Decorative Arts

Large Russian silver box with inscription, 'Kniaz, thanks for a wonderful hunt. 1912', a gift between Kyril Romanov and Prince Felix Youssoupoff

Russian
1912
Silver
Approx. 3 in x 12 in x 8 in
Personal engraved inscription
About the Piece

This important and unusual Russian silver box has a boar's tusk attached to the surface. The tusk has a silver tip at its point and at its base with an amber cabochon at each end. In the upper left-hand corner of the box are the Russian Cyrillic initials of Kyril Romanov, who was cousin to Czar Nicholas II, and later named Czar in Exile after the revolution of 1917. Kyril Romanov's initials are rendered in blue enamel and silver. In the lower right-hand corner, beneath a personal inscription, is the imperial double-headed eagle, symbol of Russia and the House of Romanov.

An old note that came with the box described the box being a gift between Prince Felix Youssoupoff and Kyril Romanov and the boar's tusk being a trophy of a pleasurable and successful hunt.

On the surface of the box is an engraved inscription, which loosely translates to English as: Kniaz, thanks for a wonderful hunt. 1912

Kniaz translates into English as either Prince or Duke.

According to Charles Cage, Russian silver expert, the Cyrillic initials of the workmaster on the box are B.A. Mr. Cage and John W. Keefe, Curator of Decorative Arts at the New Orleans Museum of Art, another Russian silver and Fabergé expert, concur that the maker of this Russian silver box is Moscow workmaster and silversmith Vasily Ivanovich Andreyev. Andreyev worked in Moscow from 1908-1917, specializing in tableware and desk articles.

This piece is a rare example of a gift between two important members of the royal house of Russia. Kyril Romanov was put in charge of the Russian Imperial Navy and held that post until the Revolution of 1917, at which time he emigrated to Finland. After the Bolshevik murder of Czar Nicholas II and the imperial family he claimed the title of Czar in Exile. Felix Youssoupoff was best known for his role in the assassination of Grigory Rasputin. After the Revolution of 1917, he lost his immense wealth and lived in Paris until his death in 1967. He is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.

John W. Keefe, Curator of Decorative Arts at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), is an internationally recognized authority on Russian silver and the works of Peter Carl Fabergé. The Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection, among the world’s most significant compilation of Imperial Fabergé pieces was under his care at NOMA for over 20 years. When the collection was moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2007, Mr. Keefe assembled an equally spectacular collection of important Fabergé works to fill NOMA's Fabergé room. Keefe has been involved in numerous exhibitions, including Fabergé in America, which included some of the Geddings Gray Imperial Easter eggs. Most recently, Keefe compiled and catalogued the collection of Dr. Daniel Hodges, comprising over 100 pieces of some of Fabergé's most important work. The exhibition is scheduled for exhibitions around the U.S.

Detail Images

Detail of initials in blue enamel and silver.

Detail of inscription

Detail of Hallmarks

Detail of Eagle

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