Gatchina Palace Egg

House of Fabergé1901

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Fabergé's revival of 18th-century enameling techniques, including the application of multiple layers of translucent enamel over "guilloché," or mechanically engraved gold, is demonstrated in the shell of the egg. When opened, the egg reveals a miniature replica of the Gatchina Palace, the Dowager Empress's principal residence outside St. Petersburg. So meticulously did Fabergé's workmaster, Mikhail Perkhin, execute the palace that one can discern such details as cannons, a flag, a statue of Paul I (1754-1801), and elements of the landscape, including parterres and trees. Continuing a practice initiated by his father, Alexander III, Tsar Nicholas II presented this egg to his mother, the dowager empress Marie Fedorovna, on Easter 1901. The egg opens to reveal as a surprise a miniature gold replica of the palace at Gatchina, located 30 miles southwest of St. Petersburg. Built for Count Grigorii Orlov, the palace was acquired by Tsar Paul I and served as the winter residence for Alexander III and Marie Fedorovna.


  • Title: Gatchina Palace Egg
  • Creator Lifespan: 1842
  • Date Created: 1901
  • Type: eggs; vessels
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: gold, "en plein" enamel, silver-gilt, portrait diamonds, rock crystal and seed pearls
  • Provenance: Tsar Nicholas II, St. Petersburg; Dowager Empress Marie Fedorovna, St. Petersburg, April 1, 1901, by gift [retained in Anichkov Palace until 1917]; Alexandre Polovtsoff, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1930, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Manufacturer: House of Fabergé
  • ExhibitionHistory: Russian Art: Icons and Decorative Arts from the Origin to the Twentieth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1959-1960; Fabergé. A La Vieille Russie, Inc., New York. 1983; The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984; Objects of Vertu: Precious Works of the Eighteenth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984; Carl Fabergé in Context. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munchen. 1986-1987; A Millennium of Christianity: Russian Art from The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988-1989; The Palaces of St. Petersburg: Russian Imperial Style. Mississippi Arts Pavilion, Jackson. 1996; Russian Enamels. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1996-1997; The Fabergé Menagerie. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; Portland Art Museum, Portland. 2003-2004

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