1885 The Hen Faberge Egg
- 5" (H) - With Stand
- 3.5" (H) Egg without Stand
- Pewter, Enamel, Crystals
- Plush Interior
- Gift Boxed
In the 19th century, Russian Orthodox Christians held Easter as the most important day of the year.
Following a strict fast throughout all of Great Lent, Easter was a day of celebration of Christ's resurrection. To celebrate this holiday, Tsar Alexander III's brother, the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich ordered Peter Faberg_ to create an Easter surprise for the Tsarina. Correspondence between the Tsar and his brother dated March 21, 1885 indicates the Grand Duke relayed the Tsar's desires and instructions for the gift to Faberg_ rather than the Tsar himself supervising the crafting of the egg.
Amid terrorist attempts on the Imperial family's lives, the Tsar wanted to give his wife something that would take her mind off worries for the Easter of 1885. Faberg_ created an egg inspired by one the Tsarina knew from her childhood as a princess of Denmark's royal court.
The Hen egg is the first in a series of fifty-two jeweled eggs made under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge for the Russian royal family. It was crafted and delivered in 1885 to the then-Tsar of Russia, Alexander III. The Tsarina and tsar enjoyed the egg so much that Alexander III ordered a new egg from Carl Peter Faberge for his wife each subsequent Easter. The crafting of the first Imperial egg is attributed to Erik Kollin of Faberge's shop. The egg is made of gold, completely coated with opaque white enamel to look like a real egg shell. A thin band of gold where the two halves of the shell are joined is visible around the middle of the egg. The two halves of the outer shell fit together in a bayonet-style fitting which opens when twisted to reveal the surprise.
Surprise: The two halves open to reveal a gold yolk with a matte finish, containing a varicolored gold hen with ruby eyes. The hen is hinged on the tail feathers which allows it to also open up to reveal two additional surprises which are now missing. The first of these was a gold and diamond replica of the imperial crown. Suspended within the crown as the final surprise was a tiny ruby pendant. The egg is currently located in Russia as part of the Vekselberg Collection.
The Hen Egg by Carl Peter Faberge