Monday, October 21, 2013

Mastery of Design: Queen Victoria's Fabergé Notebook, 1897

Notebook by Viktor Aarne
Presented to Queen Victoria
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
This and all related images
Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

I’ve a special spot in my heart for the work of Fabergé’s Victor Aarne. Johann Victor (Viktor) Aarne was one of Fabergé’s most prolific workmasters and was a favorite of Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. His work is typified by the beautiful guilloché enamel, often in candy colors, chasing and ingenious mounting of gemstones.

This notebook was created by Aarne around 1895-1896. We can see his masterful guilloché enamel over silver gilt. It’s set with moonstones.

The piece was purchased by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna in December 1896. The duo presented the treasure to Queen Victoria on Christmas of that year. So thrilled with the gift was Queen Victoria that she set the notebook aside so that she could use it to record her thoughts and memories during her Diamond Jubilee Celebration of 1897. The notebook is filled with her notations from the various Jubilee events, including detailed guest lists. Her Majesty asked each notable guest to sign a page in the book, in essence, turning it into one of the most important autograph books in the world—filled with the signatures of Europe’s Crowned Heads.

Also noted in the book is a record of a visit that the Tsar and Tsarina made to Balmoral during the Diamond Jubilee. 

She wrote: 

It seems quite like a dream having dear Alicky & Nicky here. Alix showed me her beautiful jewels, of which she has quantities, all her own private property.

The Royal Collection

The Royal Collection

The Royal Collection

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