Peacock (Fabergé egg)
|Peacock Fabergé egg|
|Customer||Tsar Nicholas II, as a gift for Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna|
|Individual or institution||Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation, Switzerland|
|Year of acquisition||1955|
|Design and materials|
|Materials used||Gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, rock crystal|
|Height||190 millimetres (7.5 in)|
|Width||165 millimetres (6.5 in)|
|Surprise||Mechanical gold and enameled peacock|
The Peacock egg is a jewel and rock crystal Easter egg made by Dorofeiev under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1908, for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented the egg to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908.
The transparent egg is composed of rock crystal and gilt silver wire, and is quite simple in style. The genius of the egg lay in its surprise. The egg is held together by a clasp at the top, and when opened, falls into two halves, each with a rococo style mount.
Inside the egg sits a small 110 millimetres (4.3 in) long mechanical gold and enameled peacock in the branches of an engraved gold tree with flowers made of enamel and precious stones. The peacock can be lifted from within the tree and wound up. Placed on a flat surface, it struts around, moving its head and spreads and closes his enamel tail.
Dorofeiev, the Fabergé workmaster, reportedly worked on the peacock and its prototypes for three years.
The 'Peacock egg' was inspired by the 18th century Peacock clock by James Cox. It was housed first in the Winter Palace, and now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Peacock clock was a present from Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin to Catherine the Great.
In 1927 the Peacock egg was sold with nine other Imperial eggs by the Antikvariat to Emanuel Snowman of Wartski in London. Bought by a Mr. Hirst in 1935, it was sold to Dr. Maurice Sandoz of Switzerland in 1949, and donated to his Foundation Edouard et Maurice Sandoz, Lausanne, Switzerland in 1955. Since its purchase by Sandoz, it has only been seen publicly six times, the last time in 2009.