Tsarevich (Fabergé egg)
|The Tsarevich Fabergé egg|
|Year of acquisition||1947|
|Design and materials|
|Materials used||Lapis Lazuli, gold, diamond|
|Surprise||Russian double-headed Imperial eagle with portrait of the Czarevich Alexis|
The Tsarevich Egg is a Fabergé egg, one in a series of fifty-two jewelled eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé. It was created in 1912 for Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna as a tribute by Faberge to her son the Tsarevich Alexis (Alexei). The egg currently resides in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The egg is about five and three-quarters inches tall on its stand, with a diameter of four inches. The outer shell is blue lapis lazuli, with architectural, Louis XV-style gold cagework in a design of leafy scrolls. The gold motifs cover each joint, making the egg look as if it was carved from a single block of lapis. The goldwork includes two Imperial double-headed eagles, as well as cupids, canopies, floral scrolls, flower baskets and garlands. Two large diamonds, one at top and one at bottom, are encrusted into the egg's surface, showing the initials of Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna, the year 1912 and the Imperial crown. The location of the original stand is unknown, however it is thought to have not made it out of Russia when purchased by antiques dealer Armand Hammer.
The "surprise" inside is a Russian double-headed Imperial eagle with a miniature portrait of the Czarevich Alexis, set in platinum and encrusted with diamonds. The Imperial eagle holds the orb and sceptre representative of the Romanov crown jewels. The intricate frame sits on a lapis lazuli base and can be completely removed from inside the egg. The portrait portrays Alexei in his sailor suit, a favorite of the Tsarevich's. The original double-sided watercolor miniature portrait has suffered damage and is still in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The current portrait on display is an archival photograph. Inside the egg, an engraved golden disc with a rose window design serves as a platform for the portrait frame.
Fabergé created the egg as a tribute to (Tsarevich) Alexei. Unknown to all but the royal family, Alexei was expected to die of hemophilia and was at one point so close to death that the Russian Imperial Court had already drawn up his death certificate. When Alexei survived, Fabergé, who knew of the Czarevich's health, created the egg for Alexei's mother Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna as a tribute to the miracle of his survival.
Subsequent owners included antiques-dealer Armand Hammer who moved from Paris to New York in the early 1930s. Philanthropist Lillian Thomas Pratt of Fredericksburg, Virginia (1876–1947) purchased the egg in New York from Hammer in 1933-34. The egg was bequest to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia, in 1947, where it remains on permanent view.
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- Mieks (2007-09-09). "1912 Tsarevich Egg". Mieks Fabergé Eggs. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2007-12-29.