Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Presentation Cigarette Case with Matchbox

House of Karl Karlovich Hahn (Russian)
Workmaster: Karl Karlovich Hahn (Russian)
before 1899
Russian, Saint Petersburg
Gold, guilloché enamel, moonstone, diamond, silk cord
Overall: 5/8 x 3 3/4 x 2 3/8 in. (1.6 x 9.5 x 6 cm)
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 555
Peter Carl Fabergé (1846–1920) was a visionary and talented artisan and jeweler. In 1872 he took over his father's small jewelry atelier in Saint Petersburg and within forty years had transformed it into the world's largest enterprise of its kind, employing some five hundred craftsmen and designers. His methods encompassed streamlined production, fair pricing, and global marketing. The firm built a devoted clientele that included cabinet ministers and the newly rich and, above all, members of the Russian imperial family, the Romanov, for whom they made the most precious pieces and extraordinary Easter eggs. In 1917 the Russian Revolution brought an end to the Romanov dynasty and a definitive halt to the House of Fabergé. Peter Carl Fabergé died in exile in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1920.

Matilda Geddings Gray (1885–1971) acquired her first piece of Fabergé in 1933. An artist herself with refined aesthetic sensibility, she was already a wealthy and sophisticated collector who had begun buying Fabergé when the Russian jewelery firm was almost unknown in the United States. Upon her death, her collection passed to the foundation she had established in 1969, with the express wish that a broad public should be able to enjoy it.

[Wolfram Koeppe, 2011]
Inscription: (engraved in English on interior of lid):
Presented to W.S. Johnston from H.I.M. the Tsar of Russia through Major General Wogack of H.M.S. Bobhr at Naval Yard, Taku, China, in recognition of service entering forts as Interpreter of Ultimatum demanding surrender, June 17, 1900

Marking: 1) 56, gold carat mark
2) crossed anchors and scepter
3) C.B. (partially struck but legible)
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation
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