Of all of the creations of the House of Fabergé none possesses the mystique attached to the Imperial Easter Eggs. Their centrality to Fabergé’s entire oeuvre is so dominant that one immediately thinks of these eggs first whenever the name of Fabergé is mentioned. In order to place these eggs in context, it is worth recalling that the egg was anciently imbued with overtones of resurrection, later a suitable symbol for Christian Easter. The practice of distributing eggs as reminder’s of Christ’s resurrection began in the Middle Ages, and developed in Russia where the traditional gift of an egg at Easter was accompanied by the recipient receiving three kisses. In Russia, such Easter eggs may be lavishly decorated, as examples of pysanky, the art of beautifully dyed Ukrainian Easter eggs, reveal. The practice of presenting actual Easter eggs, therefore, was an established tradition in Russia, bu Fabergé perfected the concept of creating bejeweled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial family when he created the very first for Tsar Alexander III to present to his wife, the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, as a gift on Easter 1885.
The House of Fabergé created an entire line of Easter eggs for clients and patrons other than the Russian Imperial family. This particular example is a reflection of those creations. The enameled silver is designed as a profusion of floral elements arranged in a symmetrical design which conforms to the shape of the egg and emphasizes both its vertical and medial axis. These forms are studded with aquamarines and garnets, while the egg itself is supported by three dolphins.
Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi
Robert Steven Bianchi, Fabergé. Exhibition Album (St. Petersburg 2000), pages 18-21, passim, for a succinct discussion about Fabergé and these Imperial Easter eggs, some of which are show-cased elsewhere in this book. For other examples of Fabergé’s non-imperial Easter eggs, see Geza Von Habsburg, Alexander von Solodkoff, and Robert Steven Bianchi, Fabergé. Imperial Craftsman and his World (London 2000), pages 157, catalogue number 309, page 160, catalogue number 311, passim.