Presented to Alexandra Feodorovna by Nicholas II
Designed in the style of Louis XV, this egg is carved from a solid block of lapis lazuli of superb quality, and is enclosed in an elaborately carved and chased gold cage-work composed of conventionalized motifs including scrolls, shells, baskets of flowers, winged cherubs and the Imperial double-headed eagle beneath a canopy hanging from a fretted arch. The crowned Imperial monogram and the year are shown under a rectangular portrait diamond surmounting the egg; a large brilliant diamond is set in the base. Inside the egg, a crowned double-headed Imperial eagle, richly set back and front with rose diamonds, frames an oval miniature painting of the Tsarevitch Alexey; this important jewel is supported on a diamond-set base with four diamond leaves, curled to serve as feet. The reverse side frames a miniature showing the back of the eight-year-old Prince.
Here in this whole composition is a striking instance of the beauty of the frame, surpassing by far the picture it holds, for it must be confessed that the miniature portrait, which is understandably not signed, provides in its weakness of execution, a melancholy anti-climax to a good design.
Signed by Henrik Wigstrom.
In the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
in The Art of Carl Fabergé
New York Graphic Society Ltd 1964
© Kenneth Snowman 1962