A Russian gold and gem-set scent flask by Friedrich Koechli, St. Petersburg, circa 1890. The faceted cylindrical bottle topped with a hammered gold collar and domed hinged lid decorated with cabochon sapphires, faceted diamonds, and a cabochon ruby, a bezel-set cabochon ruby pushpiece releases the cap. Struck with maker’s mark, 56 standard, and London import marks. Height: 2 1/4 in. (5.8 cm).
Swiss-born jewelers Friedrich-Christian Koechli (also spelled Köchli, Koechly, or Kekhli; 1837-1919) and his son Friedrich-Theodore Koechli (d. 1911) arrived in St. Petersburg at least by 1874 and rapidly found clientele among the city’s elite. The firm began supplying members of the Imperial family already in the 1880s and won the right to call themselves Purveyors to the Imperial Court, as well as to the courts of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, and Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich. One of the two, more likely the father, was named an Imperial Appraiser (otsenshchik), responsible for assessment, valuation, cleaning, and repair of jeweled objects belonging to members of the Imperial family. Friedrich-Theodore Koechli completed the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts in 1890 as a klassnyi khudozhnik, an award indicating that the artist was among the best of that year’s graduates and eligible for a place in the Table of Ranks. His skills as a designer are undoubtedly reflected in works such as this hammered gold work influence by both Japanese design and the Aesthetic style.
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