Bouquet of Lilies or Madonna Lily Egg by Peter Carl Fabergé
Original name Carl Gustavovich Fabergé(May 30, 1846–September 24, 1920) was a Russian jeweller, best known for the fabulous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than more mundane materials.
He was born in St. Petersburg to the jeweller Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt. Gustav Fabergé’s father’s family were Huguenots who, lived in La Bouteille, Picardie, fled from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, initially to Germany near Berlin, then in 1800 to the Baltic province of Livonia, then part of Russia.
Young Faberge began his education at St. Anne's Gymnasium, the German school in St. Petersburg. In 1860, the family moved again, to Dresden, and shortly thereafter, the teenage Carl went on a study trip, learning the jeweller’s craft at the House of Friedman in Frankfurt. In 1864, he returned to St. Petersburg and joined his father’s business, taking over its management in 1872.
Carl and his younger brother Agaton were a sensation at the Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow in 1882. Three years later, Tsar Alexander III appointed him an official Court Supplier, as a reward for making him a splendid Easter egg to give to his wife. Thereafter, Fabergé made an egg each year for the Tsar to give to the Tsaritsa Maria. The next tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his own wife, Alexandra, a practice which continued from 1885 to 1917.
He became the Tsar’s Court Goldsmith in 1885. The Imperial Easter eggs were a sideline; Fabergé made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. Fabergé’s company became the largest in Russia, with 500 employees and branches in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 objects between 1882 and 1917. In 1897 the Swedish court appointed Fabergé Court Goldsmith. In 1900 his work represented Russia at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.
The main Fabergé store in Saint Petersburg was officially renamed Yakhont (Ruby) but still is known as the Fabergé storeIn 1917, amidst the chaos of the October Revolution, he sold his shares in the company to his employees and fled Russia. He went first to Finland, with assistance from the British Embassy, and then to Wiesbaden, Germany making stops in Riga, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg. Fabergé and his wife moved to Bellevue Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. When he died, he was buried beside his wife Augusta in the Cimetière du Grand Jas in Cannes, France.
Fabergé had four sons: Eugéne (1874-1960), Agathon (1876-1951), Alexander (1877-1988) and Nicholas (1884-1939). Eugené and Alexander founded a successor of the firm in Paris, which later closed. Agathon fled to Finland via Terijoki and Viipuri. He settled in Kulosaari in Helsinki and studied philately and died there. He and his wife Maria are buried at the Orthodox cemetery of Helsinki. Their son Oleg Faberge (1923-1993) is also buried there.
Nikolai was in England at the time of the Russian Revolution and in England he stayed. He established himself as a photographer. He was married to Marion Tattershall, who bore him no children. He also had a relationship with his photographic model, Doris Claddish, whom he had met when they worked together at the Bond Street branch of Fabergé; they had a son, Theo Fabergé, born in 1922. Because he was born out of wedlock to his young mother, Theo was brought up by his married aunt. It was only in 1961 that he discovered his true identity. He furthered an existing interest in craftsmanship and objets d’art, and in 1975, sold the aircraft-instrument manufacturing business he had established to concentrate on making objets d’art and jewelry. He assisted in the foundation of the St Petersburg Collection. He used the name Theo Fabergé with which he had been christened. Theo Fabergé, who died on August 20, 2007, aged 84, was the last surviving grandson of Carl Fabergé. He is survived by his daughter Sarah Fabergé.