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A silver and bowenite Table-lamp formed as a Dolphin
A silver and bowenite Table-lamp formed as a Dolphin


A silver and bowenite Table-lamp formed as a Dolphin marked Fabergé with Imperial warrant, workmaster Julius Rappaport, St. Petersburg, circa 1895 Stylistically formed, on naturalistic carved bowenite base, with simulated water and lilies flowing over, the fish's head fantastically modelled with curving body to the raised tail, chased and engraved to simulate scales with entwined flowering water-lilies, the fanned tail forming the lamp-shade, the back of the body engraved with a French verse 'La Vie est vaine Un peu d'amour Un peu de haine Et puis bonjour! La Vie est brêve Un peu d'espoir Un peu de rêve Et puis bonsoir!', with cord aperture at the back of the head above the base, marked on head 16¼in. (41cm.) high
Probably a gift from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on Easter 1895

Lot Essay

The invoice of 9 May 1895 is reproduced in Tatiana Fabergé, Lynette G. Proler and Valentin V. Skurlov, The Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, (London: Christie's, 1997), p.240.

According to the researches of Valentin Skurlov only four such dolphin lamps were made by the Fabergé firm. Two before 1896 and two others after 1896 with the introduction of the kokoshnik mark which is not present on the above lamp.

Keeping in mind the price of 800 roubles and the workmanship of the above lamp, it is almost certainly the one mentioned on the bill dated 9 May 1895. The other electric dolphin lamp, based on its price is a far less important work of art.

Based on the handwritten notes of Tsar Nicholas II at the bottom of the bill dated 9 May 1895, the price of the dolphin electrical lamp was shared, as the two Imperial eggs described on the same bill, by the Emperor himself and his wife, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.


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