1893 Caucasus Egg
III to Maria Feodorovna
Made in Saint Petersburg
Owner: Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation
Height: 9,2 cm
The 1893 Caucasus Egg is made of yellow and varicolored gold, silver, enamel, rose-cut diamonds, portrait diamonds, platinum, ivory, pearls, rock crystal and watercolor on ivory.
This Egg in translucent ruby enamel and commemorates the Imperial hunting lodge in Abastumani or Abbas Tuman, high in the Caucasus where Grand Duke George, younger brother of Nicholas II, spent the greater part of his life after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. (He would die within six years.) The miniatures executed and signed by Krijitski are revealed on opening the four pearl-bordered doors around the egg. Each of these doors bears a diamond-set numeral of the year, the four forming the year 1893. Behind the hinged cover at the top of the egg is a portrait of the Grand Duke in his naval uniform.
This is the first of the Imperial Easter Eggs known to be dated. The ruby red color is used only one other time for Tsarina Alexandra's first Egg, the 1895 Rosebud Egg. The little Tsarevich Alexei's hemophilia, (a blood disease) being a constant worry in the family, red disappeared as main color for the Imperial Easter Eggs.
In 1930 sold by the Antikvariat as one of the ten Imperial Eggs to the Hammer Galleries, New York. In 1959 bought by Matilda Geddings Gray, oil heiress. 1972 the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, USA.
Update: January 3, 2010
Finally found photos of the estate in Abbas Tuman, (Abbastumani). The place where Grand Duke George spent his last years is today in Georgia not far from Tbilisi, the former Tiflis. The photo below is from an interesting site on Grand Duke George "George Romanov: An Enigma". More about Abbas Tuman on Wiki and the Alexander Palace Forum.
More photos of Grand Duke George and his estate in the Caucasus are on the website of the St. Petersburg Photoarchive: http://photoarchive.spb.ru:9090/www/showChildObjects.do?object=2101059257
page updated: July 23, 2014