were designed for Easter greeting for the lower ranks in the army and parcels to the front. On such eggs depicted monogram of Emperor, or national emblem, or the Order of St. George (George Cross).

Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
The egg has a strict appearance: the shiny steel body is divided into three parts by two smooth horizontal lines. In the center there are gold overlay images of the coat of arms of the Russian Empire, St. George, the date “1916”, surrounded by a laurel wreath, and the monogram of Alexandra Feodorovna. The egg is crowned with a golden imperial crown. The stand is made of jade with a gold border, on which four steel artillery shells are placed at the corners

Under Alexander III and Nicholas II at the factory to each Easter were issued 100, and then 200 eggs with “monogram with the image of their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress.” Special attention was paid to technical excellence of these products for official gifts.

Sovereigns themselves sometimes acted as a kind of controllers: so Alexander III recommended to paint eggs with not only color, but also with ornaments, loved whole glass products with engraved pattern.

Easter eggs were made of papier-mache at the end of the XIX century, at Moscow factory of Lukutin, now famous Fedoskino factory of lacquer miniature painting. Along with religious subjects Wizards of factory of Lukutin often depicted on Easter eggs Orthodox churches and temples. One of the favorite subjects of masters was St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square. At the end of XIX – early XX century, along with the icons in the Moscow icon-painting workshops, educated immigrants from the traditional centers of Russian icon painting – Palekh, Mstera, Kholui, painted Easter eggs as well.

Karelian birch egg
Karelian birch egg

One of the first to combine an Easter egg with jewelry was Faberge. Carl Faberge name is most often associated with the brilliant art of decorative Easter eggs, the so-called “Easter surprise” – giftware with a hidden secret. It is assumed that the idea of creating them belonged to his younger brother Agafon Faberge, extraordinarily gifted artist who also had exceptional design capabilities. Carl Faberge was able to win the hearts of customers, pushing all competitors. His success – in the complexity of the design, originality and impeccable execution of these precious toys. Total from 1885 to 1917 were produced 56 “Easter surprises” on the orders of the imperial family. These were the gifts of Alexander III and Nicholas II to Empresses Maria Feodorovna and Alexandra Feodorovna.

Photo gallery of Russian Imperial Easter Eggs

Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
Easter Egg 1904
The egg is made of gold, pink and opaque white enamel. It is decorated with embossing and carving on gold.
The egg is made of gold, pink and opaque white enamel. It is decorated with embossing and carving on gold.
Egg in Baden-Baden
Egg in Baden-Baden
Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
It is the last egg made by Faberge for the Romanov family. It was ordered by Nicholas II for his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna, as a gift for Easter on April 2 (in the new style – April 15) 1917, but was not presented due to the Tsar’s abdication from the throne.
Chic Imperial Easter Eggs
Chic Imperial Easter Eggs
Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
Easter Egg 1901
Created by order of Emperor Nicholas II as a gift to his mother, Maria Fedorovna, for Easter 1914
Created by order of Emperor Nicholas II as a gift to his mother, Maria Fedorovna, for Easter 1914
Easter eggs
Easter eggs “Pine cone”
Faberge Easter eggs
Faberge Easter eggs
Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
Easter Egg 1904
In 1927, the egg was sold to the Hammer Gallery in New York, where it was bought by Eleanor Barzin in 1931 as a birthday present for his mother.
In 1927, the egg was sold to the Hammer Gallery in New York, where it was bought by Eleanor Barzin in 1931 as a birthday present for his mother.
Golden egg in a carriage
Golden egg in a carriage
The main rule is surprise inside
The main rule is surprise inside
Inside the
Inside the “Pinecone” egg – a surprise in the form of a mechanical elephant with a drover
Easter Egg 1898
Easter Egg 1898
In 1927, the egg was sold to the Hammer Gallery in New York, where it was bought by Eleanor Barzin in 1931 as a birthday present for his mother.
In 1927, the egg was sold to the Hammer Gallery in New York, where it was bought by Eleanor Barzin in 1931 as a birthday present for his mother.
Russian Imperial Easter Eggs
Russian Imperial Easter Eggs. (late XIX – early XX centuries)
“Coronation egg”
The egg was created as a gift to the wife of Emperor Nicholas, Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter in 1916. In 1927 it was transferred by the Monetary Fund of the Narkomfin to the Museum of the Moscow Kremlin
The egg was created as a gift to the wife of Emperor Nicholas, Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter in 1916. In 1927 it was transferred by the Monetary Fund of the Narkomfin to the Museum of the Moscow Kremlin
In 1914, Nicholas II presented it to his mother, Maria Fedorovna.
In 1914, Nicholas II presented it to his mother, Maria Fedorovna.
“Birch” is a jewelry egg, one of fifty-two imperial Easter eggs made by the firm of Carl Faberge for the family of the emperor of Russia.
The Spring Flowers egg was exhibited twice as the Imperial Easter Egg at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in 1961 and 1996, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1977.
The Spring Flowers egg was exhibited twice as the Imperial Easter Egg at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in 1961 and 1996, and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1977.
In a letter to her sister Alexandra, Maria Feodorovna notes that the surprise in this egg was a mechanical palanquin with Catherine the Great inside, carried by two araps.
In a letter to her sister Alexandra, Maria Feodorovna notes that the surprise in this egg was a mechanical palanquin with Catherine the Great inside, carried by two araps.
The Order of St. George is a jewelry egg, one of fifty-two imperial Easter eggs made by Carl Faberge for the Russian imperial family.
The Order of St. George is a jewelry egg, one of fifty-two imperial Easter eggs made by Carl Faberge for the Russian imperial family.
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