Rose Trellis | 1907


A foliage of emerald green leaves and pink enamel roses encircle the Imperial Egg known as the Rose Trellis.  A lattice of rose-cut diamonds was crafted by Henrik Wigstrom over the translucent pale green enameled surface of the egg. A portrait diamond is situated both at the bottom and top of the egg. The base was inscribed with the year “1907”, while  the royal monogram was positioned at the top but unfortunately is no longer visible.

Alexandria Feodorovna received the Rose Trellis on the Easter of 1907, as a gift from her husband, Tsar Nichalos II. The work for the Rose Trellis was delayed due to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.  Production was halted due to the circumstances. For this reason, the egg commemorates the birth of the Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich in 1904. The egg once contained a surprise which is currently lost; a diamond necklace and an ivory miniature portrait framed in diamonds of  Alexei Nicholaievich.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.




Swan | 1906

1906swanegg 2


On the Easter of 1906, Tsar Nichalos II presented his mother, the Russian Empress Maria Feodrovna, with a mauve enamel egg, jeweled with a ribbon trellis of rose-cut diamonds with four-looped bows at each intersection. On the top, a portrait diamond inscribed with “1906” will be found, while another portrait diamond with the imperial monograph is situated at the very bottom.

Within the egg lies an automaton in the form of a silver-plated golden swan on a lake of aquamarine. Varicolored golden water lilies are incorporated into the lake, as well as into the design of the handle. In Russia, the swan is symbolic of the unbreakable bond of marriage. For this reason, it was selected as a motif  that would commemorate  the fortieth wedding anniversary of the empress.Winding a gear beneath the wings causes movement in both the wings and neck.

The inspiration for this design stemmed from  James Cox’s Silver Swan, which Fabergé likely viewed during  the Paris Exposition Internationale Universelle of 1867. Currently, the Silver Swan may be viewed at the  Bowes Museum of Barnard Castle, County Durham, England. Below, a video has been provided as a demonstration of the automation the Silver Swan is famous for.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.



Moscow Kremlin | 1906


On the Easter of 1906, Nichalos II presented his wife Tsarina Alexandra Feodrovna with the largest Faberge egg; the Moscow Kremlin. Two particular structures of the Moscow Kremlin served as the inspiration for this decorative work. The white opalescent ovoid surmounted by a golden cupola mimics features of the Assumption Cathedral, also known as the Dormition Cathedral and the Uspensky Cathedral. As well, a miniature model of the Spasskaya Tower is incorporated into the design as a means of support for the ovoid. The ovoid is removable and a close up look through its windows reveals the intricate details of its interior, including carpets, a high altar and religious icons. The remake of the Spasskaya Tower is remarkably impressive as well, due to its detailed features such as the green enameled turrets, the Kremlin Clock, the Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, and the Coat of Arms of Moscow.


Almost every Imperial Egg contains a surprise; however, the Moscow Kremlin does not contain a visibly noticeable one. Instead, its surprise is one that appeals to the auditory senses. A hidden music box plays two cherubic hymns that are traditionally played during Orthodox Easter celebrations.

The relevance of the Assumption Cathedral lies in the fact that it served as the location where Russian Tsars were crowned, including Nichalos II. The egg commemorates the royal couple’s return to Moscow in 1903. Prior to that time, the couple avoided the capital due to its reminder of the Khodynka Tragedy, which involved the death of over a thousand people during the festivities surrounding the couple’s coronation.

The date 1904 is engraved into the egg in white enamel on a round plate of gold. The egg was meant to be given to the Tsarina that year; however, there was a two year delay due to the Russo-Japanese war, followed by an assassination that took place in the Kremlin of Nichalos’ uncle and brother-in-law, Grand Duke Sergei Alexanderovich.

The Tsarina kept the egg in her Mauve Sitting Room in the Alexander Palace. Currently, it is one among ten of the Imperial Eggs featured as part of the Kremlin Armoury Museum‘s collection.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.



The Bronze Horseman | 1768

The Bronze Horseman Étienne Maurice Falconet.

The Bronze Horseman
Étienne Maurice Falconet.

The Bronze Horseman is the equestrian statue of Peter the Great that was commissioned by Catherine the Great, and sculpted by French artist Étienne Maurice Falconet during the late eighteenth century. It is located at the Senate Square of St. Petersburg; formerly known as Peter’s Square prior to 1925.

The empress’ motivation behind the commission was to demonstrate her loyalty to the Russian monarchy since her roots lied in Germany. She desired to establish a connection between her and her predecessor, Peter the Great. For this reason, she requested that the statue feature the phrase “Catherine the Second to Peter the First, 1872” in both Latin and Russian.

The statue’s pedestal is known as the Thunder Stone. It is the largest stone ever moved by man. Initially, it weighed 1500 tonnes and was carved down to 1250 tonnes.

A miniature version of this equestrian statue is featured within the Fabergé egg gifted to Alexandra Feodrovona in 1903.

The statue was named after a narrative poem from 1833 by acclaimed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The poem discusses  the founding of Saint Petersburg, a romance in the city and much more. I provided an English translation of the poem below for you to have a look at!


On a deserted, wave-swept shore,
He stood – in his mind great thoughts grow –
And gazed afar. The northern river
Sped on its wide course him before;
One humble skiff cut the waves’ silver.
On banks of mosses and wet grass
Black huts were dotted there by chance –
The miserable Finn’s abode;
The wood unknown to the rays
Of the dull sun, by clouds stowed,
Hummed all around. And he thought so:
‘The Swede from here will be frightened;
Here a great city will be wrought
To spite our neighborhood conceited.
From here by Nature we’re destined
To cut a door to Europe wide,
To step with a strong foot by waters.
Here, by the new for them sea-paths,
Ships of all flags will come to us –
And on all seas our great feast opens.’ 

An age passed, and the young stronghold,
The charm and sight of northern nations,
From the woods’ dark and marshes’ cold,
Rose the proud one and precious.
Where once the Finnish fisherman,
Sad stepson of the World, alone,
By low riverbanks’ a sand,
Cast into waters, never known,
His ancient net, now on the place,
Along the full of people banks,
Cluster the tall and graceful masses
Of castles and palaces; and sails
Hasten in throng to the rich quays
From all the lands our planet masters;
The Neva-river’s dressed with rocks;
Bridges hang o’er the waters proud;
Abundantly her isles are covered
With dark-green gardens’ gorgeous locks… 

By the new capital, the younger,
Old Moscow’s eclipsed at once -
Such is eclipsed a queen-dowager
By a new queen when her time comes.
I love you, Peter’s great creation,
I love your view of stern and grace, 
The Neva wave’s regal procession,
The grayish granite – her bank’s dress,
The airy iron-casting fences,
The gentle transparent twilight,
The moonless gleam of your nights restless,
When I so easy read and write
Without a lamp in my room lone,
And seen is each huge buildings’ stone
Of the left streets, and is so bright 
The Admiralty spire’s flight,
And when, not letting the night’s darkness
To reach the golden heaven’s height,
The dawn after the sunset hastens –
And a half-hour’s for the night.
I love your so sever winter’s 
Quite still and fresh air and strong frost, 
The sleighs race on the shores river’s,
The girls – each brighter than a rose,
The gleam and hum of the balls’ dances,
And, on the bachelors’ free feast,
The hissing of the foaming glasses
And the punch’s bluish flaming mist.
I love the warlike animation
Of the play-fields of the god Mars,
And horse-and-footmen priests’ of wars 
So homogeneous attraction,
In their ranks, in the rhythmic moves,
Those flags, victories and rended,
The glitter of those helmets, splendid,
Shot through in military strives.
I love, O capital my fairest,
Your stronghold guns’ thunder and smoke,
In moments when the northern empress
Adds brunches to the regal oak
Or Russia lauds a winning stroke
To any new and daring foe,
Or, breaking up the light-blue ice,
The Neva streams it and exults,
Scenting the end of cold and snow.

City of Peter, just you shine
And stand unshakable as Russia!
May make a peace with beauty, thine,
The conquered nature’s casual rushes;
And let the Finnish waves forget
Their ancient bondages and malice
And not disturb with their hate senseless
The endless sleep of Peter, great!

The awful period was that,
It’s fresh in our recollection…
This time about, my dear friend,
I am beginning my narration.
My story will be very sad.


On Petrograd, sunk into darkness,
November breathed with fall cold’s harshness.
And, splashing, with the noisy waves
Into the brims of her trim fences,
The Neva raved, like the seek raves
In a bed, that has become the restless.
Now it was very dark and late;
The rain stroke ‘gainst the window’s flat.
And the wind blew with sadly wailing.
Right at this time, from being a guest
Evgeny, for his nightly rest,
Came home. This name was most prevailing
In our young hero’s name choice.
It sounds pleasantly. Of course,
With it my pen’s had long connections
It needn’t the special commendations,
Though in the times, in Lithe gone,
It might have been the most attractive
And under Karamzin’s pen, fine,
Sung in some legends, our native;
But now it is forgotten by 
The world and rumors. Our guy
Lives in Kolomna: he’s in service,
Avoids the rich ones, and ne’er sad is
For his kin which had left the world,
Or for the well-forgotten old.

So, he is home – our Evgeny,
Took off his greatcoat, undressed,
Lay in his poor bed, but oppressed 
He was by his thoughts, so many.
What did he thought of? Well, of that
That he was poor and that his bread, 
His honour and his independence
Just by hard work must be achieved, 
That God should send to him from heavens
More mind and money. That do live 
Such idle, fully happy creatures –
The lazy-bones, quite ludicrous,.
Whose life is absolutely light!
That he had served for two long years;
And that the weather, former fierce,
Hadn’t come less fierce, that the flood
In the Neva is getting higher,
The bridges might be got entire,
And that his sweet Parasha’s place
For two-free days wouldn’t be accessed.
There sighed Evgeny with his soul,
And dreamed as dreams a real bard:

“To marry then? Of course it’s hard. 
But why don’t marry, in a whole?
I’m of the young and healthy sight,
Ready to work for day and night;
I’ll someway find the good repose,
The simple and shy place, at last,
Parasha will be there composed. 
The year or, may be, two will pass –
I’m in position, to my dear 
I’ll give all family to bear
And bring our children up, at once...
Such we’ll start life, at last repose,
With hand-in-hand, such we’ll come both,
And our grandsons will bury us...” 

Thus he did dream. And a great sadness
Embraced his soul in that night,
He wished the wind’s weep to be lesser,
Rain’s siege of windows – not so tight.
At last his sleepy eyes were closed...
And now the night is getting gray –
That night, so nasty and morose, 
And it is coming – the pale day
The awful day! During the night
Neva had strived for sea ‘gainst tempests
But, having lost all her great battles,
The river ceased the useless fight…
And in the morn on her shores proud,
Stood people in a pressed in lot
And saw the tall and heard the loud 
Fierce waters’ mountains, it had brought.
But by the force of airy breathing
Blocked from the Gulf, the wide Neva
Came back – the wrathful one and seething -
And flooded islands, near and far;
The weather grew into the cruel,
Neva – more swelling and more brutal,
Like in a kettle boiled and steamed,
And then, as a wild creature seemed,
Jumped on the city. And before it,
All ran away from its strait path,
And all got emptied there; at once.
The waters flew into the cellars,
And raised up to the fence of canals –
And, like Triton, Petropol sails
Sunk in the water till his waist. 

Siege and assault! The evil waters
Thrust into windows, like slaughters.
The mad boats row into a glass.
The stalls are under the wet mass.
The wrecks of huts, the logs, roofs’ pieces,
The stores of the tread, auspicious,
The things, carried the pale want from,
The bridges got away by storm,
The coffins from the graveyards - float,
Along the streets!
                               The populace
Sees God’s great wrath and waits for death.
All is destroyed: bread and abode.
And how to live?
                           The monarch, blessed, 
Tsar Aleksandr, in a good fashion,
Still governed Russia that year, dread,
And from the balcony he, sad 
And pale, said: “Ne’er the God-made nature
Can be subdued by any tsars.”
And, in a thought, looked at the evil’s 
With his full of deep sadness eyes.
The streets turned into the fast rivers,
Running to made lakes, dark and grievous,
The Palace was an island, sad,
That loomed over the blackened waters.
The Tsar decreed – from end to end,
Down the shortest streets and longest,
On danger routs over the waves,
His generals set into the sailing –
To save the drawing and straining
On streets and in their homes-graves.

Then on the widest Square of Peter,
Where with his glass a new pile glittered,
Where on its porch, too highly placed,
With their paw raised, as if they’re living,
Stood two marble lions, overseeing.
On one of them, as for a race,
Without his hat, arms – tightly pressed,
Awfully pale – no stir appeared –
Evgeny sat. And there he feared
Not his own death. He did not hear
How the wrathful roller neared,
Greedily licking his shoes’ soles,
And how flagged him the rain coarse,
And how the fierce wind there wailed,
Or how it’d blown off his hat.
His looks of deepest desperation
Were all set on a single place
Without a move. The waves, impatient, 
Had risen there, like tallest crags,
Lifted from waked deeps in a madness,
There wreckage swam, there wailed a tempest …
O, God! O, God! – Right on that place,
Alas! so close to the waves,
And by the shores of the Gulf Finnish,
A willow-tree, a fence unfinished
And an old hut: there they must be –
A widow and her child Parasha –
His soul’s dream … Or does he see
It in a dream? … And, like the usher 
Of dreams – a sleep, is our life none –
Just Heavens make of Earth a fun?  

And he, like under conjuration,
Like in jail irons’ limitation,
Cannot come down. Him around
Only black waters could be found!
And turned to him with his back, proudest,
On height that never might be tossed,
Over Neva’s unending wildness,
Stands, with his arm, stretched to skies, lightless, 
The idol on his brazen horse. 


But now, sated with distraction
And tired of its rude attack,
Neva, at last, was coming back,
Looking at ruins with satisfaction
And leaving with a little attention
Its prey behind. A reprobate,
With his sever and low set,
Thus, thrusting in a village, helpless,
Breaks, slaughters, robs all and oppresses:
The roar, rape, swore, alert and wails!...
And, under their large booty posted,
Afraid of chases and exhausted,
The robbers speed to their old place,
Losing their loot along the road.

The waves were gone, the pavement, broad,
Was opened, and Evgeny, stressed, 
With heart half-dead and stifled throat,
In a hope, fear and awful pains,
Runs to the stream, just now restrained.
But, in the winning celebration,
Waves still were boiling with a passion,
As if to flames, under them fanned;
They still were with white foam covered,
And Neva’s breast was heavily moved,
Like the steed’s one after a race.
Evgeny sees a boat here;
He runs to it – a find, revered, –
He calls a boatman at once –
The boatman, a guy quite careless,
Just for ten kopeks, with great gladness,
Takes him into the waves’ wild dance.

And for a long with these waves, close,
The much trained rower was in fight,
And to sink deeply mid their rows,
The scuff, with its brave sailors both,
Was apt all time… The other side
Is reached, at last. And the frustrated
Runs through the so well-known street
To his old places. He doesn’t meet
A thing, he’d known. The view’s rated
As the worst one! All’s in a mess –
All is failed down or swept or stressed:
The little houses are bent down,
Some – shifted, some – razed to their ground
By awful forces of the waves;
The bodies, waiting for their graves,
Are lying round, like aft fight, merciless.
Our poor Evgeny – his mind’s flamed – 
Half-dead under the tortures, endless,
Runs there where the inhumane fate
Would give him the unknown message,
As if a letter, sealed to bear;
He’s now in the suburbs’ wreckage,
There is the Gulf, the house is near… 
But what is this? He stopped, frustrated,
Went back, returned a little later…
He looks… he walks … he looks once more.
There is the place their house for
And willow-tree. The gates were here –
They’re swept… But where’s the house, o grace? 
And full of troubles, hard to wear,
He walked and walked around the place. 
Told to himself in voices loud –
And suddenly, as if all’s found,
Struck his forehead and fell in laugh.
The night embraced the city, stuffed
With all its woe. And still for hours
A sleep was running from each house –
The folk recalling the past day.
Now, through the clouds, weak and pale,
The morn ray flashed o’er the mute city
And did not found e’en a trace
Of the past woe. The dawn, witty,
Had safely screened the doing, base.
The former life had got its place.
Along the streets now free of flooding,
With cold indifference, folks are moving.
Just having left his lodge of night,
The clerk is going at his site.
The petty tradesman, very dauntless, 
Is opening his cellar – wet, 
Robbed by the waves’ impudent set –
Intending to revenge his losses
On brothers-humans. From the yard
Is pulled the boat, full of mud.
Count Khvostov, a pet of Zeus,
Now is singing his songs, deathless,
To the Neva shores’ former plight.

What’s of Evgeny, our poor hero? …
Alas! His agitated mind,
Against the immense woe’s billow
Didn’t stand untouchable. The wind’s
And Neva’s noise was always growing 
In his poor ears. Mute and half-blind,
With awful thoughts, he was a-roaming, 
Being quite tortured by some dream.
A week, month passed by as a stream,
At his past home he wasn’t returning
And his landlord, when the rent’s time
Had gone, gave his corner to some
Bard, sunk in a poverty unduly.
Evgeny didn’t come for his stuff
And soon became a stranger, fully,
To world: his day wasn’t long enough
For walk; he slept on wharfs till morning
His bread was one a beggar has,
He wore the dirt and rotten dress.
The evil children, with cries joyful, 
Sometimes threw stones to his back,
Often the coachmen’ whips, wrathful,
Stung his thin body – for his track
Was cast without choosing direction –
He seemed to notice nothing else –
He was quiet deafened and oppressed
By noise of inner agitation. 
And thus he strayed in his life’s mist – 
Not humane being, nor some beast –
Not fish, nor flesh – not living creature,
Nor ghost of dead … But once he slept 
By Neva’s wharf – the summer’s features
Were now like autumn’s. The wind, bad,
Was breathing there. The roller, sad,
Was splashing its complain and groan
And striking ‘gainst the steps of stone,
Like the offended at the door
Of justice that doesn’t hear him more.
The poor waked up. All was gloom round:
Falling the rain, wind wailing loud,
And it was answered through the night
By some alone distant guard...
Evgeny got up in a hurry, 
He recollected his all flurry,
Stood on a spot, began to walk 
And stopped again, almost choked, 
Intently gazing him around
With a wild terror on his face... 
It seemed that he himself had found
By a big house where were placed,
With their paw up, as if quite living,
Two marble lions, overseeing,
And in the height, strait o’er him posed,
Over the rock, fenced with cast iron, 
With arm stretched into the skies, sullen, 
The idol sat on his bronze horse.

Evgeny startled. Became clear
The strange thoughts, torturing his mind –
He named the place where played the flood,
Where ran the waters-spoilers, fierce, – 
Merging in one rebellious stream, –
The lions, square and, at last, him,
Who stood without a move and sound –
The cooper head piercing black skies –
Him, by whose fatal enterprise
This city under sea took ground...
He’s awful in the nightly dark!
In what a thought his brow’s sunk!
What a great might in it lies, hidden!
And what a fire’s in this steed!
O, proud horse, where do you speed!
Where will you down your bronze hoofs, flittin’?
O, karma’s mighty sovereign!
Not thus you’d reared Russia, sullen,
Into the height, with a curb, iron,
Before an abyss in your reign?

The poor madman circled around
The foot of the black idol’s mass,
He gazed into the brazen face 
Of the half-planet’s ruler, proud.
And was his breast oppressed. He laid
On the cold barrier his forehead.
His eyes were veiled with a mist-cover,
His heart was all caught with a flame,
His blood seethed. Gloomy he became
Before the idol, looming over, 
And, having clenched his teeth and fist,
As if possessed by evil powers,
“Well, builder-maker of the marvels,”
He whispered, trembling in a fit,
“You only wait!...”- And to a street,
At once he started to run out –
He fancied: that the great tsar’s face,
With a wrath suddenly embraced,
Was turning slowly around...
And strait along the empty square
He runs and hears as if there were,
Just behind him, the peals of thunder,
Of the hard-ringing hoofs’ reminders, –
A race the empty square across,
Upon the pavement, fiercely tossed;
And by the moon, that palled lighter,
Having stretched his hand over roofs,
The Brazen Horseman rides him after –
On his steed of the ringing hoofs.
And all the night the madman, poor,
Where’er he might direct his steps,
Aft him the Bronze Horseman, for sure,
Keeps on the heavy-treading race.

And from this time, when he was going,
Along this square, only by chance,
A sense of terror was deforming 
His features. And he would then press
His hand to heart in a great fastness,
As if to make its tortures painless,
Take off the worn peaked cap at once,
Didn’t turn from earth his fearful eyes
And try to pass by.
                                  A small island’s
Seen in the sea quite near a shore.
A fisherman, the late catch for,
Would sail to it with his net, silent,
Sometimes – and boil there his soup, poor;
Or an official clerk would moor
To it in a boat-walking Sunday’s.
The empty isle. Seeds don’t beget
There any plant. A player, sightless,
The flood, had pulled there a ghost, sad, 
Of an old hut. The water over,
It had been left like a bush, black.
Last spring, by a small barging rover,
It was conveyed to the shore, back –
Destroyed and empty. By its entry,
They’d found the poor madman of mine
And, for a sake of the Divine, 
Buried his corpse in that soil, scanty.

The Ecclesiastical in the Secular Setting: An Analysis of Holiday’s “Christ Healing the Sick Children”

Christ Healing the Sick Children Henry Holiday 1982 SickKids Hospital, Toronto, Ontario Christ Healing the Sick Children Henry Holiday 1982 SickKids Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Christ Healing the Sick Children
Henry Holiday, 1982
SickKids Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Henry Holiday’s window Christ Healing the Sick Children is a product of the prevalent view in the nineteenth century that religion played an important role in society prior to industrialization and that it needed to be resurfaced (Brown, Brief History of Stained Glass 1). Although Holiday’s stained glass window is based on ecclesiastical subject matter, it was initially situated in the secular setting of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children on College Street (Brown, “A Treasure in Stained Glass” 17).  In the past, stained glass was a medium exclusively used for church decoration. During the nineteenth century, there was an egalitarian movement to incorporate stained glass into private residences and public buildings (Frelinghuysen 184). The set up of religious thematic artworks in secular public buildings resulted in Christianity gaining presence in areas of society that deal with non-religious matters.  This was the manner in which Christianity gained visibility outside the church in a post-industrialist society.

DSC_0294An average person is more likely to relate to Holiday’s depiction of Christ rather than the religious scenes in traditional medieval stained glass. This is due to the fact that Holiday created imagery that associates Christ with  contemporary issues such as the well-being of children. Although the mother and daughter that Holiday had painted mimic the iconic Mary and Child imagery, they are simply an average mother and child. This is hinted at by the fact that they are seated on terrestrial surface. On the contrary, medieval stained glass did not depict relations between Christ and average people’s lives. Stained glass of the Middle Ages served the purpose of providing visual narratives of the bible to educate the illiterate Since the majority at the time were incapable of reading (Reynolds 3).

This is the reason as to why medieval stained glass has a graphic quality while Holiday’s stained glass does not. The panels in medieval stained glass depict separate miniature scenes that were made to relate to each other to form a visual narrative (Kemp 43). These sorts of compositions were inspired by manuscript illumination, which also served the purpose of visual narration (Kemp 43). Since the scenes were small, figures were minimized to unnatural geometric forms. The composition Holiday used for his stained glass window completely differs from the compositions seen in Gothic stained glass. Instead, Holiday’s techniques for the creation of Christ Healing the Sick Children resemble the those that were used on stained glass of the Renaissance.

DSC_0299There is a clear emphasis on a single scene in Holiday’s work, that takes up the entire surface of the window rather than several scenes that each take up the space of individual panels. For this reason, a gridded iron framework exists in the single scene depicted by Holiday, similar to the Renaissance windows such as Paolo’s Uccello’s The Resurrection. When scenes take up more space on glass, it is easier to include naturalistic details such as the modelling of figures using matte; an iron-oxide based brown-black vitreous paint. Holiday’s figures take on naturalistic organic forms rather than mimic the miniature geometric human figures depicted in Gothic stained glass. They are also closer to life-size than the latter. These qualities cause his figures to have a closer resemblance to people than the figures seen in medieval stained glass and as a result his figures are more relatable to viewers.  A close-up on human figure in artwork allows for an intimacy between the viewer and image because expressions in the face and body are easier to read when having a closer look. There is less intimacy between characters from medieval stained glass and their viewers because their small sizes make them appear distant.

In conclusion, Holiday’s window Christ Healing the Sick Children is an example of how stained glass transitioned from being a medium used exclusively in churches for visual depictions of biblical narratives to being used as a medium within secular public settings for depictions of imagery that relate to matters of concern at the particular time that the window was made.

Works Cited

Brown, Shirley Ann. Brief History of Stained Glass. Rep. Print.

Brown, Shirley Ann. “Christ Healing the Sick Child: A Treasure in Stained Glass.” Rotunda 23 (1990): 11-17. Print.

Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooper. “A New Renaissance: Stained Glass in the Aesthetic Period.” In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. 177-97. Print.

Kemp, Wolfgang. The Narratives of Gothic Stained Glass. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. Print.

Reynolds, Elizabeth Aislin. “The Development of Stained Glass in Gothic Cathedrals.” JCCC Honors Journal 4.1 (2013): 1-11. Web. <>.

The Third Imperial Egg | 1887

When I started writing the series of posts dedicated to Fabergé’s Imperial Eggs, I mentioned that the whereabouts of eight of the eggs are unknown. I was hopeful  that perhaps just as  a Da Vinci drawing was discovered in 2012, the whereabouts of the missing eggs will eventually be revealed.

Well a year later, one of the lost Imperial eggs was found!!! Five months ago, the whereabouts of one of the lost Faberge Imperial Eggs was discovered! It is known as the Third Imperial Egg and was given to Maria Feodrovona by her husband Tsar Alexander III on the Easter of 1887.

The Third Imperial Egg, 1887

For a long period of time, there was the false belief that The Blue Serpent Clock was given to the Tsarina in 1887 instead of the egg in the above image. Those who were aware of the truth worried that the Third Imperial Egg was lost forever due to the Soviets selling it off through the black market in 1922. However, in 2011, Fabergé experts became hopeful that it survived after recognizing it in a 1964 auction catalog. For this reason, the following article was published in 2011 by The TelegraphIs this £20 million nest-egg on your mantelpiece?  The article describes a decorative egg  that was sold at a New York auction house in 1964 and compares its appearance to The Third Imperial Egg featured in a photograph from 1902, as seen below.

The Third Imperial Fabergé Easter Egg displayed among Marie Feodorovna’s Fabergé treasures in the Von Dervis Mansion Exhibition, St. Petersburg, March 1902.

The illustration of the Third Imperial Egg in the Parke Bernet Catalogue of March 1964.

During March of this year, the man who purchased the golden egg in 1964, thought of having it melted down in exchange for $500. He was unaware that it was an antique worth millions until he decided to do some research. For the first time, he typed into Google “egg” and the name engraved into the clock: “Vacheron Constantin.”  The article I mentioned earlier from the Britiain’s Daily Telepgraph appeared in his results. It described the egg as a Fabergé antique that came with a watch designed by Vacheron Constantin; a Swiss Manufacture of prestige watches. Soon after the man discovered that for half a century a $33 million antique had been in his possession. He contacted Fabergé expert Kieran McCarthy who confirmed that it was in fact the Third Imperial Egg.

After flying out to see the egg in person and meet its current owner, McCarthy said, “You would never know it to look at him. He wears the plaid shirts and the jeans and likes fishing. When I saw the egg just sitting on his kitchen counter, it was like finding Tutankhamen in Tesco.”

The egg was displayed to the public at Wartski in Mayfair from April 14th to the 17th. The egg had been shown to the public in the same location 112 years ago.

Wartski, April 2014

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs  click here.

Peter the Great | 1903

Currently at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the Fabergé egg that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the founding of St.Petersburg in 1703 by Peter the Great. Alexandra Feodrovona received the egg from her husband Tsar Nichalos II on the Easter of 1903.

Peter the Great aimed for the westernization of Russia despite the opposition from the nobility. For this reason, he shifted the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg because the latter was viewed as a window to the West. lg_map_russia_2011_07

The exterior of this golden egg is surrounded by four miniature watercolor paintings on ivory by  B. Byalz that are covered by rock crystal and framed by Rococo curves of gold and diamonds in the style of Louis XV. The front and back images are meant to depict before and after scenes of St. Petersburg from the years of 1703 and 1903. On the front is an architectural painting of the official residence of Nichalos II, the Winter Palace. Above the painting is the year 1903 set in rose-cut diamonds. On the opposite side of the egg below the year 1703 is an architectural painting of the the log cabin believed to be built by Peter the great after he  founded the city of Saint Petersburg. Portraits of Nichalos II and Peter the Great are situated on the egg’s sides:

Below each image is a white enamel ribbon that acts as a caption, and historical details are inscribed into the opaque enamel ribbon that encircles the top portion of the egg. The following inscriptions are featured on the egg:

  • The Emperor Peter the Great, born in 1672, founded St. Petersburg in 1703
  • The first little house of the Emperor Peter the Great in 1703
  • The Emperor Nicholas II, born in 1868, ascended the Throne in 1894
  • The Winter Palace of His Imperial Majesty in 1903

The surface of the egg consists of red, green and yellow gold that contains details of laurel leaves, roses and bulrushes. Rubies and diamonds are included into the the details. These were symbolic for the source of the living waters; specifically the Neva River in St. Petersburg which is blessed on the first week of January every year. As mentioned in my post Pansy, 1899,  laurel leaves are an ancient symbol representing the eternity.  Roses symbolise victory, pride and joy. Bulrushes symbolize salvation; related to the blessing of the river. This photograph captures these beautiful details much better than prior photograph: A mechanism raises the surprise inside upon opening the egg. This time the surprise is a miniature replica of the Bronze Horseman statue in St. Petersburg. The miniature version is also made of bronze, but its pedestal is made of sapphire. The Bronze Horseman is as important of a landmark to St. Petersburg as the Statue of Liberty is to New York.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.

Clover Leaf | 1902

This enamel egg was given to Empress Alexandra Feodrovna by her husband Tsar Nichalos II on Easter of 1902. It never left Russia, and since 1933, it has been displayed at the Kremlin Armoury Museum.

The exterior of the egg is an intricate foliage of stems and leaves  formed from enamel, rose-cut diomands, rubies and green gold. A ribbon of red enamel travels through the pattern. The production of transparent green enamel, which was used for the leaves, was a new method explored at the time that often suffered from problems while cooling. This egg was an impressive rarity for its time because the enamel is flawless; however, it is too fragile to travel.

Grand Duchess of Russia:
Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia


Once held inside by clips was a four-leaf clover made of diamonds and gold that framed miniature watercolor portraits on ivory of the Tsarina’s daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs or to learn more about them, click here.

Gatchina Palace | 1901

GatchinaPalaceUnder the supervision of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin crafted one of my favorite imperial enamel eggs known as the Gatchina Palace Egg. It is currently on view at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, United States. Empress Maria Feodorovna received it from her son Tsar Nicholas II on the  Easter of 1901. An impressive miniature replica of the palace her husband greatly adored is fixed within the interior of the egg. Details depicted of the residence include cannons, a flag, a statue of Paul I, parterres and trees. Although the Gatchina Palace was the Tsarina’s winter residence, she did not admire it as her husband had and rather had a distaste for it that was likely unknown to Fabergé.

The Gatchina Palace was constructed during the time of Catherine the Great for her lover Giogori Orlov. She later bought the palace from his heirs and left it to her son Paul Petrovich. Her son initially had a distaste for the palace due to the fact that it was built for the man who had murdered his father. Paul later grew fond of the palace, and while his son Alexander I abandoned it during his reign, it was used by later successors to the throne such as Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.

Basket of Flowers | 1901

Currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II, is an intricately designed Fabergé egg composed of silver, parcel-gilt, rose-cut diamonds, green gold, and multicolored enamels. Initially, the bejewelled egg belonged to the last Empress of Russia Alexandra Feodorovna.

Over its opalescent oyster colored enamel surface is a trellis work of rose-cut diamonds. The year of the egg’s creation is also set in rose-cut diamonds. The bouquet of multicolored enamel flowers emerges from a thread moss of green gold. The egg can be carried by its diamond-set handle.

It remains unknown whether or not this egg came with a surprise, as is typical of Fabergé’s imperial eggs. Although the original Fabergé invoice for the egg mentioned pearls, currently pearls are lacking from the design. Experts suggest that pearls were possibly part of the missing surprise.

To watch a great documentary on Fabergé imperial eggs, click here.