On 7 February 2020 at 3pm, the new, permanent treasury at the Amalienborg Museum will be revealed. On display will be Russian jewellery from the period 1860-1917, with a focus on the close ties between the Danish and Russian monarchies. A selection of the Danish Crown Jewels will also be exhibited.
In the profound darkness of the treasury, the fine and delicate glimmer of objects decorated with precious stones will catch your eye. The undisputed main attraction is Peter Carl Fabergé. Among the great jewellers of his time, the Russian Fabergé enjoyed special status — not least because of the famous Easter eggs his company produced for the Russian Imperial House. Fabergé’s jewellery and goldsmith work is impressively wide-ranging. As well as the virtuoso technique, his works are characterised by an exceptional wealth of imagination, which enchanted the House of Romanov — and still enchants us to this day.
Fabergé is inextricably linked to the last days of the Tsars, a tumultuous time full of contrasts, which ended in revolution and the demise of the House of Romanov. The period from 1860 up until the Revolution in 1917 was a fertile time for jewellery and craftwork in Russia, with the House of Romanov being the major collector. Many of the objects were shipped to Denmark, since Christian IX and Queen Louise’s second oldest daughter, Princess Dagmar, had become Tsarina of Russia through her marriage to Alexander III.
Even though Dagmar quickly became integrated as a Russian and a member of the House of Romanov, she maintained close ties to her Danish family throughout her life. Relations were lived out through the imperial family’s many visits to Denmark, especially the summer sojourns at Fredensborg Palace, a generous stream of presents from Russia, frequent letters, and innumerable family photographs, which can still be seen on display in the museum. In the following generation, the Danish and Russian monarchies were again allied through the marriage of Christian X and Queen Alexandrine, who was the daughter of Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna. A few of the objects came to Denmark via this route.
The most spectacular objects in the Fabergé Chamber are a pair of sumptuous wine coolers and a gigantic champagne cooler (kovsh) of gilt silver. This was a present given to Christian IX and Queen Louise by their six children on the occasion of the Royal Couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1892. The champagne cooler is among the largest objects made in Faberge’s workshop, and the handle features the elephant of The Order of the Elephant. The Fabergé Chamber is thus a symbolic culmination of the Royal Couple’s long reign, and is at the same time the final room you will visit after a journey through 150 years of royal history. Museum Director Thomas Thulstrup took the initiative for the new exhibition, and remarks of it: “The collection of Russian jewellery work, which will now be on permanent display at The Amalienborg Museum, is spectacular in every sense. Not only due to the unique and priceless items of jewellery and utilitarian objects, produced in almost mythical workshops such as Fabergé and Bolin, but also to the size and history of the collection. That the collection is still in the ownership of the Danish Royal Family, rather than scattered to the four winds, makes it so much the more unique.”
Visitors to The Amalienborg Museum will now be able to view at first hand almost 100 objects produced by Fabergé and other Russian jewellers of the period. And just as the Russian gift givers were in their time, and hoped the receivers would be too, visitors will be impressed by the in every sense magnificent technique to be seen in even the smallest utilitarian objects. Objects which reflect the imperial court’s economic power and status. In addition to the Russian jewellery work, one of the highlights in the treasury is the small egg containing surprises made of gold and precious stones, which was the direct inspiration for the first of Fabergé’s famous Easter eggs.
The majority of the many works of jewellery belong to The Royal Danish Collection. But it is also a great honour that the new permanent treasury at The Amalienborg Museum has received generous support from the Royal Family. Her Majesty The Queen, Her Majesty Queen Anne-Marie, Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, as well as His Excellency Count Ingolf and Countess Sussie of Rosenborg, have all lent examples of Faberge’s art to the new treasury from their private collections. It has thus become possible for the museum’s visitors to experience the very finest jewellery work, which displays a technique and opulence that reflects the enormous wealth of the Russian imperial court.