In 2013 Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg , who, in 2004 began The Link of Times Cultural and Historical Foundation, established Fabergé Museum in the former Shuvalov’s Palace, St. Petersburg. It holds the world’s largest collection of Fabergé eggs. Those in the collection were commissioned by the last Russian emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II. At the time European society considered Russia unparalleled in silver and gold decorative arts.
The museum has some 4,000 exhibits, displayed in 12 beautifully restored rooms according to type and history. The display allows the visitor a strong feeling of the opulence and artistry of the time. The Blue Room, fittingly the central hall of the Shuvalov Palace, contains the Imperial Easter Eggs by Fabergé. Each one is a unique masterpiece of jewellery and artistry, as well as a uniquely Russian artefact of the reign and personal life of the last of the Romanovs.
Entry to the rooms is from the Grand Staircase which dates from the 1840s and created by the architect Nikolai Efimov, who is responsible for several landmark buildings in St Petersburg. Later a graceful decorative stucco dome was added over the staircase by architect Rudolph Bogdanovich Berngard. He was also responsible for the 19th century reconstruction of the embankments of the Fontanka River, so his influence can be seen both inside and outside the palace.
The palace’s Red Room is dedicated to Russian silver works, produced from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The room showcases spectacular works by Carl Fabergé and Pavel Sazikov, among others. The Anteroom holds a collection of household items, such as clocks, in guilloché enamel, as well as Fabergé jewellery, which is quite rare. The White and Blue Room displays works in enamel from Pavel Ovchinnikov, who was also the first Russian silver maker in the pan-Slavic revival style, along with excellent Russian porcelain from the 19th century. The Exhibition Room exhibits stone carvings by Fabergé and various nineteenth century Russian artists.
The palace’s Gothic Hall has a collection of classic Russian Orthodox icons from the 16th-20th centuries, mostly framed and covered in precious metals. The Knights’ Hall is dedicated to military-themed works of art, including 19th century watercolours of life in the Russian army by Karl Piratskiy and Pyotr Balashov. The aptly named Gold Room displays many items which give an idea of the courtly relations between the Romanov dynasty and their foreign relatives. The objets de fantaisie by the craftsmen of the House of Fabergé are especially fine, as are the jewelled boxes adorned with portraits of Russian emperors.
Located in downtown St Petersburg, the Fabergé Museum is easy to find and is a short walk from Gostiny Dvor and Mayakovskaya metro stations.
You can visit it as part of the Hermitage tours in St Petersburg and other private excursions.