SEVEN PORTRAIT MINIATURES OF THE CHILDREN OF CZAR ALEXANDER II AND MARIA ALEXANDROVNA MOUNTED ON STANDS

ONE OF THE GOLD MOUNTS MARKED ST. PETERSBURG, 1858, WITH INITIALS I.L. OR T.L., THREE MOUNTS MARKED WITH THE INITIALS A.H., PROBABLY FOR AUGUST HOLMSTROM (1829-19O3), theminiatures unsigned, probably painted between 1858 and 1865, the stands later

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Lot details

Each oval miniature depicting a child's head in verso on ivory within glass panels with a gold foliate and blue enamel border, enclosed by an additional oval gold swivel frame, mounted on a gilt-metal pedestal stand decorated with four Gothic-style figures, each mounted on a rectangular hardstone base faced with lapis-lazuli, the underside lined with red morocco, embossed with a number and the child's title and name (lapis chipped) 6in. (15.2cm.) high, in a wooden velvet-lined fitted case, labelled A La Vieille Russie, 785 Fifth Avenue, New York

Seven of the Czar's eight children are represented here. The miniature of the first-born, Grand Duchess Alexandra (1842-1849) is missing. It was apparently made and mounted into a bracelet after the child's early death.

According to the inscriptions one each stand, the children are represented with the following names and titles: Grand Duke and Tsesarevich Nicholas (1843-1865), Grand Duke and Tsesarevich Alexander, later Alexander III (1845-1894), Grand Duke Vladimir (1847-1909), Grand Duke Alexis (1850-1909), Grand Duchess Maria (1853-1920), Grand Duke Serge (1857-1905) and Grand Duke Paul (1860-1918). Although their birthdates range over a span of seventeen years, each child is depicted at about the same age. It is likely that the miniatures were painted over a period of time, the earliest being around 1858, as the hallmarks on one of the mounts indicate.

August Hollmstrom became head jeweler for Gustav Faberge (Carl's father) in St. Petersburg in 1857.

Sold together with a document of authenticity issued by The Schaffer Collection of Russian Imperial Art Treasures, not dated.