Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, Riverfront Arts Center, Wilmington, Delaware, 9 Sept 2000 – 18 Feb 2001, no. 33
G. von Habsburg, Fabergé: Imperial Craftsman and His World, London, 2000, no. 33, p. 54, illustrated in colour
A silver racing trophy with horse-head handles, standing on four hoof feet. The piece is chased with a Russo-Byzantine interlace ornament, very typical of the items produced by Sazikov’s firm. The slip-on cover is inscribed in Cyrillic: “Second prize for Exhibition Riding of the 13th Vladimir Lancers, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Michael Nicholaievich Regiment from H.S.H. Prince Nicholai Petrovich Oldenburg”. Donated by Prince Nicholai Oldenburg, the trophy was presented as an award for a riding competition between the officers of 13th Lancers Regiment of Vladimir commanded by the prince.
Prince Nicholai Oldenburg (Nikolaus Friedrich August von Oldenburg, 1840-1886), the second child and the elder son of Prince Peter of Oldenburg and Princess Therese Wilhelmina of Nassau, and the grandson of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna, belonged to one of the most influential royal families of Europe. Different branches of the house ruled over Denmark, Iceland, Greece, Norway, Sweden, and Russia (the Romanovs were one of the descendants of the Oldenburg house).
Prince Oldenburg received home education. From birth, he was assigned to the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment. In 1856, he commenced his military service in the rank of lieutenant in the Life Guards Mounted Pioneer Squadron. In 1861, he was appointed the regiment’s commander.
In 1863, he made a morganatic marriage with Maria Bulazel (1845-1907). The marriage displeased the Tsar: Prince Oldenburg was dismissed from the Court and had to quit military service. Only three years later, due to the intercession of the Grand Duke Nicholas, who was married to his sister Alexandra, he was allowed to return to the army, his wife and children were granted the title of Counts Ostenburg.