Neo-Gothic Alexander and Barbara Kelch’s silver service

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View of the Kelch silverware. Fabergé Exposition in Petersburg. Photo 1902.
Part of the Kelch silverware. High epergne. Photo 1900.
Part of the Kelch silverware. Candlestick. Photo 1900.
Kelch silverware. Crown-topped shield with a monogram in the form of the letter 'K'.

The Neo-Gothic Alexander and Barbara Kelch’s silver service – one of the most famous and admired silver service made by Peter Carl Fabergé in 1900. The silverware was commissioned by Alexander and Barbara Kelch (Russian:Кельх, Kelkh). It was the most expensive work ever created in Fabergé’s workshop. Peter Carl Fabergé considered it as the most important silver masterpiece ever executed in his workshop.[1]

Kelch’s silverware was melted down in 1918, after the October Revolution. For 100 years experts for Fabergé had claimed that the tableware was completely destroyed.[2] In 2017 it turned out that the parts of the silver service had survived. They have been discovered in Poland.[1]

History[edit]

The idea of creating the representative silver tableware in the neo-Gothic style was born in 1898 and was associated with the construction of the Kelch mansion in Saint Petersburg and arranging the neo-Gothic dining room. The silver service was supposed to match the decor of the dining room with its style and decoration, what was Barbara’s idea.[2]

The tableware was designed in 1900 by distinguished Russian architect Fedor Shekhtel who cooperated with Fabergé. The tableware was made in 1900 in a Moscow branch of Fabergé's company. Alexander Kelch paid the astounding sum of 125,000 rubles [2] for the tableware. The price Alexander Kelch paid for the tableware makes it the most expensive Fabergé work that was ever made.

Parts of the Kelch’s tableware were presented on charity exhibition of Fabergé works organized in 1902 in Saint Petersburg in Baron Paul von Dervies' mansion. This was one and only exhibition of Fabergé works organized in the period of his activity. The exhibition presented Fabergé works belonging to Empresses Maria Feodorovna and Alexandra Feodorovna and family members of the House of Romanov and representatives of the aristocracy.[3] The Kelch’s silver service was the only work shown at this exhibition which didn't belong to the aristocrats, but to the family of rich industrialists.

Unitil 1905 Kelch’s silver tableware was in the Kelch mansion in Saint Petersburg. In that year, as a result of Alexander and Barbara separation, the tableware was transported to the Bazanov’s palace in Moscow.[1] After the October Revolution in 1918 the Kelch’s silver service was confiscated and melted down. For 100 years, until 2017 it was considered as completely destroyed, as no parts of the service were in any Fabergé collection. In January 2017 parts of the neo-Gothic Kelch’s tableware parts of the silver service had survived. They have been discovered in Poland.[1]

Description[edit]

The Aleksander and Barbara Kelch's representative tableware was made in the neo-Gothic style. The style of silver service referred to the style and the décor of the dining room in Kelch mansion in Saint Petersburg.[2] The decoration and ornaments used by Fabergé are coming from the English and German Gothic style.

Characteristic decorative motives of the tableware are stylized Gothic architecture, plant ornaments, dragons, griffins, lizards, snakes and other Gothic creatures, heraldic lilly, crown-topped shield with a monogram in the form of the letter 'K'.[1]

The tableware consisted of many dishes and objects, like: sortout de table, two seven-lamp candlesticks, two high tureens, tureens to soup with lids, platters, bowls, plates, sauce boats, trays, cabarets, cutlery, salt cellars and other.[4]

The medieval dragons were the main motive decorating the tableware, therefore the Kelch’s tableware sometimes is being called the "Fabergé dragon tableware". Crown-topped shield with a monogram in the form of the letter 'K' is also important motive decorating the objects belonging to the Kelch’s tableware.[4] On the elements of the tableware were applied Fabergé hallmark and the court jeweler hallmark.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Fabergé silver service commissioned by Alexander & Barbara Kelch. 2017-08-20
  2. ^ a b c d G. Habsburg, „Fabergé. Treasure of Imperial Russia", Petersburg 2004, s. 294 i 318.
  3. ^ A. Szymański, „Fabergé. Historia i arcydzieła", Opole 2014, s. 73-74.
  4. ^ a b T. Fabergé, „Fabergé. A comprehensive reference book", Genewa 2012, s. 466-471.

Works cited[edit]

  • Adam Szymański (2014). Fabergé. Historia i arcydzieła. Opole: Metropolisart.
  • Géza von Habsburg (2004). Fabergé Treasures of Imperial Russia. Petersburg: Link of Times Foundation.
  • Tatiana Fabergé (2012). Fabergé. A comprehensive reference book. Genewa: Editions Slatkine.

External links[edit]