A Fabergé Imperial Presentation silver and hardstone figural clock, workmaster Julius Rappoport, St Petersburg, 1902
- hardstone (bowenite), silver
- height 24.5cm, 9 5/8 in.
Purchased from the above by the uncle of the present owner in the 1950s
Thence by descent
The Cameral Office of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty went to great trouble to insure that appropriately generous gifts were given, the objects decided upon and purchased well in advance. The Cabinet's ledger (illustrated) lists the gifts presented and records at number five Silvestre's name and military rank with his gift: 'clock - griffin, from Fabergé' with the cost of 500 roubles. Fabergé's invoice sent to the Cabinet (illustrated) records the object as '1 clock - griffin with eagle' and also notes the price and the inventory number 764.
The form of the griffin rampant, one of the heraldic devices of the Romanov Dynasty, was used for other Fabergé silver objects, either clocks or desk ornaments, probably intended for presentation; apparently all were produced in Rappoport's workshop. Emperor Nicholas II had taken a silver and bowenite griffin clock with him on his State Visit to France in 1901, to be presented to the Société Hippique at Compiègne (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit, p. 467). A silver griffin without a clock is in the Hermitage, its base inscribed in Russian 'Presented by Grand Duke George Mikhailovich on 7 March 1898 in memory of the inauguration of Alexander III's Russian Museum' (inv. no. ERO-5395, illustrated, G. von Habsburg and M. Lopato, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweller, 1993, no. 71, p. 226). A griffin clock on a tall nephrite base sold, Sotheby's New York, 11 December 1979, lot 334 (illustrated, G. Hill, Fabergé and the Russian Master Goldsmiths, 1989, no. 155). Another example, on a tall bowenite base, was shown at the Wilmington exhibition (illustrated, G. von Habsburg, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, 2000, no. 175, p. 116). And finally, a griffin clock on a tall rhodonite base, struck with the mark of Rappoport's successors, the First Silver Artel, sold, Christie's London, 30 November 2004, lot 529. The identities of the recipients of the latter three examples, if indeed they are Imperial Presentation objects, are unknown. The present clock, unlike all those cited above, is distinctive in its incorporation of the Imperial eagle above the timepiece.