Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Cabochon Agate Box by Perchin, 1935

Michael Perchin
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

One of the great things about the Royal Collection is that there's so much of it that, I'll never run out of things about which I can write.  Every so often, I'll go back to the archives to look for something about which I've written before, and will be unable to find the object again.  You see, the collection on display changes all the time.  But, the upshot of this is that I'll find something new to me, often by a favorite artist.

Take this box for instance.  It's the work of Michael Perchin, or, more accurately, Mikhail Evlampievich Perkhin (1860-1903), who, along with Viktor Aarne, was one of the greatest workmasters in the history of Fabergé.  I've a particular fondness for the work of Perchin (Perkhin) and Aarne.  Queens Mary, Alexandra and Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) did as well, and, therefore, there's quite a lot of it in the Royal Collection.  So, I was quite pleased to see a piece I've not seen before.

This oval-shaped box was created by Perkhin (Perchin) before 1896, and was added to the Royal Collection in 1952 by Queen Mary, shortly before her death.  The box, influenced by asian design is constructed of gold, guilloché enamel, and an impressive cabochon of banana-colored agate.  The whole of the lid is bordered by gorgeous European-cut diamonds, and the thumbpiece is set with a most impressive solitaire flanked by two smaller diamonds.

The underside bears the mark of Michael Perchin; FABERGÉ in Cyrillic; and a gold mark of 72 zolotniks which indicates that it was made before 1896.

I know it's not a banana, but I count the color of the agate as being appropriate to our theme today.

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