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AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE
AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE
AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE
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AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE
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These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more
AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE

BY FABERGÉ, ST PETERSBURG, CIRCA 1900, SCRATCHED INVENTORY NUMBER 21714

Details
AN IMPORTANT LIFE-SIZE JEWELLED, SILVER AND GOLD-MOUNTED AGATE MODEL OF A DORMOUSE
BY FABERGÉ, ST PETERSBURG, CIRCA 1900, SCRATCHED INVENTORY NUMBER 21714
Realistically carved as a dormouse, with silver whiskers, holding gold straws in his paws, with cabochon sapphire-set eyes, apparently unmarked
2 1⁄2 in. (6.5 cm.) high
Provenance
A gift from Emanuel Nobel (1859-1932) to Karl Wilhelm Hagelin (1860-1955).
By descent to his son Wolodja Hagelin (1897-1970), godson of Emanuel Nobel.
Thence by descent.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay


Karl Wilhelm Hagelin (1860-1955)

Karl Wilhelm Hagelin was born in 1860 in St Petersburg to Swedish parents. The following year his parents moved to the Volga river, where his father worked as a boat engineer. Karl Wilhelm joined the Nobel brothers’ oil company in Baku in 1879. A very close colleague and friend of the Nobel brothers, he was made the group manager in 1891.

The managerial skills of Karl Wilhelm Hagelin were greatly appreciated by the Nobel brothers during the unrest in Baku between 1904 and 1905. In 1906, he was appointed Swedish consul general in St Petersburg. Shortly after the Revolution, Hagelin left Russia for Stockholm where he joined the Aktiebolaget Cryptograph company, as a main shareholder with Emanuel Nobel.

Karl Wilhelm's son Wolodja Hagelin (1893-1970) was godson of Emanuel Nobel. He inherited the present Fabergé dormouse, which was originally a gift from Nobel to Karl Wilhelm Hagelin.

Emanuel Nobel (1859-1932)

Following the death of his father in 1888, Dr Emanuel Nobel became head of the family business, The Nobel Brothers Petroleum Production Company. Founded in 1879, the company was the leading kerosene producer in Russia at the time. Emanuel Nobel's business successes in Russia were such that he was personally requested by Emperor Alexander III to accept Russian citizenship in 1891.

Emanuel Nobel is considered one of Fabergé's most important clients. According to Francois Birbaum, Fabergé's senior master craftsman from 1893, 'E. Nobel, one of the kings of oil, was so generous in his presents that at times it seemed that this was his chief occupation and delight. Orders were constantly being made for him in the [Fabergé] workshops and from time to time he came to have a look at them. Often, he only decided for whom the present should be only when the work was finished' (quoted in Birbaum's memoirs, St Petersburg, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweller, London, 1993, p. 454).

Henry Bainbridge, the manager of the London Fabergé shop, also wrote about Emanuel Nobel: 'He was a man for whom the jubilees and anniversaries of his directors and staff meant nothing if not suitably commemorated by some objects from Fabergé' (H.C. Bainbridge, Peter Carl Fabergé, London, 1949, p. 58).

The Fabergé Life-Size Hardstone Dormouse

An almost identical life-size agate model of a dormouse with gold straws and cabochon sapphires was bought by Queen Alexandra from the Fabergé's London branch on 5 November 1912 for £33 (see C. de Guitaut, Fabergé in the Royal Collection, London, 2003, p. 72, no. 54).

Another agate dormouse is listed in the ledgers of Fabergé's London branch and has a very similar inventory number to the present lot. It was acquired by Sir Ernest Cassel (1852-1921), a famous British banker, in December 1911 also for £33. It was returned later that month by Lady Brougham and Vaux, who presumably received it as a gift. Its current location is unknown.

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