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Messages - Bolin

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Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Question about Faberge badge
« on: April 17, 2006, 07:50:14 PM »
The picture is wonderful. Who is the young boy seated?
Do you collect only Russian pre-revolutionary badges?

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Question about Faberge badge
« on: April 17, 2006, 07:10:33 AM »
Alex, yes I did see the exhibition and have a copy of the catalog with the badge illustrated. The illustration is just of the front half. I cannot scan it for you but will give you a copy of the description:
"753 ENAMELED SILVER COMMEMORATIVE BADGE shaped as a Maltese cross with central cipher of Tsar Nicholas II on green guilloche enamel ground, inscribed and dated "Commemorating the 50th Avviversary of the Land Reform 19 February 1861-29,March 1911, 1906 - signed Faberge, initials of workmaster Alfred Thielmann, 1908-1917, height 2 1/8 inches (5.4cm)
Bibliography: S.B. Patrikyeev & A.D. Boynovich, "Badges of Russia". Farn Moscow/St. Petersburg 1995 p. 332, no.12.6 (another example). Private Collection"

As I said Thielmann specialized in small pieces of jewelry (tie pins, miniature eggs, small brooches, etc.) and badges. Perhaps the making of these specific badges was an Imperial commission? The Faberge firm could have been contracted to make all of the badges. Or, the situation could have been that an individual who was awarded the badge wanted a little finer one and commissioned the Faberge shop to make one? If you say that this badge is rare, do you know about how many were awarded? If it were a small number then the Faberge firm could have been awarded the commission to make these. If there were 500 or 1,000 produced I doubt if the Faberge firm would have been awarded the commission as the cost would have been prohibitive to the Imperial Court and the Court would have awarded the commission to a silver workshop that did this type of work more frequently and on a larger scale. Faberge produced this kind of thing in smaller numbers with high quality materials and hence the price would be higher.
It is quite a treasure.

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Question about Faberge badge
« on: April 16, 2006, 03:46:23 PM »
A. Thielmann was known to specialize in badges and jetons at the Faberge firm. Are you aware that this very badge was part of the exhibit FABERGE -IMPERIAL CRAFTSMAN AND HIS WORLD back in the year 2000 in Wilmington, Delaware? It is Catalog #753. I am assuming it is the same badge though there were probably several copies made by Thielmann. I find it strange that whoever sold you this did not mention that it or one exactly like it had been displayed at this exhibition and illustrated in the accompanying catalog.

Thank you for this information. I did not give the correct name for the director of the Hermitage. It should have been Alexander Aleksandrovich. Who did Serge Hilarion marry?

Yes, please give us more details of the Vassiltchikov family. I have read the memories you cite but am confused about how they were related to Ekaterina Petrovna Vassiltchikova, a maid of honor of Alexandra Feodorovna circa 1895 and to the director of the Hermitage Prince Alexander V, from 1879-1888.

I just received my copy this afternoon. It is quite impressive. It appears exhaustive on the ranks within the imperial society and the types of awards given to russians and foreigners. There is a great deal of information on the court and its members and even the salaries they received. I have only been able to look through it for an hour or so but I am very impressed and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Imperial Russia at the time of the last tsar. There are many images and photos as well. There are very detailed footnotes.

Yes, I agree that the 10,000 rubles a month spent on clothing seems exaggerated but that would be $5,000 U.S. per month or $60,000 per annum in 1910. The equivalent sum in 2005 currency would be the amount AlexP mentioned of over $1,200,000 per annum.
Perhaps this was the amount spent for Alexandra and her 4 daughters' wardrobes?

The Imperial Family / Re: Imp. Family/Romanov's Family's Pets Links List
« on: August 12, 2005, 08:42:21 AM »
No one has discussed the fact that Nicholas had a pet parrot named Popov that he inherited from his father.
I thought I saw a picture of a parrot in a cage next to some stone steps leading to the terrace at the Lower dacha at Peterhof,
Does anyone have any information on this parrot or photos?

Alex, I have so enjoyed this discussion and appreciate your insights into why the style Louis XVI became the preferred style among the aristocracy and court.
It is interesting to note that Faberge produced many objects in the LouisXV style in the 1890's but then abandoned this style for Louis XVI and Empire from about 1900. He also experimented with Art Nouveau (no doubt to please Alexandra). However the bulk of his productions bear the Empire and Louis XVI style and Alexandra did purchase (and receive as gifts) objects in these styles. Her decor seemed very eclectic - Arts & Crafts, Empire, Louis XVI, Art Nouveau.
I want to know about the stuffed parrot you mentioned.
I had not heard of this before. I do know that Nicholas (according to this web site about his bathroom) kept a parrot named Popov in his bathroom that he inherited from his father. I seem to recall that his aunt Alexandra of England also kept parrots. No one has mentioned the parrots on the thread discussing the Imperial family's pets.

The Alexander Palace / Re: THE WORKING STUDY
« on: July 29, 2005, 07:29:21 AM »
Yes, I think you are correct concerning the storage of official gifts at the Winter Palace. Alexandra even kept most of her Faberge eggs made prior to 1905 at the Winter Palace. Of course, the family never really lived there again except staying perhaps a night or so. From what I have read I suspect that they never stayed there again. I recall that at the time of the declaration of war against Germany Nicholas and the family came to the Winter Palace from Peterhof and returned the same day.

Speaking of the auction houses, it appears that they do place higher valuations on items with an Imperial provenance that are by famous or more noteworthy makers so that Faberge items have a higher evaluation than items by Britzin or Imperial Porcelain is more significant than Kornilov even if the latter were also owned by the Imperial family.
However, auction houses do not always estimate the prices higher when they know there is an imperial provenance. They just expect that the realized price will be much higher - usually 5-10 times higher than the estimate.

The Alexander Palace / Re: THE WORKING STUDY
« on: July 28, 2005, 06:48:04 AM »
I would agree with Londo954 that Imperial Provenance should refer to items that the family used themselves or lived with in their various residences.

The Alexander Palace / Re: THE WORKING STUDY
« on: July 26, 2005, 11:07:11 PM »
I now ntoice that some of this discussion was posted under Imperial Russian Antiques - Romanov Items in Musems. However, there was mistaken mention that these items discussed above were in the Richmond Museum. The frames above and the barometer are in the Cleveland Museum. There are items in the Richmond Museum that originally came from the Alexander Palace as well. Both Lillian Thomas Pratt and Mrs. Minshall purchased Faberge items from the Hammers at about the same time.  

The Alexander Palace / Re: THE WORKING STUDY
« on: July 26, 2005, 10:44:46 PM »
It works the other way as well. There are a number of items that we know were purchased by the Imperial family but did not stay with them in their palaces, instead being given as gifts to family, friends, courtiers, servants and heads of state.
Yes, it is difficult to say what has Imperial provenance unless there is supporting documentation.
The items on the Tsar's desk or on the tables of the Mauve Boudoir could have been purchased by the couple themselves or been gifts from family or friends. We will never be sure unless the item turns up in the lists of invoices kept by the Imperial Cabinet.
Did you see the red enamelled frame on the Wartski web site that is documented as being purchased by Nicholas and Alexandra? yes, they have discovered that piece of information but was this frame kept by them or given away as a gift?

The Alexander Palace / Re: THE WORKING STUDY
« on: July 26, 2005, 09:48:49 PM »
Yes, I agree with you. I have always thought that the barometer by Aarne from the India Early Minshall Collection now in the Cleveland Museum of Art was formerly in the Tsar's study at the Alexander palace. It appears to be the same piece though it has lost some of its ornamentation that hung between the swags.
The Minshall collection contains a number of Faberge pieces that were described as being from the Alexander Palace by the Hammers from whom she purchased these items. The most noteworthy are the pair of bowenite and gold frames (catalog #83 from Faberge in America) that I once saw in a photo taken of the Mauve Room. Another proof that they belonged to Alexandra can be found in the photos taken of the Faberge exhibit at the von Devrise mansion in St. Petersburg in March 1902 of Faberge items belonging to Alexandra and Maria Feodorovna and other members of the Imperial family. Many Faberge and other Russian items sold by the Hammers and the Schaffers came with documents explaining or certifying their Imperial Provenance and even noting the palace and rooms from which they came. Until recently Faberge scholars scoffed at these attributions but they now appear quite correct after seeing evidence in old photos and inventory lists.
I cannot tell for sure but I think I spot on Nicholas' desk a silver photo frame by Faberge workmaster Nevalainen depicting a photo of Alexandra seated in a tall "gothic" style chair signed and dated 1901. If you have the Faberge exhibition catalog entitled Faberge-Imperial Jeweler by von Habsburg and Lopanto you will see a better picture of it (catalog #40). It is described as being from the Alexander Palace and now is stored at Pavlovsk. I think there is more to uncover regarding these objects. I wish someone would do more research and write it up.  

Imperial Russian Antiques / Re: Ivan Savelevich Britzin
« on: March 19, 2005, 12:14:43 PM »
I do not know of a specific monograph or article on Britzin. He is often mentioned and discussed in the mongraphs/catalogues on Faberge. Some scholars think he worked for Faberge at one time before 1903.
He was born in the Moscow provence of peasant stock in 1870 and made his way to St. Petersburg where he apprenticed to be a goldsmith (perhaps at the Faberge firm). He opened his own workshop circa 1903 and was active until the revolution of 1917. He supplied objects in the Faberge style to an English firm in London - Noble & Co. and to the Marshak firm in Kiev. After the revolution he worked in several jewelers'artels and died in Russia in 1952. He produced many cigarette cases, picture frames, clocks and bellpushes in the Faberge style. His work is of very high quality and until recently most of his work was reasonably priced at auctions and antique shops but the prices are increasing due to the rise in Faberge prices,etc.

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