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AN IMPORTANT GEM-SET GUILLOCHÉ ENAMEL AND TWO-COLOUR GOLD IMPERIAL PRESENTATION CIGARETTE CASE
AN IMPORTANT GEM-SET GUILLOCHÉ ENAMEL AND TWO-COLOUR GOLD IMPERIAL PRESENTATION CIGARETTE CASE
AN IMPORTANT GEM-SET GUILLOCHÉ ENAMEL AND TWO-COLOUR GOLD IMPERIAL PRESENTATION CIGARETTE CASE
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AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF FABERGÉ MASTERPIECES AND IMPERIAL TREASURES
AN IMPORTANT GEM-SET GUILLOCHÉ ENAMEL AND TWO-COLOUR GOLD IMPERIAL PRESENTATION CIGARETTE CASE

BY HAHN, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF ALEXANDER TREIDEN, ST PETERSBURG, 1893

Details
AN IMPORTANT GEM-SET GUILLOCHÉ ENAMEL AND TWO-COLOUR GOLD IMPERIAL PRESENTATION CIGARETTE CASE
BY HAHN, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF ALEXANDER TREIDEN, ST PETERSBURG, 1893
Rectangular, the body and hinged cover enamelled overall in translucent scarlet, the cover and base centring an engraved Imperial double-headed eagle on a sunburst wavy guilloché ground, within bright-cut gold borders, with integral vesta compartment, match strike and tinder cord, the thumb-piece set with a cabochon sapphire, the inside cover engraved in facsimile handwriting of Emperor Alexander III in Russian ‘From Papa / 25 Dec. 1893 / Gatchina’, marked on rim; in a fitted Wartski case
3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm.) wide
Provenance
A gift from Emperor Alexander III to his son Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, future Emperor Nicholas II, on Christmas Day 1893.
With Wartski, London.
Acquired from the above by the father of the present owner in 1981.
Literature
U. Tillander-Godenhielm, Smycken: Från Det Kejserliga S:t Petersburg, Helsinki, 1996, p. 123, no. 115 (illustrated).
G. von Habsburg, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, London, 2000, p. 342, no. 937 (illustrated).
G. von Habsburg, Fabergé - Cartier, Rivalen am Zarenhof, Munich, 2003, p. 324, no. 594 (illustrated).
M. Saloniemi, U. Tillander-Godenhielm, T. Boettger, The Era of Fabergé, Tampere, 2006, p. 161, no. 59 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Helsinki, 1990.
Helsinki, Museum of Arts and Crafts, 1991.
Helsinki, Smycken: Från Det Kejserliga S:t Petersburg, 1995, no. 115.
Stockholm, Christie’s, 1996.
Lahti, The Lahti Art Museum, Fabergé: Loistavaa kultasepäntaidetta, 14 March – 4 May 1997.
Wilmington, Riverfront Arts Center, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, 8 September 2000 – 18 February 2001, no. 937.
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Fabergé - Cartier, Rivalen am Zarenhof, 28 November 2003 – 12 April 2004, no. 594.
Tampere, Museums in Finland and Moscow Kremlin Museum, The Era of Fabergé, 17 June – 1 October 2006, no. 59.

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Alexis de Tiesenhausen
Alexis de Tiesenhausen

Lot Essay

Emperor Alexander III and Tsesarevich Nicholas
The inside cover of this cigarette case is engraved with a facsimile inscription in Russian ‘From Papa / 25 Dec. 1893 / Gatchina’. A comparison with a copy of Emperor Alexander III’s personal dairy, dated 1864, establishes that the cigarette’s inscription is engraved in the Emperor’s handwriting. The similarity of Alexander III’s round penmanship in the diary to that of the cigarette case is particularly noticeable in the Russian word ‘Papa’. His writing of the numerals ‘1864’ also directly correspond to the digits in the cigarette case’s inscription, making it clear that the facsimile engraving is in the hand of Emperor Alexander III.

Emblazoned with an intricately engraved Imperial Russian coat-of-arms on both sides, the present cigarette case was a fitting Christmas gift for the future Emperor of Russia, Tsesarevich Nicholas (1868-1918). The Tsesarevich was in his twenty-fifth year and the heir to the throne. Nicholas’s brothers Grand Dukes George and Michael were only twenty-two and fifteen years old at the time. The personalisation of the piece, with the words from ‘From Papa’, gives insight into the lavish exchange between members of the Imperial family at Gatchina that Christmas.

Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna preferred to celebrate important family events such as holidays and anniversaries (see lot 207) at Gatchina palace. The memoirs of Alexander III’s daughter, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882-1960), detail Christmas at the palace:
After the service it was time for dinner – only Father, Mother and us five children, and then the moment came, which all Danish children know, too when you sit and wait in front of a closed door and when you glue your eyes to the faint yellow strip of light which is making its way under the door till it is suddenly thrown open! When the double doors were opened at home in Gatchina an old church bell would be rung at the same time. It tinkled so mildly and beautifully, and then the door would be opened to all the delights. Seven Christmas trees stood around in the room – one for each of us and at the foot of each tree there was a table with presents (P. Kulikovsky et. al., 25 Chapters of My Life: Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Imperial Russia, 2009, ch. 3).’

In retrospect, the year of its presentation imbues this gift with even more significance: it would be the last Christmas Nicholas celebrated with his father. At the age of forty-nine, Emperor Alexander III developed nephritis and died in the autumn of the following year; the young Tsesarevich Nicholas succeeded to the throne in 1894.

Hahn and Alexander Treiden
The firm of Hahn was established by Karl Hahn in 1873 and eventually became an important supplier to the Russian Imperial Court, receiving the title of purveyor to the court during the reign of Emperor Alexander III (1881-1894). The firm became the jeweller of choice to the Imperial Cabinet and its many commissions included diamond insignia of various orders, presentation jewellery, cigarette cases and snuff-boxes during the reign of Emperor Alexander III.

The production of the firm was handled primarily in the workshops of Carl Blank and Alexander Treiden, who worked exclusively for Hahn. Alexander Adolfovich Treiden was a merchant of the second guild from 1892-1917 and his St Petersburg workshop, which produced gold and silver items, was located at Nevsky prospect, 42. Treiden is particularly associated with the supply of presentation cigarette cases to Hahn. For more information on Hahn’s work for the Imperial court and on snuff boxes with the Imperial double-headed eagle, see U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, pp. 384-385.

The Technique
The present Imperial presentation cigarette-case is remarkable not only for its presentation within the Imperial Family, but also for the complexity of its guilloché pattern. It is extraordinary how the intricate Imperial coat-of-arms on the present cigarette case is transposed over the undulating bands of guilloché it appears to radiate.

An Imperial presentation snuff-box by Koechli with a related guilloché pattern, incorporating the Imperial Russian coat-of-arms, was presented by Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich in 1891 to General Major N. Shipov, Ataman of the Ural Cossack Voisko (Christie’s, London, 29 November 2010, lot 233).

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