They stand elegant and exquisite, casually placed in simple crystal vases, primula, narcissus, a dandelion, a branch of blueberries. They invite us to touch their arched leaves. If we do, we find they are not plucked from the dew at dawn but made of gold, jewels and enamels. Faberg created these remarkably delicate flowers and fruits from botanical
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Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey is an independent scholar of Russian decorative arts and cultural history. Alexander von Solodkoff is a historian of Russian decorative arts. Joyce Lasky Reed is the president of the Fabergé Arts Foundation of Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg, Russia.From Publishers Weekly:
At one time, the royal families in Europe and Russia were accustomed to having their every whim satisfied, even apparently impossible desires like freezing and preserving nature in its most perfect form. This collection of photographs and essays documents Carl Fabergé’s attempts to do just that for the Russian Imperial Family and other aristocrats throughout Europe. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Fabergé (who’s best known for his extravagant jeweled Easter eggs) created delicate replicas of pansies, lilies of the valley, violets and other flowers and berries that were most often destined for glass display cabinets in the royal palaces of London and Moscow. In somewhat dry terms that draw heavily on sales ledgers and collection inventories, Swezey, a noted authority on the Russian Imperial Family, and a handful of decorative arts experts chronicle the history of the sculptures, from their genesis to the disappearance of many during the outbreak of the Soviet revolution. The lush color photos allow readers to get closer to the pieces than they could ever hope to otherwise, so close that one can see the real fuzz used to augment an intricately crafted dandelion puff and get a sense of how the jars were fashioned in order to look like they were filled with water. Sadly, the book is short on insights into how these impressive pieces of art were made. Instead, the text concentrates on Fabergé’s relationship with his royal patrons. Although the text is no match for the crisp, bright illustrations and likely won’t interest many outside a small group of curators and collectors, the images are an eye-pleasing introduction to Fabergé’s talent for reproducing, and sometimes improving upon, natural beauty. 78 illustrations, including 70 full-color plates.
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