Catherine the Great Easter Egg

For more information about this artwork, visit the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Online Collections

Manufacturer: House of Fabergé

Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973

About House of Fabergé

Best known for its jewel-encrusted imperial Easter eggs, the famous House of Fabergé served as court jeweler to the Russian tsars until 1917 when the Bolsheviks nationalized the firm. The House of Fabergé was founded in St. Petersburg in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé—who may have included an accent in the name to appeal to the Russian nobility—and blossomed under his son Carl. In 1885 Tsar Alexander III commissioned the house to create an Easter egg for him to give as a gift to his wife, beginning an annual tradition. The Hen Egg, as it is known, forged in enamel and precious metals and opening to reveal a surprise golden chicken within, was the first of 54 completed eggs, of which only 42 survive. The House of Fabergé also produced other intricate and exquisite ornamental objects for its elite clientele.

Russian, Est. 1842