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A SILVER TABLE LIGHTER IN THE FORM OF A SMOKING MONKEY
THE FOLLOWING GROUP OF SILVER ANIMALS (LOTS 233-236) EXEMPLIFIES FABERGé'S ABILITY TO TRANSFORM FUNCTIONAL ITEMS, SUCH AS BELL-PUSHES AND LIGHTERS, INTO SCULPTURAL WORKS OF ART. JULIUS RAPPOPORT, THE WORKMASTER FOR THE PRESENT LOTS, WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST ARTISAN TO MAKE SILVER ANIMALS FOR FABERGé AND WAS THE LEADING DESIGNER OF SILVER ANIMAL FIGURES FOR THE FIRM UNTIL HIS RETIREMENT IN 1909. IT WAS RAPPOPORT WHO PERFECTED THE CONCEPT OF MAKING DECORATIVE ITEMS FOR EVERYDAY USE. THE DESIGN INFLUENCES FOR THESE ANIMALS, WHICH ARE BOTH IMAGINATIVELY AND REALISTICALLY OBSERVED, VARIED FROM EUROPEAN FUNCTIONAL SILVER SCULPTURES TO FAR-EASTERN ANIMAL FIGURES AND JAPANESE NETSUKE, IN PARTICULAR. AS WITH OTHER WORKS, THE SUCCESS OF FABERGé SILVER ANIMALS WAS DETERMINED BY ITS CLIENTELE. BOTH DECORATIVE AND FUNCTIONAL, THESE SILVER OBJECTS HELD BROAD APPEAL. IN RESPONSE TO THE OVERWHELMING DEMAND FOR THESE WORKS, FABERGé WORKSHOPS RE-USED THE SAME MODEL TO PRODUCE SEVERAL SILVER CASTS OR FIGURES IN HARDSTONE. THE PRODUCTION OF THESE SILVER CASTS WAS AN INTRICATE AND MULTISTEP PROCESS. FIRST, THE ORIGINAL DESIGNS WERE MADE BY SCULPTORS AND HAD TO BE PERSONALLY APPROVED BY FABERGé AND HIS WORKMASTERS BEFORE BEING EXECUTED IN EITHER SILVER OR HARDSTONE. ARTISANS THEN COPIED THE ORIGINAL MODEL IN WOOD OR ANOTHER HARD MATERIAL TO CREATE A 'PATTERN' THAT WAS USED FOR FUTURE CASTS. AS SILVER ANIMALS WERE CREATED USING PIECE MOULDS, THE PARTS OF THESE FIGURES HAD TO BE JOINED TOGETHER BY APPLYING STRONG HEAT. AS A LAST STEP, THE FIGURES WERE CHASED AND ENGRAVED BY HAND TO ACHIEVE THEIR FINAL NATURALISTIC APPEARANCE. FABERGé SILVER ANIMALS WERE WIDELY POPULAR AND ARE KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN PURCHASED BY THE MEMBERS OF THE IMPERIAL AND ROYAL FAMILIES, INCLUDING EMPEROR NICHOLAS II (1868-1918) AND H.M. KING EDWARD VII (1841-1910). FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON FABERGé SILVER ANIMALS, SEE G. VON HABSBURG, FABERGé IMPERIAL CRAFTSMAN AND HIS WORLD, LONDON, 2000, PP. 102-108. PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN NOBLEMAN
A SILVER TABLE LIGHTER IN THE FORM OF A SMOKING MONKEY

MARKED FABERGÉ WITH THE IMPERIAL WARRANT, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF JULIUS RAPPOPORT, ST PETERSBURG, 1899-1908, SCRATCHED INVENTORY NUMBER 3165

Details
A SILVER TABLE LIGHTER IN THE FORM OF A SMOKING MONKEY
MARKED FABERGÉ WITH THE IMPERIAL WARRANT, WITH THE WORKMASTER'S MARK OF JULIUS RAPPOPORT, ST PETERSBURG, 1899-1908, SCRATCHED INVENTORY NUMBER 3165
Realistically modelled, seated and smoking a cigar, the surface chased to simulate fur, the head forming the hinged cover, opening to reveal a lighter fluid compartment with gilt interior, marked on and under base, on ear, and inside neck; also with London import marks for 1911
4½ in. (11.5 cm.) high
14.62 oz. (454.6 gr.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, Geneva, 15 November 1990, lot 223.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the inventory number is possibly 1165 or 3165.

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Aleksandra Babenko
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