Saturday, March 26, 2016

 A wee leap backward in time, from 1898 to 1890, the year the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, received the Danish Palaces Egg from her husband, Tsar Alexander III. 

The egg is gold, enameled in pink-mauve. Emeralds mark the intersections of lines of rose-cut diamonds. The crown is a medallion of leaves around a star sapphire; additional leaves curl up from the bottom. Originally the egg sat on those leaves; the stand is a more modern construction.

The surprise here is a set of 10 miniature watercolours painted by Konstantin Krijitski, showing the Tsarina's favourite Danish and Russian retreats, mostly palaces but including the Imperial yacht. The Tsar apparently threw himself into enjoying their summer getaways to Denmark, where he could let his formality lapse and play in the mud with his children. 


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