Sir Arthur Trevor Dawson, 1st Bt. (1866-1931), Director, Vickers Ltd. and Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd., and his wife Louise, Lady Dawson, who launched the Rurik on 22 August 1905
Thence by descent
The Rurik was an armoured cruiser of the Imperial Russian Navy, named for the 9th century founder of Russia and its predecessor warship which had been scuttled in 1904, and built by the Vickers engineering conglomorate at its Barrow-in-Furness yard. Designed by K. A. Tennison, whose name is engraved on the reverse, she was unusual in being a British-made Russian warship. She was technically not launched but rather laid down at Barrow, officially launched in Russian waters in the following year and fully commissioned in 1908. The ship saw much action in the First World War as the flagship of the Baltic Fleet; she was hulked in 1918 and scrapped in 1930.
The present lot, seen on BBC's Antiques Roadshow on 14 February 2010, is one of a set of identical silver plaques in variously coloured enamel frames which were commissioned by the Imperial Navy from the Fabergé firm, the assignment given to the Nevalainen workshop, to be presented to dignitaries participating in the ceremony of the laying of the keel. A green example, designated as Property of Vickers Ltd., sold Sotheby's London, 25 November 1968, lot 62; and a red-framed plaque, which had been given to Vickers Company Secretary James Ferguson, sold Chrsitie's London, 8 April 1987, lot 221. Another plaque with a blue frame sold, Sotheby's Geneva, 20 February 1985, lot 551, together with a 1907 letter from its owner, Mr. W. Gordon, which reads "The Emperor and Empress have received similar [silver] pictures and I understand they are much pleased with them." Unframed plaques from this set are in the Collections of the Hillwood Museum and the Central Navy Museum, St Petersburg.
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