WASHINGTON, DC – The Russian History Museum loaned two important objects relating to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich for the special exhibition Faberge Rediscovered at the Hillwood Museum, Estate & Gardens in Washington, DC. This is the third time the Russian History Museum partners with Hillwood to display pieces from its collection. Previously, the Museum loaned objects to Hillwood for the exhibition Pageant of the Tsars: The Romanov Coronation Albums (2013) and its Liturgical Arts Gallery (October 2014 to January 2015).
The first object loaned for the current exhibition is a silver presentation frame created by the firm of Fabergé. The frame was gifted by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich to his wife, Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavrikievna, in 1909 on their 25th wedding anniversary. Made in the silver workshop of Finnish-born workmaster Hjalmar Armfelt, the pediment centers a photograph of the Grand Duke in uniform flanked by scrolling acanthus leaves which embrace the anniversary years of “1884” and “1909.” Beneath the pediment, ribbon-tied wreaths of laurel support the wedding date “15 April.” The pediment rests on two pilasters with Grecian ornament above bases with sphinxes, and the whole contains round hand-tinted albumen photographic prints of Konstantin Konstantinovich’s children and images of the four main residences of the family: Pavlovsk Palace, the Marble Palace, the Strelna Palace, and the Moscow estate of Ostashevo.
This Fabergé masterpiece from the Russian History Museum’s collection is displayed at Hillwood alongside Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich and Grand Duchess Elizaveta Mavrikievna’s twenty-fifth anniversary tea and coffee service. Created by Fabergé , the service was acquired by Hillwood’s founder, Marjorie Merriweather Post.
The presentation frame underwent extensive conservation prior to the loan.
“We are delighted to send objects from our collection to Hillwood for yet another special exhibition,” commented Michael Perekrestov, Russian History Museum’s Executive Director, who attended the opening of Fabergé Rediscovered. “It is particularly satisfying to bring together, for the first time in a hundred years, the Fabergé presentation frame from our collection and the tea service from Hillwood, both commissioned by Grand Duke Konstantin for his 25th wedding anniversary.”
The second piece loaned by the Museum is a portrait after Alexander Mikhailovich Leontovsky of Grand Duke Konstantin in his study in the Constantine Palace at Strelna, painted ca. 1906. The portrait hung in the Pavlovsk Palace and, like the frame, was gifted to the Russian History Museum by the Grand Duke’s youngest daughter, Princess Vera Konstantinovna.
Treasures created by the firm of Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) have inspired admiration and intrigue for over a century, both for their remarkable craftsmanship and the fascinating histories that surround them. Featuring over 100 objects, Fabergé Rediscovered unveils new discoveries relating to Hillwood’s own collection of Fabergé imperial Easter eggs and other famed works, highlighting new attributions and provenances and providing a new framework to study and understand 19th– and 20th-century jewelry and goldsmithing. The special exhibition displays the greatest examples from Hillwood’s Fabergé collection, left by Marjorie Merriweather Post for the benefit of future generations.
Along with loans from the Russian History Museum, the exhibition features borrowed objects from other museums and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the McFerrin Collection, the Edouard and Maurice Sandoz Foundation, and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.