Icon Room

The fabulous Fabergé eggs invite you in, but the world of treasures that awaits in this collector’s cabinet will keep you lingering.

Fabergé Twelve Monogram Easter Egg at Hillwood, Washington DC

The Fabergé Twelve Monogram Easter Egg. A gift from the last tsar, Nicholas II, to his mother Maria Fedorovna, 1895.

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Icon Room in the 1970s, Hillwood, Washington DC

The Icon Room as it appeared in the 1970s.

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Kovsh by Maria Semenova at Hillwood, Washington DC

Kovsh by Maria Semenova

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A Collector’s Cabinet

Over 400 glistening chalices, silver-covered icons, and splendid Fabergé objects are perfectly at home in this intimate setting tucked among Hillwood’s stately rooms.

While designing Hillwood with a public audience in mind, Marjorie Merriweather Post found that she needed a space for the small precious objects and the liturgical objects that were not appropriate for displaying in large rooms intended for entertaining. She built this treasury, or collector’s cabinet, and called it the Icon Room.

Fabergé

Post’s collecting tastes are easily recognized in this space she created to display her most intricately made pieces and liturgical items. She favored beautifully crafted objects, preferably with imperial provenance—and the Fabergé clocks, cane handles, picture frames and, of course, imperial Easter eggs in this treasury room embrace her exacting tastes.

After viewing the stunning, midnight blue Twelve Monograms Easter Egg and pink Catherine the Great Easter Egg, both gifts from Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, to his mother, Maria Fedorovna, take a close look at the pale green bowenite clock, which was modeled after an 18th-century English clock that belonged to Nicholas II’s mother, Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna. The portraits of her son and daughter-in-law Empress Alexandra appear at the sides.

Linger a while

The icons and chalices in the Icon Room represent the types of objects Post acquired through government sponsored storeroom sales and commission shops in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. These discoveries ignited an interest and passion for Post in Russian art and culture, which she maintained for the rest of her life, and most of the most fabulous pieces in Hillwood’s Russian holdings on display in the Icon Room entered the collection long after Post left the Soviet Union. The Icon Room contains such diverse treasures as a Kovsh, or bowl, by Maria Semenova, a pendant watch by Charpentier Oudin, and a Russian neoclassical style military presentation cup.

 

 

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