Lot 551
  • 551

A Fabergé jewelled silver, enamel and seed-pearl icon of the Pelagonitissa Mother of God, Moscow, 1908-1917

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • silver, enamel, seed pearl, tempera, sapphire
  • 23 by 20cm, 9 by 7 3/4 in.
the Holy figures finely painted on wood, her robes and mantle repoussé with folds and applied with seed pearls, His robes champlevé enamelled with turquoise-coloured scrolls, their halos repoussé with stylised fir cones and a rosette within scrolls on a stippled ground, the riza of opaque greenish-blue baisse taille enamel within scrolls and foliate motifs applied with seed pearls, the frame with alternating rosettes and palmettes, the top and bottom applied with cabochon sapphires, struck K.Fabergé in Cyrillic beneath the Imperial warrant, 88 standard, scratched inventory number 40852 or 40859

Catalogue Note

The few full-sized icons produced by Fabergé are of exceptional quality, no doubt in response to a competitive market.  According to Franz Birbaum, such objects were in great demand: "Church silver - plate and icons - also played an important part [of the Moscow factory].  Because of their artistic value, many of those objects were in demand even abroad, and the factory received many foreign commissions." (F. Birbaum, The History of the House of Fabergé, St Petersburg, 1992, p. 12).

The three icons in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts made by the Moscow branch make similar use of scrolling seed-pearls, precious stones and enamel to embellish their silver covers (please see P. Lesley, Fabergé: A Catalog of the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection of Russian Imperial Jewels, Richmond, 1976, cat. nos. 251, 252 and 253), as does the icon of Christ Pantocrator from Victor Aarne's workshop which sold, Sotheby's New York, 15-16 April 2008, lot 491, $780,200.

This depiction of the Mother of God originates from the city of Bitola in Macedonia, which lies within the Pelagonia valley, and received renewed interest following the town's liberation from Ottoman rule after the First Balkan War and the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest.