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.