Russia, St Petersburg
silver-gilt, translucent and opalescent enamel, seed pearls
20 x 14.2 x 14.3 cm
Karl Gustaf Hjalmar Armfelt (1873 – 1959) from Artjärvi, Finland, moved to St. Petersburg, aged thirteen, as an apprentice to the silversmith Paul Sohlman. A journeyman in 1891, he then worked under Anders Nevalainen, one of Fabregé’s workmasters. In 1904, having studied further at the Stieglitz School of Technical Drawing, he qualified as a master. In the same year he purchased the workshop of Viktor Aarne, a fellow Finn, for 8,000 roubles. Under Armfelt’s ownership the workshop continued to supply Fabregé, as it had done his predecessor, with works of similar style and quality. This timepiece, with the assaymark of Yakov Lyapunov, in use until 31 March 1904, must therefore be one of the earliest objects produced under the new direction.
Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 279, p. 393.