A Russian niello silver cigarette box by Fabergé inscribed “to Keld Fenwick, Royal Horse Guards from Mother August 13 1913”. The box is hand decorated all over with foliate scroll decoration. Engraved to the front is a magnificent troika scene and to the back is the Fenwick crest. To one side is a matchstriker opening to a vesta case and through the back section there is space for a pencil. Original gilt interior. Weight 194 cms, 6.2 troy ounces. 9 x 7 cms. Height 1.5 cm. Stamped inside with Russian silver marks. Maker Karl Faberge.
Biography – Peter Karl Faberge (1846-1920), born in St Petersburg, Russia . Karl’s father Gustav, of Huguenot extraction, was an unassuming jeweller who had been independently active since 1841. In 1860, his parents retired to Dresden leaving his business in St Petersburg to Karl. In 1864 Karl left on a Grand Tour of Europe, receiving tuition from goldsmiths in Germany, France and England, attending a course in Paris and viewing the fine objects in the galleries of Europe’s leading museums. Karl returned to St. Petersburg in 1866 as a full-fledged master and joined Hiskias Pendin, August Holmstrom, and Wilhelm Reimer, all of whom had been employed by his father. In 1868 a Finnish goldsmith, Erik Kollin, was attached to the firm. Four years later Karl Faberge took over his father’s workshop, with Kollin as his first head workmaster.
In 1882, Agathon Faberge joined his brother Karl in St. Petersburg and worked with him for over ten years. This period was to be the richest and most creative in Faberge’s oeuvre, with the quality of objects produced remaining unsurpassed. In 1885, Tsar Alexander III gave the House of Fabergé the title; ‘Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown’.
The Imperial Easter eggs, animals, flowers, and objects of vertu in hardstones or precious metals were introduced during this period under the direction of the head workmaster, Mikhail Perkhin (1886-1903).
By the 1890s Faberge had outstripped his competitors in the field of objects and silver and important commissions were undertaken for the Coronation festivities of 1896. Trips made by the Imperial Family to Denmark and to London were a source of excellent business for Faberge, since many of their presents came from his workshops. The firm won distinctions at the Pan-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod (1896) and at the Nordic Exhibition in Stockholm (1897), culminating in 1898-1900 with the building of new premises at 24 Bolshaya Morskaya Street and Faberge’s participation in the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.
In 1916, the House of Fabergé became a joint-stock company with a capital of 3-million rubles.
Peter Karl Fabergé never recovered from the shock of the Russian Revolution. He died in Switzerland on September 24, 1920. His family believed he died of a broken heart. His wife, Augusta, died in 1925.