These bronze figures may have been produced as further models, in addition to those in wax, perhaps so that the colour palette could be settled upon, bronze being easier to paint than wax. Fabergé’s close association with the Woerffel lapidary and bronze foundry would have easily facilitated this extra step in the process. Certainly the price paid by the Emperor of 2300 rubles for each, far more than the next most expensive figure (the boyar, at 950 rubles, which sold, Sotheby’s New York, 21 April 2005, lot 44), suggests that their creation was inordinately time-consuming and laborious for Fabergé.
An interesting comparison is provided by the two figures of ‘The Ice Deliverer’ after the model by G.K. Savinitskii, one in silver from the workshop of Hjalmar Armfelt, the other in various hardstones, both authenticated as Fabergé-produced objects by Francois Birbaum in 1925 and now in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum, Moscow (inv. PDK-2570 and 7782; exhibited Brussels, Espace Culturel ING, 2005-2006, Fabergé: Joaillier des Romanovs, nos. 76b and 76c, ex. cat. p. 177, illustrated p. 124). It is believed that the silver sculpture was produced first. Finally, it is known that at least one of the Kamer-Kazak guards was in fact modelled in metal. In 1927, a metal figure of Kudinov was found in the Amoury among objects which had belonged to the Imperial Family, according to T. Fabergé et al, K. Fabergé I ego prodolzhateli, St Petersburg, 2009, p. 96, the authors noting that ‘it is possible that this is a silver or bronze model of the hardstone figure of the Kamer-Kazak Kudinov’.
While it is suggested here that these bronze figures probably served as models for the hardstone figures, it is also possible that they were made after the fact and possibly given to the Kamer-Kazak guards themselves, or perhaps even to the young Tsarevich as toys, reminders of his mother’s and grandmother’s exotic and imposing guards, who must surely have fascinated him. In any event, their creation almost surely pre-dates the mid-1920s, when the figures were separated and that of Pustynnikov made its way to the West.
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