понедельник, 25 февраля 2013 г.

Carl Fabergé - the court jeweler of the House of Romanov.


    Skurlov V.V., Ph.D., historian of jewelry, St. Petersburg.
 Carl Gustavovich Fabergé became a Supplier of the Highest Court on May 1, 1885 with the right to represent the State Coat of Arms on his products and signboard. It was necessary to supply the Court with the products of own making for not less than 8 years in order to obtain this honorary title. Fabergé's firm had been making such supplies as early as 1866. Furthermore, it was taken into account that Carl Fabergé had been selflessly working for the Hermitage for 19 years. He restored archeological values that were coming from the Scythian tombs in the Crimea. Carl Fabergé is called as a "scientific jeweler" with the title "Jeweler of the Imperial Hermitage".
In 1890, Carl Fabergé had taken a position of the "Appraiser of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty". Appraisers had also the right to have a coat or arms (double eagle) on the shop window and in the logotype. Agathon Carlovich Fabergé, son of Carl Fabergé, had often been taking his father's duties of appraiser and was assigned to a position of expert of Diamond Room of the Winter Palace in 1898. His responsibilities included monitoring the status of Crown's values. In 1914, Agathon Fabergé had personally packed the crown's values and sent them to the Armoury of the Moscow Kremlin for storage, where he unpacked them himself and listed for Gokhran in 1922 and for the book "The Diamond Fund of the USSR". Carl Fabergé had received the third double eagle as a highest award at the All-Russian Art and Industrial Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1910.
In 1910, Carl Fabergé's sons found out by chance that the title of the "Court Jeweler" was not identical to the title of the "Supplier of the Highest Court", although a privilege for the Court jeweler was the same i.e. the right to have the State Coat of Arms on the logotype and on the signboard. It turns out that those persons who are in direct contact with the Emperor and the Empress were rewarded with the title of the "Court Jeweler" just as persons of any other profession with the word "Court". So, the jeweler Kehli was the "Court Jeweler of the Empress Maria Fyodorovna" and the jeweler Carl Bolin was the "Court Jeweler of His Majesty". A supplier of the Highest Court could be a manufacturer from other town who had never seen the tsar personally. Inasmuch as Carl Fabergé was modest, and he would never have applied for the award himself, then Eugene Carlovich Fabergé wrote the letter to the Minister of the Imperial Court on behalf of four sons of the jeweler and in January 29, 1911 the Emperor affirmed the application of awarding Carl Fabergé with the title of "Court Jeweler" which, as Eugene Fabergé pointed out in his application, Carl Gustavovich had already been since the middle of 1880s when he fulfilled individual orders of Alexander III and his wife Maria Fyodorovna.
The right to the image of the national coat of arms was confirmed personally to the "Partnership of C. Fabergé" for the fifth time in 1916. Carl Gustavovich personally asked to keep this privilege "to the last of my living sons in case of my death." The fact is that the right to the State Coat of Arms was given personally and ended with the death of the holder of the title. Eugene Fabergé died in 1960 and he had the right to the sign of the supplier and the court jeweler till the end of his life. In 1958, two years before his death, he officially assigned to his nephew Fyodor Agathonovich Fabergé (1904-1971), the jeweler, the father of Tatyana Fabergé, the right to the logotype with the double eagle.
Most likely, the familiarity of the Danish royal house "Hen with egg" with the jewelry of the German goldsmith Melchior Dinglinger of the 1730ss had led Carl Fabergé to the idea of creation of a similar "Hen" by the Easter of 1885, which was brilliantly done. As for the idea, the "genius takes where he wants to", Carl Yungshted, artist, Carl's maternal grandfather was of Swedish origin, but worked at the Danish court, which also could not but impress the Empress Maria Fyodorovna.
It is indubitable that the jeweler and the Empress had friendly relations. They were almost the same age (the Empress was one year younger). Carl Fabergé had four sons, Maria Feodorovna had three sons, and however, she had two daughters. Carl Fabergé, fulfilling orders of the imperial family, had to be aware of all the memorable family's dates by definition: birthdays, name days (christening), wedding days (and the engagement days before that), silver wedding, coronation days, anniversaries of staying at throne, anniversaries of patronage over Guards regiments, and other institutions, and much more. From a letter of the Empress Maria Fedorovna to sister Alexandra, English Queen, "Faberge has brought another egg. And I told him, "You are an incomparable genius!"
Just before 1890, Fabergé firm fulfilled more than 40,000 products altogether, and more than 210,000 products were fulfilled by Fabergé firm in the period from 1890 to 1917. Fabergé firm fulfilled not more than 10% of products (21,000 objects) of them for the Imperial Family and for the Cabinet of His Majesty, but at an average price of 120 rubles which was 20% higher than for all other clients.

Beginning with May 1885 Carl Fabergé set so-called "Cabinet journal-book" where he registered objects fulfilled by the order of the Cabinet of His Majesty and his cameral department, which was in charge of royal gifts. By 1900, there were 1,200 such entries in the journal-book, of which more than half fell within the gifts fulfilled for the coronation in 1896. There were 5,000 records in the journal-book in 1917, but there were more than 6,000 objects by the order of the Cabinet because some of the entries included up to several tens of objects, such as Signs "In commemoration of the visit of the Highest"- 20 pieces, etc. Nearly 2,500 subjects were fulfilled by Fabergé firm to the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The production of such objects had begun beforehand as early as in 1912 and was finished only in connection with the outbreak of the World War I. There was such a great need for these awards. A distinctive feature of these gifts for the 300th anniversary was that they were, like all gifts from the Cabinet of His Majesty, supposed to carry not only national symbols, but also the "Cap of Monomakh" and the crown. Now, such objects are very highly valued at the antique market. Their price range is very wide. For example, brooches and cigarette cases at the prices of 90, 120, 180, 270, and 300 rubles. The price of 300 rubles was considered as expensive for cigarette cases. Persons in the rank of colonel and above were awarded with them. Persons of not below than 5th grade in the Table of Ranks were rewarded with the gifts having the Emperor's monogram, in fact even not below than the 4th grade that is in the rank of Major General, and the persons only of the first two classes, who already had all conceivable orders or foreign monarchs, were rewarded with a portrait of the Emperor.
Fabergé had fulfilled 2,400 objects for the Empress Maria Fyodorovna personally and less than 300 objects for her imperial husband, the Emperor Alexander III. Fabergé had fulfilled 2,000 products for the Emperor Nicholas II together with the objects made at the time when he still was a Crown Prince, and 2,200 objects for the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. It should be noted that about 25-30% of objects for the imperial couple Nicholas and Alexandra were paid equally, i. e. it was a joint purchase. Fabergé fulfilled more than 600 objects for the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and her husband the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich. Spouses often paid for such objects in half. It was a very difficult problem to follow how many objects the tsar and his wife owned directly, and this problem is not solved yet. The point is that the imperial family, numbering twenty eighth Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses in 1916, often interchanged "gifts from Fabergé".
For example, Nicholas II presented a stone-cutting figurine of "Country woman going to the bath" to his younger sister, the Grand Duchess Olga, to the new year of 1912 and had received a stone-cutting figurine of "Balalaikaman" himself as a gift from the Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich to the new year of 1914. The fashion for gathering of collections of "stone animals from Fabergé" appeared among Grand Duchesses by 1900. The Empress Maria Fyodorovna, who had inured her sister Queen Alexandra to collecting stone toys, initiated this fashion. As a consequence, the present Queen of England had the world's largest collection of Fabergé stone animalism. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna had the huge collection of Fabergé's objects. The latter had the famous collection of "stone flowers" numbering 34 objects in 1917.
The study of the archives of other members of the Imperial Family shows that the further they were from the Emperor by the hierarchy, the less Fabergé objects they had. They were served by the other equally worthy jewelers. The reason for this is easily explained. Fabergé was not enough for everyone. "Where shall I take so many craftsmen from?" - Fabergé asked. There was such a practice as a "waiting list" already.
People stood in a queue for Fabergé objects. When a parcel has come from St. Petersburg, the English King and the Queen competed with each other in order to see who would view the collection earlier and choose the daintiest objects intended for gifts. 5500 objects had passed through London office in 1906-1917. The names of many members of the Imperial Family fallen into oblivion arise in the history and on the antique market, only in connection with the possession of Fabergé objects by them. "They lived in the era of Fabergé," one can say about them.
Since some point of time, namely after the Russian-Japanese war, Fabergé started to service real kings of the economic life of Russia and the world, "the kings of oil, sugar, rubber overshoes and cotton" the leading representatives of the financial, commercial and industrial aristocracy. These are the best friends of Fabergé: Nobel (oil), Eliseev brothers (wine and gastronomy), the Kelch-Bazanov (gold), Koenig (sugar), Neysheller (rubber overshoes) and many others.
But Carl Fabergé remained the main court jeweler of the House of Romanov till the end of the firm. These two names are inseparable. When we say Fabergé, we remember the Romanov. When we say "The House of Romanov", Fabergé comes into mind at once.
In 1922 in the period of NEP (New Economic Policy), Bolsheviks noticed that many companies constantly mentioned of the title of the "Supplier of the Imperial Court" in their advertisements as a fault-free advertising action and promotion of their products and they hastened to forbid the use of such title. But Carl Fabergé died in 1920 just in unabolished title of the "Court Jeweler". It is the title which is marked on the grave of Carl Fabergé in Cannes.

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