Born in 1847, Prince Vlaimir Sergeevic Obolenskii-Nedelinskii-Meletskii joined the Chevalier Guards Regiment of Her Majesty the Empress in November 1868 and was promoted to Second Lieutenant (cornet) in 1869. From 1872, he became the Regimental Aide-de-Camp as well as Aide-de-Camp to the Tsarevich.
In 1875, 1876, 1879 and 1880 Obolenskii travelled with the future Alexander III abroad as well as in Russia. He left the Regiment in 1891 and the same year was promoted to His Majesty's Suite Aide-de-Camp with the rank of Major General.
The firm of Fabergé received many commissions from the Guards' regiments. These were intended as gifts for the officer's mess from the regimental patrons and the commanders on the occasion of various jubilees. Sometimes the officers' mess presented gifts to commanding officers or officers leaving the regiment. These were usually bratini, goblets, vases, clocks, candelabra, scluptured groups or sometimes icons. These commissions almost always included the regimental insignia, which had to be complete in every detail.
(T. Fabergé and V. Skurlov, The History of the House of Fabergé, according to the recollection of the senior master craftsman of the firm Franz P. Birbaum, St. Petersburg, 1992, p. 22.)
The present kovsh is a perfect example of the kind of gifts that were presented to commanding officers. The insignia of the Chevalier Guards Regiment is the Imperial double-headed eagle, as the helmet surmount, a replica of which is on the handle of this large regimental presentation kovsh.
The design appears to have been so popular with the officers of the Chevalier Guards Regiment that it was remade, as a punch bowl to mark the departure of Commnader Count George Mengden in 1912.
The Chevalier Guards Regiment of her Majesty the Empress was renownd for its lavish and impressive gifts to fellow officers and a number of them, including large bratinas and clock were, reproduced in S. Panchulidzev's Sbornik biografii kavalergardov 1826-1908, St. Petersburg, 1908.
Such monumental silver kovshi produced by the Fabergé workshops were not made exclusively for the Russian Guards regiments. A monumental kovsh of similar form produced by Julius Rappoport in 1892, for a commission by Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna, née Princess Dagmar of Denmark, to commemorate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of the Empresses parents, King Christian IX and Queen Louisa of Denmark, on 26th May 1892. On this silver-gilt version, the Imperial double-headed eagle was replaced by a large silver elephant with gilt tusks, and a red and white enamelled turret, in accordance with the badge of the Danish Order of the Elephant, founded in 1464.
(see exhibition catalogue, Maria Feodorovna Empress of Russia, Copenhagen, Christiansborg Palace, 1997, pp. 445-447, nos. 108 and 109.)