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Photograph courtesy The McFerrin Collection, Houston.Copyright © C&M Photographers

 A Fabergé photograph frame
with marks for Chief Workmaster Mikhaïl Perkhin,
St. Petersburg, circa 1898, Inventory Nº 59691

This beautiful two-colour guilloché enamel photograph frame by Fabergé has a fascinating history…

It was originally purchased by Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna from the Fabergé store in St. Petersburg on 11th August 1898 for 210 roubles.

It was acquired by the Forbes Magazine Collection and was subsequently gifted to Elizabeth Taylor by Malcolm Forbes.

Christie’s New York presented it for sale in the Elizabeth Taylor Sale on 14th  December 2011, Lot 148. It fetched US$ 194,500 (over 12 times the high estimate of $15,000).  It now resides in the magnificent Fabergé collection of Artie & Dorothy McFerrin in Houston, Texas. 

Marked Fabergé in Cyrillic, with Workmaster initials for Mikhaïl Perkhin, St. Petersburg Assay mark, circa 1898.
Scratched Inventory No. 59691. Dimensions:  4 x 2⅞ x ¼ inches.

The majority of Fabergé photograph frames featuring a guilloché enamel panel usually display only one colour, making this frame exceptional in its design composition: the pink frame is punctuated by four panels of oyster white enamel, overlaid with sprigs of berried laurels in chased yellow gold, separated by four Acanthus rosettes in rose gold, with the signature ribbon bow and Louis XVI style toupee bun feet.

Fabergé-frame Inv 59691-02_edited.jpg

Looking for comparatives in my digital archive, I found two other frames of the same design composition in different colours.


A lilac frame also bearing marks for Mikhaïl Perkhin, Scratched  Inventory No. 1114, was sold at Christie’s New York on 24th April 2009, Lot 249, for $68,500.

Another frame in red guilloché enamel with Inventory No. 59697 was sold Lot 247 in the same auction for US$140,500. They had been purchased in the 1960’s by a West Coast Private Collector from À La Vielle Russie in New York.

Fabergé-frame Inv 59691-03.jpg

Those falcon-eyed connoisseurs among you will notice that the exterior border of the frames have different styles:

- reeded,

- egg & dart

- dashed.  

Also, the engine-turned pattern behind the translucent enamel also differs.

These points of design differentiation contribute to making each frame unique.


- o0o -

A shorter version of this article was published in the Fabergé Research Site Newsletter of Summer 2012,

which you can see if you scroll down to the second to last article.

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