The V&A in London (Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL) dedicates an important exhibition to the famous Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé, known for his egg-shape jewels, the first of which was commissioned to him by Tsar Alexander III in 1885 as an Easter surprise for his wife Maria Redorovna. It is no coincidence that it is precisely the British capital that dedicates an exhibition to this great goldsmith, and the reason why is easy to say: born in Saint Petersburg in 1846, Peter Carl Fabergé was trained in the best workshops in Europe learning techniques and secrets of the goldsmith’s art. After this strong apprenticeship, once back in his homeland, in 1872 he took over the workshop of his father Gustav, also a goldsmith. During an exhibition, his valuable works were noticed by Tsar Alexander and from that moment, the Fabergé family’s works became part of the imperial collection and the artists were admitted to his court. Outside his homeland, however, London was the only place in which Fabergé’s works could be found displayed in his shop opened in 1903. An immediate success: his works were appreciated and purchased by the British royal family but also by various aristocrats, maharaja, Russian grand dukes in exile, high society financiers.
The exhibition planned at V&A, “Fabergé in London; Romance to revolution” brings together about 200 objects of the great goldsmith and, according to the curators, Kieran McCarthy and Hanne Faurby, aims to highlight the relationship between the goldsmith and London where as we saw Fabergé enjoyed great fame and appreciation, especially among the upper classes, comparable to the reputation he had in Russia. Among the pieces of jewellery showcased in the exhibition, that opens with the amazing collection of the Romanov family, we must highlight three imperial Easter eggs, the Moscow Kremlin egg, the biggest ever made, inspired by the architecture of the Dormition Cathedral where the Romanov were crowned, the Alexander Palace Egg, with the water-colour portraits of the sons of Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra and including a mockup of the imperial palace and the Tercentenary Egg, created to celebrate 300 years of the Romanov dynasty, just a few years before its fall. The exhibition also features the Basket of Flowers Egg of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, borrowed from the British Royal Collection Trust. Of surprising value is also the tiara belonged to her royal highness the grand duchess of Magdeburg Schwerin in gold and silver and composed by nine vertical arrows set with diamonds and aquamarine.
The exhibition, that opens on 20th November, will be open until 8th May 2022.
Above: The Alexander Palace Egg, Fabergé