A bell-push by Fabergé, whimsically sculpted and realistically hand chased in silver. The razorback pig represented as seated on hind legs, the finely detailed body chased to simulating fur; the head is pointed upwards, with the eyes half-shut he appears to be smiling. A cabochon-set red garnet button is mounted on boar’s nose.
A similar pig bell-push also made in Rappoport’s workshop is illustrated in Sotheby’s New York, 6 December 1995, lot 398. For another smaller one see Sotheby’s Geneva November 15, 1988 catalogue, lot 168.
Fabergé’s silver animals were modelled after nature. Numerous animal figurines used as such models are visible in a photograph of Fabergé’s St. Petersburg studio (see G. von Habsburg, Fabergé, Vendome Press, 1987, p. 34). The main producer of silver animalier sculpture was the firm’s head silversmith, Julius Rappoport (see A. von Solodkoff “Fabergé’s Animal Farm” in Fabergé, Imperial Craftsman and His World, London, 2000, pp. 104-109).
Julius Alexandrovitch Rappoport (1851-1917), originally Isak Abramovich, was one of Fabergé’s rare craftsmen of Jewish origin. Apprenticed in Berlin, he opened his first workshop in St. Petersburg in 1883 but then moved to Moscow to work for the Fabergé firm. While best known for his naturalistic animal figures, Rappoport also executed special commissions for the Imperial family and the Imperial Cabinet. His workshop was taken over by the First Silver Artel around 1909.