Gatchina Palace Egg
Fabergé's revival of 18th-century enameling techniques, including the application of multiple layers of translucent enamel over "guilloché," or mechanically engraved gold, is demonstrated in the shell of the egg. When opened, the egg reveals a miniature replica of the Gatchina Palace, the Dowager Empress's principal residence outside St. Petersburg. So meticulously did Fabergé's workmaster, Mikhail Perkhin, execute the palace that one can discern such details as cannons, a flag, a statue of Paul I (1754-1801), and elements of the landscape, including parterres and trees. Continuing a practice initiated by his father, Alexander III, Tsar Nicholas II presented this egg to his mother, the dowager empress Marie Fedorovna, on Easter 1901. The egg opens to reveal as a surprise a miniature gold replica of the palace at Gatchina, located 30 miles southwest of St. Petersburg. Built for Count Grigorii Orlov, the palace was acquired by Tsar Paul I and served as the winter residence for Alexander III and Marie Fedorovna.