This guilloché enamelled gold cigarette case by Fabergé was presented by Emperor Nicholas II to Commandant-General Carl Casten Abraham Warberg following the Imperial family's state visit to Sweden in 1909. It was originally entered into the ledgers of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty under reference number 70189 on 14 April 1909, as costing 365 roubles.
The State Visit to Sweden in 1909
The visit of Emperor Nicholas II and his family to Sweden in 1909 was primarily a return visit following the wedding at Tsarskoe Selo of Prince Wilhelm and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the younger, which the Swedish Royal family had attended the year before. Beyond being an act of reciprocity, the visit was one of courtesy to a neighbouring country, with whom Russia had friendly relations (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, The Russian Imperial Award System during the Reign of Nicholas II, 1894-1917, Helsinki, 2005, p. 343). During the visit, close to 1,000 Swedish subjects were presented with Imperial awards and, of these, only forty were given jewelled gifts, rather than orders or medals (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit., p. 352). The most expensive cigarette cases presented from the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty were produced by the Fabergé workshops, which specialised in enamelled cases, such as the present lot (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit., p. 215). These cigarette cases, applied with the Imperial crown or Imperial double-headed eagle, were the usual gift for individuals holding senior court offices, such as Commandant-General Warberg, and were presented to Swedish dignitaries ranking just below the small number of top officials, who received snuff-boxes during the visit (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit., pp. 339, 353).
Casten Abraham Warberg
Carl Casten Abraham Warberg (1845-1910) was a military officer and the acting Commandant-General of Stockholm during the visit of Emperor Nicholas II to Sweden in 1909. Warburg served as Chief of the Swedish General Staff between 1895 and 1899. He also served as the first Adjutant of King Gustaf V and as head of the King's staff from 1909.
A nearly identical royal blue guilloché enamelled cigarette case applied with a diamond-set Imperial crown, by August Holmström, was presented to Ludvig Castenskiold, equerry of King Christian IX of Denmark and marshal of the court of Queen Luise, during the Imperial Family's visit to Denmark in 1899. The case later formed part of the Forbes Magazine Collection sold at Christie's, New York, 20 April 2001, lot 136 A (U. Tillander-Godenhielm, op. cit., p. 217, illustrated no. 96).
We are grateful to Valentin Skurlov for helping research this cigarette case.