Duchess of Marlborough Egg
|Duchess of Marlborough Fabergé egg|
|Customer||Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough|
|Individual or institution||Viktor Vekselberg|
|Year of acquisition||2004|
|Design and materials|
The Duchess of Marlborough egg (also known as the Pink Serpent egg) is a jewelled enameled Easter egg made by Michael Perchin under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1902.
The Duchess of Marlborough egg is the only large Fabergé egg to have been commissioned by an American, and is inspired by a Louis XVI clock with a revolving dial. It is similar to the earlier imperial Blue Serpent Clock egg.
The egg was made for Consuelo Vanderbilt, who became the Duchess of Marlborough when she married Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1895.
In 1902 the Duchess and her husband travelled to Russia, where they dined with Nicholas II of Russia, and visited his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna at the Anichkov Palace. During this visit the Duchess would have almost certainly seen the Dowager Empress' large collection of Fabergé, which perhaps inspired her to order this egg.
After her divorce from the Duke of Marlborough, Vanderbilt donated the Duchess of Marlborough egg to a charity auction in 1926. The egg was bought by Ganna Walska, the second wife of Harold Fowler McCormick, chairman of the International Harvester Company of Chicago. At the 1965 Parke-Bernet auction of her property, it was bought by Malcolm Forbes. It was the first of several Fabergé Easter eggs that Forbes purchased.
In 2004 it was sold as part of Forbes Collection to Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg purchased some nine Imperial eggs, as part of the collection, for almost $100 million. The egg is now housed in the Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- A detailed article on the 'Duchess of Marlborough' egg, from treasuresofimperialrussia.com