Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: A Royal Rock Crystal Inkwell, Before 1896

Presented to Queen Elizabeth
The Royal Collection

This unusual inkwell of rock crystal, silver, glass, and guilloché enamel was made by Fabergé and was a wedding present to Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Lt. Philip Mountbatten (now the Duke of Edinburgh) from Baronne Sophie de Buxhoeveden in 1947.

The Baroness Sophie Buxhoeveden had been Tsarina Alexandra’s favourite lady-in-waiting. After her escape from Russia in 1917, she came to live in London, in a “Grace and Favour apartment” at Kensington Palace. To earn her keep, she unofficially served as the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven’s lady-in-waiting. During this period she became a favorite of the court and was quite involved in the lives of the Royal Family.

This magnificent inkwell with its rock crystal base was made by Anders Nevalainen for Fabergé before 1896. The lid is set with a Catherine the Great rouble dated 1722 which has been enamelled in red with gadrooned silver mounts.

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