Author Topic: Kelch-family  (Read 9591 times)

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Offline yussupov29

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Kelch-family
« on: February 02, 2009, 12:35:40 PM »

Hi,

I'm looking for information and pics on/of the Kelch-family from St. Petersburg.

I just know they were a wealthy, noble (?) family and that Alexnder F. Kelch ordered some precious Faberge-eggs for his wife Barbara.

Thank you!

yussupow29



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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 03:46:21 PM »
From the catalogue of the exhibit "Faberge - Treasures of Imperial Russia":

Varvara (Barbara) Petrovna Bazanova came from a very affluent family of Muscovite merchants. Her grandfather, Ivan Bazanov, founded a number of major businesses in Siberia, including a gold mine, a railway and a shipping company, of which he was majority shareholder together with two partners, Yakov Nemchinov and Mikhail Sibiriakov. At her father's death, Varvara and her mother, Julia, inherited the family fortune and founded a new company together with Konstantin Sibiriakov. Varvara married Nikolai Ferdinandovich Kelch, son of a St. Petersburg hereditary nobleman, in 1892; he died two years later, but not before contributing 250,000 rubles of his wife's money to a hospital in Irkutsk. As was often the case in Russia, Nikolai's brother, Alexander,married the rich young widow that same year, in what was probably a marriage of convenience, as the prenuptial agreement apparently left everything in her own name. They had two daughters: one died aged 16, the other married a diplomat and was posted to Japan.While Alexander followed a military career in St. Petersburg, living at 53 Bolshaya Morskaya, Varvara resided at 60 Mokhovaia in Moscow.

In 1896 the Kelchs acquired a mansion in St. Petersburg at 28 Sergeievskaia for 300,000 rubles and redecorated the dining room with dark oak paneling in the Neo-Gothic style (p. 294). The architect Carl Schmid, a cousin of Fabergé, assisted the Kelchs with the remodeling. In 1898, when the refurbishment was complete, Varvara moved into their St. Petersburg home. Around 1900 the couple ordered for their mansion a massive surtout de table in the Neo-Gothic style from Fabergé for the astronomic sum of 125,000 rubles. 2 In 1900 Varvara and Alexander both finally lived under the same roof. In 1901 Alexander Kelch retired from the army and was named President of the various Bazanov businesses. Varvara was involved with social activities and charities such as the All Russia Red Cross Ladies Committee and the Imperial Musical Society, of which the two Empresses were patrons. It was probably as benefactress of the Imperial Women's Patriotic Society Schools, the beneficiaries of the Fabergé Exhibition held in 1902 at the von Dervis Mansion on the English Embankment, that Vavara lent her Fabergé silver surtout . The exhibition, the first and only one dedicated to Fabergé in Russia, was held under the patronage of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and a bevy of Grand Dukes and Duchesses and realized a profit of 3,000 rubles for the schools. Albeit not mentioned in the list of loans published in the newspapers at the time (all other lenders belonged to the St. Petersburg haute societé ), the Kelch centerpiece is clearly shown prominently displayed on a table (see ill. p. 319) in the commemorative photographs, and under magnification the initial “K” engraved on the tableware is also apparent. The same service was displayed in their oak-panelled dining room (see ill. opposite).

Every year from 1898 until 1904 Alexander Kelch ordered an Easter egg from Fabergé, modeled on the Imperial series, as a present for his wife, who no doubt also paid for them. No doubt, too, that the Kelch eggs cost them considerably more than those made for the Imperial family, given the parsimony of the Romanovs and the generosity of the nouveaux riches. The seven Kelch eggs are as fine, if not even more sumptuous, than those in the Imperial series.

The first egg to have been commissioned in 1898 by Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch for his wife Varvara (or Barbara) appears to have been a Hen Egg. Its donor and recipient are certain, but its date may be questionable, as it bears the hallmark introduced in St. Petersburg in 1899. With its diamond-set rim and frame, its two table-cut diamonds and its larger size (3 12 inches compared to 2 12 inches), the Kelch Hen Egg is an enhanced version of the Imperial Hen Egg of 1885. Indeed, all Kelch eggs are on a larger scale than the Imperial eggs. When sold to Malcolm Forbes, the egg was believed to have belonged to the Imperial series due both to the portrait of Tsar Nicholas II shown under one of the portrait diamonds and to the framed portrait of the Tsarevich on an easel, which was the surprise within the hen. Research revealed, however, that the portrait of Nicholas II had replaced the original recipient's monogram (BK) and that his son's portrait had replaced that of Barbara Kelch. 3

This Hen Egg was first identified as a Kelch egg soon after 1920, when it was acquired by Léon Grinberg of A La Vieille Russie from the jeweler Morgan of rue de la Paix, together with five other eggs with the same provenance. This information, together with a documentary photograph, was published in 1979. 4 The photograph shows two views of the present egg. Originally Grinberg thought it to be part of a group of Imperial eggs. “Morgan himself,” Grinberg attested, “did not know to whom these eggs originally belonged. Judging from the exceptional richness, they must be imperial Easter presents. We think they were presented by the Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich to the ballet dancer Mrs. Balletta”; however, Grinberg later added in a pencil note: “Alexander Fabergé [Carl's third son] told us that these eggs were made for a very rich industrialist as presents for his wife Barbara. Eggs of such richness were only made for K[elch] or the Court.”

As of 1904, the Bazanov businesses continued to prosper, and in that year the family formed the Promyshlennosty Company with Alexander, of course, as its President. The Kelchs also purchased a second home in 1904 at 13 Glinka Street in St. Petersburg. However, the disastrous Russo-Japanese War brought about the demise of the Bazanov business empire. One after the other the businesses and the mansions were sold off.

The Kelchs were legally separated in 1905, but as the Boucheron photographic archives show, Barbara continued to make major acquisitions of jewelry, totaling 70,000 rubles in 1906-07 alone, including an elegant emerald and diamond demi-parure and a diamond fringe necklace in 1906, a ruby and diamond lavallière in 1907 and three brooches and a fine diamond tiara in 1912. 6 Barbara moved to Paris with all her belongings, and the couple divorced in 1915. Alexander remained in Russia and remarried, but he did not fare well, eventually becoming a pauper and working as a street vendor after the Revolution, although Barbara had invited him to move to Paris. In 1930 Alexander was arrested and disappeared in Siberia along with millions of Russians during the Stalinist purges.

Offline yussupov29

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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 04:28:54 PM »


That's a lot of information! Thank you very much!

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 08:18:08 AM »
Hi,

Great information on this family.  Thank you....

I have seen pictures of the Kelch egg collection - do we know whatever became of these eggs?  They did appear to be larger than the Imperial ones!!  Perhaps a case of 'one-ups-manship'....  Indirectly thumbing their noses at the Romanovs???

Larry

Offline yussupov29

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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 04:36:48 PM »


As far as I know some of the eggs - like the Kelch hen egg and the Kelch Chanticleer egg - belong to The Link of Times Foundation, Moscow.
They were shown at a Faberge exhibition in Berlin a few years ago.

Is there any further information on Vavra (barbara) Kelch and her time in Paris? Did she remarry? Any descendents, etc.?

Offline ashdean

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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 12:26:12 PM »
One of the Kelch Eggs ended up in the British Royal collection...bought (like 3 Imperial Eggs) by Queen Mary.

Offline Marc

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Re: Kelch-family
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 04:19:07 AM »
There is also one Christina Kelch who was a grandmother of Fürst Fabian von der Osten-Sacken...