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GRAND DUKE VLADIMIR ALEXANDROVICH

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich: An Imperial portrait diamond pendant, probably Fabergé, St Petersburg, circa 1899
JUMP TO LOT
78

GRAND DUKE VLADIMIR ALEXANDROVICH

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich: An Imperial portrait diamond pendant, probably Fabergé, St Petersburg, circa 1899
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich: An Imperial portrait diamond pendant, probably Fabergé, St Petersburg, circa 1899
centred with a miniature of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich wearing the uniform of the Life Guards Dragoon Regiment and the sash of the Order of St Andrew, below a table diamond within a border of rose-cut diamonds, the pierced frame of diamond-set entwining bands, suspending from an Imperial crown, gadrooned gold reverse, chain link necklace, apparently unmarked
56 x 37 mm including crown
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Provenance

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909), by whom probably given to his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1854-1920), on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary in 1899

Christie's Geneva, 15 November 2007, lot 266

Property from a Private American Collection of Historic Jewels

Literature

Diana Scarisbrick, Portrait Jewels: Opulence and Intimacy from the Medici to the Romanovs, London, 2011, fig. 351, p. 340

Catalogue Note

Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich was the third son of Emperor Alexander II, the brother of Alexander III, and the uncle of Nicholas II.  During his nephew’s reign, he was the senior Romanov Grand Duke and exerted considerable influence on him.  He and his wife Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, born Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, presided over a glittering court at the Vladimir Palace on the Neva River in St Petersburg.  They were great patrons of the arts and keen collectors of precious objects, buying prodigiously from Cartier and Fabergé among others.  A previously unknown trove of their belongings, mostly cigarette cases and cufflinks, was discovered in 2009 and sold at Sotheby’s London on 30 November 2009.

The Sotheby’s group of objects confirmed that the Imperial couple often celebrated their wedding anniversary on 16 August with the giving of lavish gifts commissioned from Fabergé.  Given the Romanov tradition of giving portrait diamonds to one’s nearest and dearest, it is suggested here that the present lot may have been a gift from the Grand Duke to his wife at the time of their 25th wedding anniversary in 1899.  An attribution to Fabergé is supported by the Duke’s patronage of the firm; it was he who orchestrated the commissioning of The Hen Egg, the first Imperial Fabergé Easter egg purchased by Alexander III in 1885.  Fabergé’s workmasters were skilled in the use of portrait diamonds, which were sometimes incorporated in the decoration of the famous Imperial eggs, including the 1893 Caucasus Egg (over a portrait of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich) and the 1895 Rosebud Egg (a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II).  Additionally, table diamonds cover cyphers or dates on the 1897 Coronation Egg, the 1900 Cockerel Egg, the 1906 Swan Egg, the 1907 Rose Trellis Egg, the 1908 Alexander Palace Egg, the 1911 Fifteenth Anniversary Egg, the 1912 Napoleonic Egg, the 1912 Tsarevich Egg, the 1913 Romanov Tercentenary Egg, the 1914 Grisaille Egg, and the 1898 Kelch Hen Egg (K. Kettering, “Fabergé and the Romanov Portrait Diamonds”, Reports of the International Academic Conference: 170th Anniversary of the Birth of Carl Fabergé, Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, October 7, 2016, ed. Mikhail Ovchinnikov, forthcoming in 2018).

Treasures

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