To connect with the forthcoming V&A exhibition* Cynthia Coleman Sparke gives an insight into the enduring appeal of the House of Faberge and explains how a modest jewellery concern with an extremely un-Russian sounding name became an enduring symbol of Romanov luxury – and how this fuelled demand in Edwardian England for Treasures from St Petersburg.
Faberge’s British enterprise will dovetail with objects on view at the museum. The firm’s Russian sales ledgers disappeared but this of the London branch, opened in 1903, document royal patronage and a ‘Who’s Who’ guide of Edwardian prosperity. American heiresses and other prominent visitors flocked to the London salesrooms while the branch supplied periodic trunk shows to delight buyers on the Continent and as far as Siam and India. The role of the London business cannot be overstated and provides us, today, with insight into a society that was forever altered by the world events that followed.
*The exhibition at The Victoria & Albert Museum ‘Faberge in London: Romance to Revolution’ runs from 20 November 2021 – 8 May 2022