Thursday, March 14, 2013

Royal Pets: Sandringham Lucy by Carl Fabergé, 1908

Sandringham Lucy
Carl Fabergé , 1907-1908
Chalcedony, Rubies
Commissioned by King Edward VII
Purchased by King George V while Prince of Wales
The Royal Collection

An avid sportsman, King Edward VII enjoyed long visits to the Royal residence at Sandringham where he spent most of his time hunting and shooting. His favorite companions at Sandringham were the pack of Clumber Spaniels which lived at the estate. Edward VII’s son, the future King George V, also appreciated the Clumber Spaniels, and like his father, had a particular fondness for one in particular—Sandringham Lucy.

I was not very familiar with Clumber Spaniels. The breed originated in France in the eighteenth century and was first bred in England by the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire. They can be seen in the 1871 painting, “A Big Shoot at Sandringham” by Thomas Jones Barker.

A Big Shoot at Sandringham
Thomas Jones Barker, 1871
The Royal Collection

In 1907, King Edward VII commissioned Carl Fabergé to create a miniature sculpture of Sandringham Lucy. Fabergé observed the dog and modeled the figure from life. The sculpture of chalcedony with ruby eyes took over a year to create. For reasons now unknown, Edward VII never claimed the sculpture. It was purchased from Fabergé in 1909, By George V, shortly before his father’s death.  He was probably urged to do so by Mary of Teck, his wife, who--among other things--amassed a huge collection of jeweled and enameled animal figurines by Fabergé.

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