The Martial Chamber of Tsarskoy Selo will have a Carl Fabergé piece of World War I era, something the Museum has never had before.
Auctioned by Olivier Coutau-Bégarie in Paris and purchased by the Museum, the brazen ashtray with Russia’s relief coat of arms is inscribed ‘War of 1914’ and originates from a special series of objects produced by Fabergé during the war.
Responding to a fall in demand for jewelry, Fabergé had to adapt his workshops to the needs of wartime with products destined for the frontline. His mechanical plant in Moscow made purely functional items from inexpensive and practical materials, such as brass, copper and alloys. Those were basically field cooking and eating wares like mugs, pots, pans, samovars, kettles, kerosene stoves, basins and washbowls.
Fabergé also produced award items, such as brazen ashtrays, cup holders and cigarette cases with the Russian coat of arms and memorable inscription ‘War of 1914' and 'War of 1914–1915’. Those were awarded to soldiers and officers of the active army when Emperor Nicholas II visited the theater of military operations. Soldiers’ articles were inexpensive and very practical.
According to Ms Yekaterina Stadler, Metalwork Collection curator, ‘It is noteworthy that, despite their utilitarian purpose, relatively cheap materials and large volumes of production, all those objects were distinguished in quality and elegance, and they were repeatedly praised for that by Russia’s military department.’
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