1910 Colonnade Egg

Gift Nicholas II to Alexandra Feodorovna
Made in Saint Petersburg
Owner: HM Queen Elizabeth II, England
Height: 28,6 cm

1910 Colonnade Egg

The 1910 Colonnade Egg is made of bowenite, quatre-couleur gold, rose-cut diamonds, silver-gilt, platinum, pale pink and white enamel.

Designed as a temple of love, this clock egg commemorates the birth of the long awaited heir to the throne, Alexei, in 1904. A silver-gilt cupid, a representation of the tsarevich, surmounts the gold Egg, which is enameled in opalescent pale pink and is encircled by a broad band of a white enameled dial, set with rose-cut diamond numerals. The little gold cupid originally had a twig in his hands that pointed the the our. Four silver-gilt figures, representing the Tsar's four daughters, are seated around the base and are linked by floral swags in quatre-couleur gold. Two platinum doves are perched within the circle of the columns.

1910 Colonnade Egg top 1910 Colonnade Egg Detail

Background information

There has been confusion for a long time, over whether the Colonnade Egg was the companion piece for the 1907 Love Trophies Egg, as both Eggs were thought to celebrate the birth of the heir. Recent research however indicates that this Egg was presented to Alexandra in 1910.

The Colonnade Egg demonstrates how important the birth of the Tsarevich was to the Romanov Dynasty. After the dead of his mother, Catherine the Great, Tsar Paul I decreed that women could no longer inherit the throne. Had the Imperial couple failed in having a son, Nicholas' younger brother Michael would have become Tsar.

In 1927 the Egg was one of the nine sold by the Antikvariat to Emanuel Snowman of Wartski in London. In 1929 sold to Queen Mary, UK. 1953 inherited by Queen Elizabeth II.

Egg case

The 1910 Colonnade Egg: A Possible Source Is Proposed - by Geoffrey Munn

See for the above article, the Fabergé Research Newsletter, Summer 2013.

The 1910 Colonnade Egg: A Possible Source Is Proposed
by Geoffrey Munn

1910 Colonnade Egg by Fabergé (Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2013) 1910 Colonnade Egg by Fabergé (Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2013)

(Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2013)

Firmly based on Classical sources the French 18th century style of decoration was considered safe even by the most hesitant of patrons and collectors. In the 19th century it came to be called the “Louis-Style” and was extremely fashionable throughout Europe until well into the 1920s. Certainly authentic works of art were preferred, but these were comparatively rare and consequently enthusiasts were obliged to make do with pastiches in which the Louis-Style was revived in every aspect of art and decoration. What had begun as the faintest flickering pulse developed into a vigorous heartbeat, heard across Europe, Russia, and even as far away as America. The trend was neatly described by the art historian John Hayward in his review of the Fabergé exhibition at Wartski in 1949: “The period of Fabergé’s workshops from about 1880 to 1917 was marked by a strong interest in defunct decorative styles … If Neo-Gothic was dead, second Rococo, revived Renaissance and Neo-neo-Classicism were very fashionable.”


The 1910 Colonnade Egg - another possible inspiration by Peter Koppers

In December 2011 Peter Koppers from The Netherlands visited The Château de Malmaison near Paris, formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, first wife of Napoleon I, and thus the first Empress of the French. In the palace Peter noticed a clock he thought could well have served as inspiration to Fabergé. Below right, another clock in the same style.

Clock Malmaison PK
Christies Clock
Château de Malmaison Clock and ... © Photos Peter Koppers

Another late 18th century Louis XVI "Pendule a Cercles Tournants" made in Paris was sold at Christies in 2006. (Courtesy Christies)




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Page updated: June 24, 2018