Traditionally during Russian Week, London’s major auction houses hold sales of Russian art which usually include historical objects by Fabergé. Although there were no great collections with an Imperial provenance on offer this week, rare and choice pieces nevertheless commanded six figure sums.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS WEEK’S FABERGÉ
At Christie’s 28th May 2012 sale, a jewelled silver and gold-mounted pink quartz perfume bottle achieved £91,250. This most unusual piece is by Fabergé’s workmaster Mikhail Perkhin and was made in about 1890. Its pink quartz body has been realistically carved in the form of a tightened bag and is mounted with a silver bow set with rose-cut diamonds. You can just see the gold stopper at the top of the bag. The piece was sold with its original holly wood fitted case. The cataloguer placed an estimate of £8,000-£12,000 on the piece, yet the fact that it is so different to Fabergé’s normal perfume containers resulted in it being contested to a near six-figure sum. Its height is 2¼ in (5.7cm).
Also at Christie’s 28th May auction, a two-coloured gold and silver-mounted guilloché enamel desk clock realised £145,200. This clock with its very unusual orange-pink shade of enamel is by Fabergé’s workmaster Henryk Wigström and was made during the period 1908-17. Of rectangular form, it is decorated with alternating bands of enamel, the broader orange-pink ones being guilloché and the narrower white ones champlevé. The white enamel dial has Arabic chapters and pierced rose gold hands and is set within a bezel of seed pearls. The whole has a laurel chased border in yellow gold, whereas the sides of the piece are rose gold. The back is ivory and the time and there is a silver scroll strut. It is possible that this piece was commissioned in the racing colours of its first owner. Its height is 5½in (14cm).
At Sotheby’s 30th May 2012 sale, a delicate silver-gilt and enamel photograph frame achieved £37,250. This heart-shaped frame was made by Fabergé’s workmaster Anders Nevalainen during the period circa 1890-95. It is enamelled in translucent red enamel over bands of radiating engine turned waves. Its glazed oval aperture is within a silver bezel. The frame is surmounted by a tied ribbon and has a silver-gilt back and scroll strut. The frame was formerly in the collection of Princess Nedejda Bariatinsky, the great great-grandmother of the consignor. It contained a miniature of the Princess by Alexander Wegner, which the family decided to keep. The Princess was born Countess Nadejda Alexandrovna Stenbock-Fermor in Hapsal, Estonia. She married Prince Vladimir Anatolievich Bariatinsky, aide-de-camp-general and close friend of Emperor Alexander III in 1869. The frame was sold in its original Fabergé red leather case. The frame has a height of 3in (7.8cm).
At Bonham’s auction on 30th May, 2012, a gem set and enamel brooch achieved £25,000. This brooch is by Fabergé’s workmaster Henryk Wigström and as made in circa 1900. Its central white opaque enamel plaque is enriched with vari-coloured overlapping and stand-alone diamond centred enamel discs over a guilloché ground. This is within a diamond, ruby and sapphire-set mount. The Aesthetic Movement, an assimilation of Japanese influences into the Arts and Crafts Movement, inspired the design of this item. There was a cigarette case decorated with similar discs in the Forbes Collection. That was made in Fabergé’s Moscow workshop prior to 1899. The brooch is 1in (2.9cm) wide.
*All auction results include the Buyer’s Premium of 25 per cent.
Fabergé collections are available online or in our international boutiques.