Dr. SKURLOV Valentin Vasilievich
was born in Leningrad in 1947.
He studied to become an analyst in the jewellery market for the Russkiye Samotsvety (Russian Hard Stones Trust). During the course of his investigations on the jewellers active before the Revolution he kept finding information on the House of Fabergé. After the Perestroika, the first exhibition of Fabergé artefacts was organized at the Elagin Palace in Leningrad and Valentin was invited to work as a guide. This intrigued him even more and he started to research information, concentrating mostly on Fabergé. He wrote in the catalogue a chapter on Fabergé in Odessa.
He contacted me at that time, and we started a very interesting and fruitful collaboration. He started collecting information on work-masters and members of the staff working for the House of Fabergé. He noticed that one of the chapters in Prof. Fersman’s book on Russian hardstones was written in a completely different style from the rest, when he looked among the archives, he found the actual manuscript that had been written by Frans Birbaum. This enabled us to write a book in 1992 called The History of the |House of Fabergé with notes based on archival material. (Unfortunately these were used without our permission by GvH and Lopato in the catalogue of their exhibition of 1993).
We collected inventory numbers (approx. 33.000 out of a total of 250.000) which enable us to determine the provenance of objects. Unfortunately before we can put our hands on the original Fabergé ledgers, it will be impossible to establish any legitimate catalogue raisonné of all that was executed in Russia. Valentin studied the complicated Russian system of hallmarking objects and wrote a very helpful resume.
Valentin is the “house” expert of Christie’s for Fabergé items sold at auctions.
Furthermore, he has a wide collection of contacts in Russia, Ukraine, and ex-Soviet republics among experts and new jewellers and stone cutters. We are preparing a new book on stone-cut figurines, both per-1917 and contemporary ones.
Her is also researching what happened during the Revolution and the fate of members of the family in these difficult times.
Valentin is collaborating with the publication “Antikvarnoe Obozrenie” which is a quarterly illustrated journal devoted to the antiquity business. He writes reviews like : an overview of the autumn auctions, etc. plus articles like, e.g., About elephants – who offered elephants to the tsar. He is also one of the redactors of the “Russkii Yuvelir”, an illustrated publication devoted to the contemporary jewellery market, with announcements of jewellery fairs in Russia and abroad.
Valentin has a very complete address list of people involved in art – both contemporary and antiques – in StP, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, Ekaterinburg, etc. Almost everybody involved in jewellery and art in Russia (and ex-Soviet republics) knows Valentin. He knows many important collectors. He is often asked to assess collections and check hallmarks.
He is also member of the Carl Fabergé Memorial Foundation, Moscow. This foundation is not very active, but has been bestowing orders and medals in honour of Carl Fabergé to the best jewelers and people connected with Fabergé, like Piotrovskii – Director of the Hermitage Museum, etc. The President of this Foundation is, if it is still so, Alexander Ivanov (who acquired the Rothschild egg).