DescriptionRare Russian Empress Maria Fedorovna Imperial Porcelain Easter Egg
By the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, late 19th century
Decorated with the interlaced Cyrillic monogram M F in two-toned gold for Empress Maria Fedorovna, wife of Tsar Alexander III, on painted ox-blood glazed ground intentionally fading to faint light blue on the ends-4 in. long, with later silk ribbon
For centuries in Russia, Easter eggs of all sizes and materials were exchanged on Orthodox Easter as symbols of the Resurrection of Christ. Across the empire, eggs decorated homes, churches, and palaces, usually suspended from a ribbon or braided cord around religious icons.
The rarest and most valuable porcelain eggs are those with the Imperial ciphers. These were made in St. Petersburg's Imperial Porcelain Factory, which was founded by Empress Elizabeth in 1741. Red was the preferred traditional Easter color. While red glazes first appeared in French and Viennese porcelain factories, only the Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory used the glaze to decorate eggs. Experiments were carried out by K. F. Klever (1854-after 1910) who achieved the sang de boeuf tone with the aid of copper compounds, after well-known Chinese glazes. For another example in the Hermitage Museum see Imperial Easter Eggs (Copenhagen, 1994), fig 89.
Maria Fedorovna (1847-1928)
Born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, and the younger sister of Edward VII's consort, Maria Fedorovna had initially been betrothed to Tsar Alexander II's eldest son, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich. When he grew mortally ill, Nicholas commanded his younger brother Alexander to marry her. An outgoing woman of great charm, Empress Maria proved an ideal match for her forbidding mate, Tsar Alexander III. She survived both her husband's death and the Revolution of 1917, and ended her days in her native Denmark.
Purchased from A la Vieille Russie
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