Lot 524
  • 524

A jewelled gold and silver Maid of Honour cypher, Carl Blank, St Petersburg, circa 1913

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • metal, silver, diamonds
formed as initials M and A for Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna below a hinged Imperial crown surmount, set with circular- and rose-cut diamonds in gold-backed silver mounts, apparently unmarked, numbered 394, with original silk ribbon


Presented to Baroness Elizabeth von Hoyningen-Huene on 11 February 1914

Catalogue Note

This cypher is recorded in the Imperial ledgers with the Cabinet's number 419 as having been purchased from Blank for 620 roubles, the initial entry dated 15 May 1913.  The name of the recipient, the date of presentation and that it was a double cypher for both Empresses are noted.  The cypher is also recorded on an invoice from Blank to the Cabinet with the retailer's number 394 noted.  

Elizabeth von Hoyningen-Huene (1891-1973) was the daughter of Baron Barthold Theodor Hermann von Hoyningen-Huene, a Baltic nobleman and courtier, and his wife, Emily Anne Lothrop, a daughter of George Van Ness Lothrop, who had served as the U. S. Minister to Russia during the previous reign.  She married her first husband, Baron Nicolas Wrangell, an aide-de-camp in the household of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, in August 1915, with Le Figaro, Paris, announcing that 'Petrograd has been blessed with the marriage' and noting the bride's position as 'demoiselle d'honneur de S. M. l'impératrice de Russie'.  The outbreak of war in the summer of 1914 and her marriage the following year meant that Baroness Elizabeth had little opportunity to attend official Court functions in her role as a Maid of Honour.

After the Revolution, the Hoyningen-Huene family fled to first London and later Paris.  Baroness Elizabeth became a fashion designer, using the name 'Mme Yteb'.  Her second husband, Lt. Col. Charles Norman Buzzard, was a British Army officer.  Her younger brother George Hoyningen-Huene was the celebrated Hollywood and fashion photographer.

For further information on Maids of Honour and their role, please see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System, 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, pp. 31-45.  Sotheby's is grateful to Dr Tillander-Godenhielm for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.