Fabergé: From St Petersburg to Sandringham, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, 14 October 2017 – 11 February 2018
I. Collins, Fabergé: From St Petersburg to Sandringham, p. 54
Portrait busts of Tsar Nicholas II wearing colonel’s uniform of the Life-Guard Preobrazhensky regiment and Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna.
Léopold Bernstamm started received the commission and started working on it in 1895. In his diary, of September 2oth and 21st, 1895, Nicholas II wrote: “… after breakfast spent more than an hour sitting for Bernstamm… Thursday 21, September. Sat for the sculptor again” (Diaries of Nicholas II, 1991, pp. 103-104). “At the beginning of 1896, the sculptor was invited to Tsarskoe Selo, where he completed busts of several members of the Tsar’s family in less than three weeks… marble busts of the royal couple served as an excellent model for mass-produced works and for a long time had the sovereign’s approval” (D. Severukhin, Lubimiy sculptor gosudarya // Nevskiy archive, 1, 1993, p. 252). The following year the newly crowned couple together with their ten-month-old daughter Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna made a trip to France. The Imperial family arrived in Cherbourg on September 5th and then accompanied by French president Felix Faure went to Paris. Four days of the official visit were celebrated as “The Russian week” culminating with festivities in Chalon. During the royal voyage, Nicholas and Alexandra visited the famous Sèvres porcelain factory where they were presented with porcelain bisque sculptures of other Romanovs.
An identical bust of Nicholas II is in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (ЭРСк-236).