enamelled in translucent powder blue over sunburst waves in concentric bands, moonstone thumbpiece, struck K.Fabergé in Cyrillic beneath the Imperial Warrant, 88 standard, scratched inventory number 29165
Purchased in 1905 by Mary Goelet, Duchess of Roxburghe (1887-1937) and given as a wedding present to Lord Hyde, later 6th Earl of Clarendon (1877-1955)
Thence by descent
Mary Goelet was the daughter of Ogden Goelet whose enormous wealth derived from extensive real estate in New York. Born to the heady world of late 19th century New York society, her close relations included Mrs William Astor and Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt, as well as Sir Michael Herbert, British Ambassador to Washington. In 1903 she married into the British aristocracy, becoming the wife of Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe (incidentally the cousin of the Duke of Marlborough who had married her cousin Consuelo Vanderbilt). The announcement was made from the Goelet's mansion, Ochre Court, in Newport, Rhode Island. The newspapers reported that 'May Goelet, as one of the greatest heiresses of this country, will be added to the number of American women now to grace, revivify, and enrich the British peerage... Those who are fond of rolling the millions on their tongues say that Miss Goelet will inherit $40,000,000' (Daily Sun, 7 September 1903).
The Duchess as well as her parents patronised Fabergé, and in giving a lavish wedding present in 1905 to her friend Lord Hyde, who as Lord Clarendon would become Governor General of South Africa and Lord Chamberlain of the Household to King George VI, she chose this fine cigarette case. It was a particularly appropriate present as Lord Hyde's ancestor, the 4th Earl of Clarendon, is credited with introducing cigarette smoking to the British, a habit he had acquired whilst serving as Ambassador to Spain from 1833 to 1838.