243
243

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

An Imperial hardstone figure of a parrot, Denisov-Uralsky, St Petersburg, 1913-1914
ACCÉDER AU LOT
243

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

An Imperial hardstone figure of a parrot, Denisov-Uralsky, St Petersburg, 1913-1914
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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An Imperial hardstone figure of a parrot, Denisov-Uralsky, St Petersburg, 1913-1914
carved in vari-coloured stones, the breast and belly of rhodonite, the crown and nape of nephrite, the lore of white chalcedony with cabochon ruby eyes and agate beak, with lapis lazuli wings and tail feathers, malachite mantle, silver talons, perching on a craggy quartz branch emerging from a part-cut and polished nephrite mass, in original wood case 
height 33cm, 13in.
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Provenance

Purchased by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, the invoice dated 27 January 1914, for 200 roubles
Christie's London, 13 December 1995, lot 287

Exposition

Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, River Front Arts Center, Wilmington, Delaware, USA, 8 September 2000 - 18 February 2001, no. 898, see ex. cat., G. von Habsburg, ed., p. 335, illustrated

Bibliographie

V. Skurlov, Fabergé and the Jewellers of St Petersburg, 1997, p. 384, illustrated
G. von Habsburg, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, 2000, no. 898, p. 335, illustrated
V. Skurlov et al., K. Fabergé i Ego Prodolzhateli, St Petersburg, 2009, p. 15, illustrated
T. Fabergé et al., Fabergé: A Comprehensive Reference Book, Geneva, 2012, p. 108, illustrated

Description

After experience in a smaller firm, Alexei Kuzmich Denisov-Uralsky (1864-1926) took over the company from his father while also pursuing his ambitions as a landscape painter. He was sought after, even by rivals, for his ability to select only the finest cuts from Russia's vast abundance of semi-precious stone reserves, with Agathon Fabergé later commenting 'he chose the best stones, and his prices for us were not insignificant'. Competing with Carl Fabergé for Imperial commissions of hardstone figural sculpture, the firm moved to premises on the prestigious Bolshaya Morskaya street, almost opposite Fabergé, in 1912.

The fine and carefully executed carving of this piece reveals the talents of those sculptors working for Denisov-Uralsky. The turn of the figure’s head provides multiple viewpoints and encourages close inspection of the rich materials which are cut to best reveal their fine qualities, while also bringing the piece to life. Such fine work suggests the hand of Georgiy Malishev who carried out orders for various St. Petersburg workshops, including Fabergé.

The vogue for natural history and ornithology in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods extended to the collection of exotic birds with Nicholas II, his brother George and his son Alexei all keeping parrots as well as Maria Feodorovna's sister Queen Alexandra, who furthermore had more than one hardstone parrot modelled by Fabergé (see RCIN 40478 and 40481). The Russian Imperial family cared deeply enough for the birds to place gravestones to their memory in the gardens of the Gatchina Palace and two such stones remain, one for ‘Popochka, Cockatoo 1894-97’ and another for ‘Popochka, 1899-1912’. The greater longevity of the second companion suggests the family developed a strong affinity and it is not inconceivable that the Dowager Empress, inspired by her sister, ordered this piece as a suitable memorial.  

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

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Londres