#ArtThursdays: - Fabergé In London: Romance To Revolution Exhibition Recap

The popular Fabergé exhibition comes to a close this week so we managed to check it out before it does!  




Written by Nadia A.

"This exhibition explores master goldsmith, Carl Fabergé – and the rise and fall of his London outpost, which opened in 1903. It is a story of craftsmanship and luxury, as well as cosmopolitanism and the value of diplomacy."
Victoria & Albert Museum, 2022


Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) sorting gemstones, c.1905. Wartski, London

 The entire walkthrough of the show was nicely curated, from highlighting the early beginnings of how Carl Fabergé studied goldsmithing and eventually taking full control of his fathers business in 1872 to the final room and what Fabergé is probably best known for - The Imperial Egg collection.


 'Ice Shard' pendant, Fabergé, workmaster Albert Holmström, designer Alma Pihl 

Fabergé has been a household name in the jewellery industry for over a century, ever since his work attracted the attention of the elite. Seeing this exhibition in person was a feast for the eyes and it was obvious that the attention to detail in each piece never went amiss. A lot of the work made at Fabergé was a collaborative effort made by a number of designers and craftmakers that worked in his workshop. The Ice Shard pendant featured above was an example of a piece that Alma Pihl, who was one of the main designers at Fabergé, designed and then it was made by her uncle, Albert Holmström.  

 Hen egg, containing miniature hen, 1884-5

The main attraction of this exhibition was no doubt, the world renowned Imperial Easter Egg collection and it not disappoint. The Hen Egg, created in 1884 as a special commission request from Emperor Alexander III for his wife, was a humble first entry in the timeline of the creation of these pieces and what would turn into an elaborate tradition over what was thought, the next 31 years, until 1916.


Winter egg designed by Alma Pihl, 1912-13

 There are believed to be 50 eggs that have been completed between 1885 - 1916 but unfortunately, not all the eggs were on show as some are still lost but one of  standout pieces that was present was the 'Winter Egg' that had a hint of the 'Ice Shard' pendant seen earlier in the exhibition. The additional novelty with each egg is that they were created with a unique gift inside which had a lot of sentimental value for the Emperor and his wife. The "surprises" inside, which could often be it's own standalone piece, were often marked with pictures of their children and tied in to the theme of each individual egg. Each creation has stood the test of time and probably look as good today as they must've when they first left the workshop.  



 Mosaic egg, workmaster Albert Holmström, designer Alma Pihl, 1913-14 

The star of the exhibition for us has to be the Mosaic Egg seen above. To imagine he amount of workmanship that went into this piece is enough to give any jeweller a headache. The main base is made from mesh that has been formed into an egg shape to create the structure for all the tiny stones to be set. The mosaic technique creates abstract images all across the surface whilst the reflection that comes off the vibrantly coloured stones is enough to make anybody who's looking at it, mouth water.

This exhibition was a terrific insight into more of the lesser known Fabergé creations besides the Imperial Egg collection, but overall it was great to see a mixture of all aspects of the Fabergé empire especially from a jeweller's perspective. 

You can read more about the exhibition here