Russian, St Petersburg
silver-gilt and gold, opalescent and painted enamel with paillons, a diamond and seed pearls
56 zolotniks (mounts)
Inventory number 5319
8.5 x 5.2 x 1.9 cm
The decoration of this cigarette case is derived from the ‘Gatchina Palace’ egg, given by Emperor Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, at Easter 1901. Evidently deemed a successful design, it was also used for the decoration of the ‘Bonbonnière’ egg given to Varvara Kelkh in 1903. Another cigarette case, almost identical to the present one, was formerly in the Forbes collection. Mikhail Perkhin, the workmaster responsible for all of them, introduced slight modifications on each piece. Thus, while both the eggs have additional trailing rose decoration that does not appear on the cigarette cases, the engine-turned grounds of each egg are different (respectively rippled and swagged). For the cigarette cases, variations of ribbed engine-turning were used, and the present example is further enriched with an additional band of paillon garlands at the base.
Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 270, p. 388.