Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution ★★★★★ Victoria and Albert Museum | Nov 20, 2021 - May 8, 2022


The name Fabergé is synonymous with the Romanov dynasty and the business followed the same arc as its most notable patrons. This exhibition emphasises the dynamic relationship the jeweller forged with his clients as the enterprise expanded to the melting pot of London in order to serve royalty and nobility across Europe, while also catering to a clientele from as far away as America and Thailand. This is the third Fabergé exhibition at the V&A, the first having taken place in 1977. The current iteration thoroughly lives up to all the opulence and lavish associations that emanate from the exquisite pieces on display. The meticulous craftsmanship of the jewellery and keepsakes is quite awe inspiring and the stories associated with many of them are delightfully intriguing. Don't miss the cigarette case given to Edward VII by his mistress Alice Keppel or the figurine of the king's favourite wire-haired fox terrier, Caesar! Also not to be overlooked are such fascinating oddities as the early grenades designed by the craftsmen at Fabergé. Of course, the pièce de résistance is the display of fifteen of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs. These wonderfully intricate gifts of the Russian royals still bemuse and delight, and we have a unique opportunity to appreciate the largest group ever assembled in one place. The story of Fabergé is the tale of a bygone, hedonistic era that ended in the tumult of the Russian revolution. This latest exhibition does a marvellous job of crystallising and illuminating Fabergé's role in this transformative moment in history.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: The Alexander Palace Egg, by Fabergé. Chief Workmaster Henrik Wigstrom, 1908 © The Moscow Kremlin Museums

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