A Russian porcelain Easter egg with a miniature of St. Filipp, in leather presentation case, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, circa 1887-1890s. The miniature of St. Filipp, Metropolitan of Moscow during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, after a design by Osip Chirikov, wearing a dalmatic (sakkos), omophorion, andë mitre of jeweled cloth of gold, holding a Gospel in a jeweled gold cover in his left hand and blessing with his right. The saint is depicted standing on a rocky landscape typical of traditional icon painting and perhaps symbolic of his ascetic monasticism; behind him, separated by a river, is the Moscow Kremlin. Both the towers of the cathedrals in which he served as well as the secular palaces of the Tsar he often battled, are visible against a blue sky turning to pink. The miniature is framed by a band of scrolling gilt ornament against a blue and green ground, the reverse decorated with a jeweled gold cross against a magenta ground. The egg still with the original silk ribbon, now faded, and contained in a red leather fitted presentation case with gilt border and applied gilt label of Samuel Baechli’s shop at 20 Nevsky Prospekt. Height: 4 3/4 in. (12 cm).
In 1887 the prominent Mstera icon painter and restorer Osip Semenovich Chirikov (?-1903) was commissioned to design a series of icon images of saints and the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. He finished a number of prominent church icons, including a group of more than 300 analoi icons with the holidays and saints days for the chapel in St. Petersburg’s Marble Palace, then the home of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. The series was a collaboration between Chirikov and icon painter Mikhail Ivanovich Dikarëv (?-1917) and the icons are preserved today in the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, and the Museum of the History of Religion.
Swiss citizen Samuel Baechli (or Bekhli) opened his leather goods manufactory in Saint Petersburg in 1879. The quality of his firm’s albums and cases brought him to the attention of the Imperial court and he was made a Supplier to the Imperial Court.
For other versions of this design, see Tamara Kudriatseva and Harold A. Whitbeck, Russian Imperial Porcelain Easter Eggs, London, 2001, nos. 160 and 161, pp. 206-207.
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