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    Sale 7630

    Russian Works of Art

    24 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 228

    A gold enamel and diamond brooch of the Company of the Nobel Brothers


    Price Realised  


    A gold enamel and diamond brooch of the Company of the Nobel Brothers
    probably by Fabergé, late 19th century
    Shaped oval, the pierced central gold oil rig on an enamel ground, flanked by paintings of a railway boiler-type oil car and the first oil tanker Zoroaster, both designed by Ludvig Nobel, on a pink opalescent guilloché enamel sunrise, the gold mount, with openwork scrolls beneath and culminating at the top with two greek key pattern scrolls to either side of the Imperial coat-of-arms set with diamonds and mounted on a miniature oil storage tank, surmounting the rig, inscribed on the plain gold reverse, apparently unmarked
    1 1/8 in. (3 cm.) wide
    The Russian inscription translates as:
    Nobel Brothers Company

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    This brooch depicts some of the key elements in the success of the Nobel Brothers Company, created in 1879 by Robert, Ludvig and Alfred Nobel. Robert purchased an interest in the oil refinery in 1876 and Ludvig set about organizing the production. Ludvig designed and built the first oil tanker, Zoroaster in 1878 (named after the fire-temple in Surakhany), the first metal oil storage tanks in 1879, and the first railway boiler-type oil cars in Russia in 1881 and built the railway to run them with. These innovations made the company the most successful oil producers in the world. This independant spirit also led to the company being the most philanthropic of the great oil companies in Russia. After the death of Ludvig Nobel, his son, Emmanuel (1855-1932) took over the running of the Company.

    Arthur Lessner, from a Baltic family of German extraction, had a neighbouring business to Immanuel Nobel in St. Petersburg, which his son, also Arthur, ran before joining the Nobel's company. The younger Arthur was appointed to chief in Baku for the Nobel Brothers Company in 1903.

    For a locket and medallion enamelled with the same elements of design, inscribed for the Nobel Brothers Company, see exhibition catalogue, Carl Fabergé Goldsmith to the Tsar, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1997, pp. 213 and 216, nos. 248 and 258, illustrated.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Margit Lessner, daughter of Arthur Lessner.
    Then by descent to the present owner.