Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Red Cross Fabergé Easter Egg from World War I

Designed to honor of the members of the Russian Imperial family serving as nurses during the war: Nicholas's sister Olga, his daughter Olga, the Empress, his daughter Tatiana, and his first cousin Maria.
The fold-up album was sized to fit within the egg.


  1. Is this piece in a museum now? I'm aware of the Tsar's involvement in the war effort as the "Little Colonel"; did the ladies do their nursing work in Petrograd, how active were they, only treat the nobility, or the average dog face too?

  2. Here you go: This egg is now at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Nicholas II's mother was in the Red Cross in the 1877 Russo-Turkish war and was president of the Red Cross (in the empire, I am guessing) from 1894 until her death in 1928. She was a Danish princess and returned to Denmark at the start of the Revolution.

  3. The Empress and the Grand Duchesses served as nurses in Petrograd. I'm inspired by your question to look more into their service in specific. I doubt very much that they were segregated into nursing only the nobility, as that would have played poorly in the public sphere. Also, I believe they as a family were truly moved by the sacrifices of the masses in the war and would certainly want to do what little they could to help even a few wounded soldiers. The nobility had plenty of other options; the frontline private had basically none. Thank you for jogging me to look further.

  4. I have been traveling on an ocean liner, and have been incommunicado, hence the late reply. Lo and behold during the voyage I came upon a presentation of Fabrege eggs by the onboard jewelry shop just itching to sell them. Not surprisingly not on the scale presented to the Russian Imperial Court; in fact they were in my opinion rather blasé, with a banal one theme opening, catering to those with a lot of money that don't know what to do with it. I appreciate the real McCoy and have learned that I can take joy in beauty without needing to possess it.